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SS United States


Though she was only in use for 17 years (1952-1969), 'The Big U' has the distinction of being fastest ocean liner ever built. Reported to have been capable of speeds of over 40 knots (45 mph), her top speed is classified as she was an experimental ship to be used as a troop transport in times of war. Weighing 53,329 tons and stretching 990 feet, a little over 100 more than the Titanic, she also is the largest ship built entirely on American soil. While she is the last existing example of her era of liners, preservation attempts have been met with much difficulty. The transfer of ownership in 2011 to the SS United States Conservancy means that there is still hope that this magnificent relic will endure. They are currently seeking donors to save this national icon. Please consider making a donation to the Conservancy here.

If you'd like to learn more about the story of the SS United States, it is a featured chapter in the new Abandoned America book Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online booksellers across the globe. For more information on where to get it or how to purchase a signed copy follow this link. Photographs and unattributed text by Matthew Christopher. For more images click the thumbnails below.
SS United States Historical Photographs portfolio