S.S. Nobska - Main Deck
A tribute to the last coastal steamer, the S.S. Nobska, her sister ships, other steamships of days gone by and current ferries that sail the waters of Nantucket Sound...
Within 2 years, the floating restaurant on the Baltimore waterfront failed. The Nobska was moved and then languished hidden away somewhere on the Baltimore waterfront. I found her in 1987 driving by a pier beyond the National Aquarium.
In 1991 while working in Newport, RI, I had heard that she was purchased by the New England Steamship Foundation, formerly known as the friends of Nobska. The NESF had Nobska towed to India Point in East Providence, RI. This was the place were she could be seen. Anyone driving into downtown Providence on I-195 would not be able to ignore the signature funnel and wheel house. But, as I found out, she was shell of her former self. Nobska was literally rusting away.
Members of the NESF invited me to come aboard and sadly it was like walking on eggshells. Holes here and there, planks covering smaller holes. Plywood over ginger ones. She was not the ship I knew when I toured her in 1973. A few years later. Nobska was moved to a distant pier on the New Bedford waterfront as her welcome at India Point wore out.
Nobska's best chance to survive came in 1996 when the U.S. National Park Service allowed her to be towed to Drydock #1 at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. The hope was that at least the hull could be repaired and waterproofed. I visited her just a couple days after she was brought into dry dock. The ship was a little more ragged, but what was amazing was that despite the fact she was in a dry dock, the water was still spilling out her hull!