10 October, 2007

Dollar Line SS President Hoover Postcard

The back of the card are two names, SS President Hoover and SS President Coolidge, so I was confused which of the two is really the ship on the postcard. Luckily I came across to a similar postcard with a note that the name of the ship is actually SS President Hoover!

Dollar Line SS President Hoover Postcard

I also found a very comprehensive history about the ship from the Takao Club site. Here's a summarized history of the ship, from its beginning to its wreck:

Dollar Line built two identical liners to service the trans-Pacific sector of the passenger market. Their names were to be the SS President Coolidge and the SS President Hoover. On 26 October 1929 the Dollar Steamship Line had placed an order with the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Virginia. The first to be delivered was to be the SS President Hoover. The SS President Hoover, designed by Carl Petersen, was launched on 9 December 1930 by Mrs Herbert Hoover. The SS President Hoover was 654 feet 3 inches long, 81 feet wide, 34 feet deep, and with a gross tonnage of 21,936 tons. The Hoover was the largest passenger ship to be constructed in the United States.

The SS President Hoover was primarily designed as a luxury passenger liner. She was designed to carry 324 crew and a maximum of 990 passengers, with 380 in a Steerage Class and between 214 to 307 in First Class, depending on the configuration. The First Class passengers were sumptuously provided for. The plush accommodations and Art Deco furnishings on the upper decks of the SS President Hoover rivalled that of the best hotels of the era. The Hoover's First Class Lounge was decorated with murals by the New York artist Frank Bergman. There were Otis electric elevators for convenience; a swimming pool and air-conditioning for the hot days; and heaters in every room for the colder nights.

The SS President Hoover was at anchor in the Yangtze River, waiting for clearance to move into the Woosung River and up to Shanghai. Suddenly she was under attack by Nationalist Chinese warplanes, and, by the time the bombing had finished one crewman was dead, and another six wounded together with two of the passengers.

After her repairs, the SS President Hoover had set off again in late November 1937 the Pacific bound for Kobe and Manila. Setting out from Kobe with 503 passengers and 330 crew, the SS President Hoover followed an unfamiliar course to Manila. The Dollar Line was now avoiding the port of Shanghai and was proceeding at night down the unfamiliar and unlit eastern coast of the Japanese colony of Formosa (Taiwan). Just after midnight, the SS President Hoover runs aground on a reef off the NE coast of the Formosan island of Hoishoto (also known as Samasana Island, Kasho-to, now Green Island). Strong winds and waves from a NE monsoon drive Hoover further onto the shores of Green Island and she begins to list badly. At low tide, Captain Yardley orders the evacuation of his 503 passengers to the island.

SS President Hoover at Manila

On December 14, 1937, once Dollar Lines had completed their salvage work, it was clear that the SS President Hoover was indeed a total loss. As a result the hull was sold to the Kitagawa Ship Salvage Company for $500,000. The SS President Hoover cost nearly 8 million US dollars to build.

SS President Hoover (text and image)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My wife's mother, her two siblings and parents were on that ship, they survived but lost every worldly possession, in that wreck