Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Oakland in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

USS Potomac

 
 
USS Potomac Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 10, 2009
1. USS Potomac Marker
Inscription. Completed in 1934, the Coast Guard Cutter Electra was converted to the presidential yacht and commissioned as a U.S. Navy Vessel, USS Potomac, in 1936. The 165-foot ship, which weighs 376 gross tons and has a cruising speed of 10-13 knots, and served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Floating White House" until the time of his death in 1945.

USS Potomac endured a long decline, with many adventures and many owners, until 1981, when she was purchased by the Port of Oakland for $15,000. The Port spearheaded a cooperative effort with organized labor, maritime corporations, and volunteers to complete a $5 million restoration. USS Potomac received the designation of National Historic Landmark in 1990 and opened to the public in 1995.

Today, the Association for the Preservation of the Presidential Yacht Potomac operates this beautifully restored vessel as an active testament to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who led America out of the Great Depression and through World War II. The Association, run almost exclusively by a group of over 90 dedicated volunteers, offers a variety of educational programs for students and adults.
 
Erected by Potomac Association.
 
Location. 37° 47.721′ N,
USS Potomac Marker, With USS Potomac in the Background Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 10, 2009
2. USS Potomac Marker, With USS Potomac in the Background
122° 16.777′ W. Marker is in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Clay Street and Water Street. Click for map. The marker is located on the waterfront of Jack London Square, in a pedestrian area, about 50 feet south of where Clay Street dead ends. Marker is in this post office area: Oakland CA 94606, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. History of the Transbay Ferry (a few steps from this marker); Evolution of a Marine Terminal (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles P. Howard Terminal (within shouting distance of this marker); The Port of Oakland (within shouting distance of this marker); Estuary Industry (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jack London (about 700 feet away); Oakland's First Wharf (about 700 feet away); Live Oak Lodge U.D (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Oakland.
 
More about this marker. In addition to the text described above, it also contains a series of historical photos depicting the ship(counterclockwise from top left):

1)A shot of the ship cruising.
2) "April 8, 1936 - FDR aboard the converted USS Potomac."
3) "September 1937 - A fishing expedition off of Block Island, RI."
4) "1937 - King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, board
USS Potomac Radio Room Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, June 21, 2009
3. USS Potomac Radio Room
From the interpretive sign on board: "This Radio Room, in addition to being the communications heart of The Potomac, is reported to be the site of at least one of President Roosevelt's 'Fireside Chats' to the nation."
A piece of paper (visible in photo) on the wall behind the radio equipment indicates that Roosevelt gave a Jackson Day Dinner speech from the Potomac, which was broadcast on the radio.
USS Potomac."
5)"1964 - Elvis Presley bought USS Potomac for $50,000 and donated the ship to St. Jude Hospital."
6) "1981 - USS Potomac sinks in San Francisco Bay."
7) "1982 - USS Potomac at her worst."
8) A shot of the ship cruising San Francisco Bay, with San Francisco and the Oakland Bay Bridge in the background.

In addition, the marker has a sidebar on the right containing information on tours, cruises on the USS Potomac information, and how to contact the Potomac Association.
 
Regarding USS Potomac.

The USCG Electra was built by the Manitowoc Ship Building Company in Wisconsin, completed October 26, 1934.
The US Navy took over the ship in November 1935, and subsequently renamed the USS Potomac, with the ship becoming the Presidential Yacht for President Roosevelt.
Because FDR was a paraplegic and afraid of being trapped in a fire, he preferred the all-steel Potomac over the other Presidential Yacht, the Sequoia, which was constructed of wood.
The Potomac was decommissioned in 1945, and transferred to the State of Maryland in 1946, where she served with the Tidewaters Fisheries Commission, until being sold into private ownership in 1960, after which she served as a ferry in the Virgin Islands and as a floating
Engine Room Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, June 21, 2009
4. Engine Room
Taken from the interpretive sign on board:"The two main engines are DMG26 direct-reversing 440 horsepower, each at 400 RPMs. They were built in San Francisco in 1943, and are from a World War I tugboat and donated by Crowley Maritime Corporation. The engines are the same type as were originally in the vessel...."
FDR museum.
Elivs Presley purchased the Potomac in 1964 and gave it to St. Jude Children's Hospital to sell as a fund raiser.
The ship eventually became involved in drug smuggling and was seized by US Customs in 1980.
In 1997 the ship sank while moored off Treasure Island and was subsequently refloated, and then sold to the Port of Oakland, after which it underwent and extensive restoration.
 
Also see . . .
1. Presidential Yacht Potomac. The Potomac Association's series of pages of the history of the USS Potomac. Includes pictures. (Submitted on May 16, 2009.) 

2. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Entry for the USS Potomac. (Submitted on May 16, 2009.)
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
Who let him on board? Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, June 21, 2009
5. Who let him on board?
The USS Potomac Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 10, 2009
6. The USS Potomac
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 2,018 times since then and 87 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   6. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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