At a glance: A boatful of memories

By From page B1 | March 14, 2012



The first concrete ship built in the United States, the SS Faith, was launched on March 14, 1918 in Redwood City. It was constructed by the San Francisco Shipbuilding Company and cost $750,000. The lack of steel-making plants and shipyards on the West Coast prompted the use of concrete. The ship traveled to Honolulu, Balboa, Callao, Valparaíso and New York and in 1921, the SS Faith ended as a breakwater in Cuba. Another one of the concrete ships was the SS Palo Alto. Built in 1919 as an oil tanker it ended up as “The Cement Boat” at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos. The Seacliff Amusement Company of Nevada bought the ship and towed it to Aptos where it was grounded in the bay and connected to the shore by a pier. It was fitted with an arcade, dining room, dance hall and a swimming pool. The Great Depression sunk the hopes of the Seacliff Amusement Company and then a storm broke the ship at its midsection. All the fancy stuff was removed and the Palo Alto became a fishing pier and a bit of a curiosity for beach goers. The relentless waves have made the ship unsafe and now it just sits as a reminder of the past.

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Mimi Escabar

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