The Monitor's Engine Reaches the Mariners' Museum
Special Update: August 7, 2001
Dr. John Broadwater, Manager
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
At 6 p, on Tuesday, August 7, the Monitor's 35-ton steam engine finally completed its historic journey from the seabed off Cape Hatteras to a custom-built conservation tank at The Mariners Museum in Newport News, Virginia. The engine made a stopover at Newport News Shipbuilding, where it has been stored since its recovery on July 16 and where it was transferred to the large steel cradle that will support it during the first phases of conservation treatment.
Just after noon, the engine, sitting atop a barge, reached the bank of the James River near the rear entrance to the museum. From the barge landing site, the location of the Monitor 's famous battle with the CSS Virginia could be seen in the distance. A crowd of about 500 people braved one of the hottest days of the year to witness the engine's arrival. As tugboats held the barge against the bank, a crane erected a temporary steel ramp between the barge and shore. Then the engine, suspended within its cradle, was rolled into the museum entrance on the back of a unique 56-wheel trailer. Following a brief ceremony, a small parade of utility vehicles led the trailer up Museum Drive, a worker in an elevated bucket clearing a path through the trees lining the road.
Finally, with a few loyal onlookers remaining, the engine and cradle were lifted into the waiting 93,000-gal conservation tank, where the engine could remain for up to 10 years before the complex conservation treatment is complete. In the meantime, however, the museum plans to erect walkways to enable visitors to observe the engine while it is being conserved.
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