[May Contain Adult Language]
Wilmington has a legacy of shipbuilding predating the well known era of the Liberty Ship, workhorse of World War II. Shipbuilding and wars have historically gone hand in hand, the area seeing a run up in production during the Civil War, at the end of World War I, and of course World War II.
Buckle up for a crash course in this now bygone local industry, as well as anecdotes that sound too crazy to be true. Did a sailor survive a blast by hanging onto a flying mattress? Did top military minds attempt to weaponize the camel in Texas? What is the dark secret of the SS Sapona?
Find out the answers to these questions and more in Midmost Coast’s first episode of season 2: The Shipbuilding Epoch.
Special Thanks To
In this show we use some clips from an interview with Marvin Shoemaker, giving first hand accounts of the shipyards during World War II. A special thank you to Debbie Shoemaker for allowing us to use the audio.
And an additional thank you to Wilmington Water Tours.
Germany: The Phantom Menace
- Colonial shipbuilding
- World War I
- Goethals v Denman (aka metal ships v wooden ships)
- George A. Fuller and the Carolina Shipbuilding Company
- The incredible case for concrete ships
- One Kaiser packs it in, one Kaiser just gets started
Attack of the Concrete Ships
- The SS Cape Fear is launched and immediately sinks
- The SS Monte Carlo becomes ship of lost souls
- A ship full of delicious whiskey
- The dastardly SS Sapona
- Allen’s Pokemon Theory of Ship Weakness
- “Shock Waves” zombie movie made based on the Sapona
Liberty! Liberty! Liberty!
- The Liberty Shipyard
- See the old yards by water
- Liberty Shipyard didn’t make Liberty Ships
- Liberty Ships were however made nearby later
World War II
- U.S. and Japan’s collision course
- Joseph P. Kennedy and the 1936 Maritime Commission
- The ironically named Admiral Land
- The ancient rivalry between Wilmington and Morehead City
- Newport News Shipbuilding throws their weight around
- Welding v rivets (aka Rosie the Welder)
- Account of U-boats and the Cape Fear River
- American gears and turbines were the envy of the world
- The super secret turbine shop of mystery
- The Victory Ships
- The USS Mount Hood earns its name
- The tale of the SS Richard D. Spaight and the magical flying mattress
- Liberty Ships doing supply runs to Russia
- The SS Richard P. Hobson
- The Liberty Ships retire to the Brunswick River
- The modern day landscape of the port
The Quiz With Real Stakes
- Sean plays for a red novelty phone
Photos and Images
Past and Present View of Wilmington’s Port
Water Tour Pictures
(Disclosure: Midmost Coast can make a small commission for product links.)
“The Great War” is a Youtube channel that takes you back 100 years to revisit World War I.
Shock Waves is a horror zombie movie based on the SS Sapona.
Wilmington Water Tours departs out of downtown and will take you by the port.