The transcribing of markers continues. I am now focused on the 17 interpretive markers at Jones Point Park. The amount of work that went into these is extraordinary. The lower portions of my palm hate it, but thumbs up to those who made it happen.
I don’t know that the park has a signature piece, but one of the stars of the show so far is the World War I-era rudder. For all you ship geeks, here we go with the wording.
Evidence of the Shipyard at Jones Point
In May 2000, this rudder was recovered along the banks of the Potomac River near Jones Point. Measuring over 22 feet high and 4.5 feet wide, the rudder is of the variety used to outfit steel cargo ships constructed between 1918 and 1920 at the Virginia Shipbuilding Corporation site. Except for concrete building foundations and the finishing pier, the rudder is the last remnant of the shipbuilding industry at Jones Point.
Why put a wood rudder on a steel ship?
The answer is unknown, but modifications to shipbuilding and outfitting during times of war were often completed on an ad hoc basis, and were not recorded. A rudder of this type may have been pre-fabricated by a contractor, using more readily available materials. A wooden rudder could also have been produced more quickly, was less costly than a metal rudder, and was easier to repair at sea.
Cargo ships produced by this shipyard were the first modern steel vessels ever launched on the Potomac River.
Workers found the rudder while driving piles for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Once pulled from the mud, archeologists and historians studied the artifact. Though of a slightly different shape than the one shown in the diagram at right, research indicates that the rudder is an alternate style for the ships built on site. This fragile artifact is displayed horizontally to provide better support.
The cargo ships produced on this site by the Virginia Shipbuilding Corporation were the Emergency Fleet Corporation Design No. 1015.
Deadweight (Or Carrying Capacity): 9,400 tons
Fuel Type: Oil
Engine Horsepower: 2,500
Guaranteed Speed: 10.5 knots per hour
Length: 403 feet
Beam (Width): 53 feet
Rudder Stock: connects rudder head with rudder body.
Side Plating Bracket: attachment point for bulk iron components.
Side Plating: protects the portion of rudder at waterline.
Pintle: a pin that fits into a pivot point and suspends the rudder.
Pintle Strap: secures pintles to the rudder body.
Rudder Shoe: an iron plate that protects the bottom of the rudder.