Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Blue Water Ships, Brown-Water Bayou

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on November 4, 2014

My new feature article on Liberty ship construction in Houston during World War II will be hitting local newsstands shortly. I’m especially honored to have it included in the new issue of Houston History Magazine (right), dedicated to the centennial of the formal opening of the Houston Ship Channel. The full article won’t be online for some months yet, but you can read the opening grafs here. Houston has never had the reputation of a major shipbuilding center, but it accomplished remarkable things during the war. Two hundred eight Liberty ships were pushed off the ways into Buffalo Bayou between 1942 and 1945. For those of you familiar with Houston geography, if placed end-to-end those ships would stretch more than seventeen statute miles, from the San Jacinto Battleground to City Hall downtown.

There are some wonderful articles in this issue, many of them supplemented by the photography of Captain Lou Vest, a Houston pilot and one of the best maritime photographers working today. (Don’t miss Steve Nelson’s photos, either.) I’d like to give special thanks to the managing editor of Houston History, Debbie Harwell, for her enthusiasm and encouragement. She’s great to work with.



4 Responses

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  1. Foxessa said, on November 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm


    As well as gratitude for your work.

    More and more I appreciate and value the historians working to bring as much to light of the past of where they live, in whatever era those historians live.

    Local historians and the publications / journals they support go back to almost colonial times, and they see what those from other times cannot.

    Love, C.

  2. Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on November 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Looks like an excellent article, Andy. My grandfather and great-uncle helped build Liberty ships in San Francisco during the war. Both were still alive when the Jeremiah O’Brien, one of just two operational Liberty ships remaining, was moved to San Francisco in 1994 in time for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

    I’ve been to see it a handful of times on trips to the West Coast and never fail to be amazed when I consider the speed with which these ships were turned out. I had no idea until I read the preview of your article that Houston turned out 7.5 percent of all Liberty ships created during the war.

  3. M.D. Blough said, on November 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm


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