Navy Department World War I Concrete Barges – Rondout Creek

Published: 24 November 2023

via the Hudson River Maritime Museum web site

US Navy concrete barge

Concrete Barge # 442 Description: (U.S. Navy Barge, 1918) In port, probably at the time she was inspected by the Third Naval District on 4 December 1918. Built by Louis L. Brown at Verplank, New York, this barge was built for the Navy and became Coal Barge # 442, later being renamed YC-442. She was stricken from the Navy Register on 11 September 1923, after having been lost by sinking. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Hiding away in Rondout Creek, New York at 41.91245, -73.98639 is the last known surviving example of a World War I Navy ‘Oil & Coal’ Barge.

It is less than a kilometer up the Rondout Creek from the Hudson River Maritime Museum.

Concrete barge on Rondout Creek. Image by Will Van Dorp

Based on a lot of ‘Googling’, it seems probable this is the first time that the provenance and history of this particular relic of concrete shipbuilding in the United States during the World War I era has been recognized. [Editor’s Note: The concrete barge is featured on the Solaris tours of Rondout Creek.] ​
The hulk is, in fact, the initial prototype of a ‘Navy Department Coal Barge’, concrete barges that were commissioned by the Navy Department : Bureau of Construction and Repair. This was the department of the U.S. Navy that was responsible for supervising the design, construction, conversion, procurement, maintenance, and repair of ships and other craft for the Navy.

​Launched on 1st June 1918, the Directory of Vessels chartered by Naval Districts’ lists ‘Concrete Barge No.1’, Registration number 2531, as being chartered by the Navy from Louis L. Brown at $360 per month from 11th September 1918.
In Spring 1918, the Navy Department had commissioned twelve, 500 Gross Registered Tonnage barges from three separate constructors in Spring 1918 to be used in New York harbour.

Read the entire article on the Hudson River Maritime Museum web site here:

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