Lost and Found

Lost and Found features brief profiles of historic landmarks and structures, one lost and one saved.


Even though she had been altered through the years, the Motor Vessel Niagara, launched in 1897, had been recognized by the mid-1990s as a rare and significant example of a late-nineteenth-century Great Lakes freighter. She first carried pulpwood and, from 1900 to 1925, hauled coal and ore. In 1927, she was converted for dredging. The Erie Sand Steamship Company purchased the Niagara in 1959 to supply sand to automobile plants in Michigan. The ship was sold for scrapping in Canada in 1985, but a group of Erie citizens rallied the following year to save her. Despite valiant efforts, includ­ing returning her to Erie and designating her as both historic and endangered, the attempts failed and the M.V. Niagara was recently scuttled.



The Steamship United States is the largest, fastest, safest, and most technologically advanced ocean liner ever built in this coun­try. Designed by one of the world’s outstanding naval architects, Philadelphia native William Fran­cis Gibbs (1886-1967), the S.S. United States captured the record for the fastest passage across the Atlantic Ocean during her maiden voyage in 1952. The United States ruled the waters for nearly two decades, until less expensive modes of transatlantic travel ren­dered her obsolete. In 1969, after her four hundredth voyage, she was berthed at Newport News, Virginia. Financial difficulties forced her to be sold several times, beginning in 1992. She was towed in 1996 from Turkey to Philadelphia, where admirers of historic ships hope to preserve her.