History courtesy of spinsheet.com
In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the construction of 1000 new steamships to transport troops fighting in World War 1. None would ever make it across the Atlantic. By September 1919, nearly a year after the war's end, only 264 had been finished. The ships were hastily and poorly constructed, and technological innovation soon rendered them completely useless for future wars. As a result, they were sold to the Western Marine and Salvage Company in 1922. However, the company went bankrupt within the decade, and future attempts to salvage material from the ships also proved economically unviable. The ships were left in Mallows Bay to decompose, along with other vessels abandoned by the salvage company. Today they are part of a flourishing marine ecosystem as well as an interesting destination for history buffs; the site was recently nominated to become a national marine sanctuary to preserve its historical and biological treasures. Although not truly a "memorial," the Ghost Fleet deserves recognition as a unique artifact of American participation in World War 1.