Presidential Yacht, USS Sequoia, Makes a Pit Stop in Cambridge - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Presidential Yacht, USS Sequoia, Makes a Pit Stop in Cambridge

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CAMBRIDGE, Md.- The USS Sequoia stopped at Cambridge this week before it makes its way north.

The ship was built in 1925 and was a vacation vessel for eight presidents from the Hoover era to the Carter administration. During President Jimmy Carter's time, he decided the government no longer needed the ship and he sold it to the private sector. Flash forward to the last six years, where the yacht has been sitting in a Virginia shipyard in poor condition. It was also the subject of a Delaware court case over ownership.

"The boat is a floating piece of Americana history that needs to be saved," Sequoia project manager Todd French says.

Now, a private company is moving the ship to Maine for it to be renovated. Once known as the "Floating White House," the USS Sequoia is sitting temporarily at the Ruark Boatworks site for the Richardson Maritime Museum. 

Logically, Cambridge was the perfect rest stop.

"For one, we have the yard here that is accessible, manageable and can be easy transfer," Jane Devlin, executive director of the Richardson Maritime Museum, says. "We also have the deep water port. We're the second deepest port after Baltimore."

But it was also the city where the Sequoia visited in 1935 with President Franklin Roosevelt.

"We had some great historical photographs of the last time the boat had been in Cambridge, so we chose this as a place where could transfer the boat from a Chesapeake Bay barge and tug to a much larger ocean barge that we can take to New England," French says.

French adds that the project will include fixing major pieces, like the hull, and working to bring more green energy to the vessel. All the while, French says, they want to maintain the historical features of the boat. 

"We're going to restore the boat back to some of its original glory of those years when it served as a presidential yacht," French says. "We're going to systematically go and restore it almost like in a museum, archival way."

The vessel will make it up to New England in about six to 10 days, French says. The restoration project will then take about three or so years to finish. French says the entire project is about bringing almost 100 years of history to the present.

"You get chills walking through it," French says. "There's such a rich history here and countless stories we hope to honor with the restoration."

The USS Sequoia will be in Cambridge until Monday, when it's transferred to an ocean barge and makes its journey to Maine. The museum says anyone is welcome to come check out the boat from the yard in Cambridge.

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