U.S. Senator Ben Cardin; President of the State Senate, Bill Ferguson; Baltimore Mayor Jack Young, and others cut the ribbon at BMI, 2019.

Six-to-Fix Success: Public Unveiling of the Newly Painted WWII Crane at the Baltimore Museum of Industry

10/30/2019
By Preservation Maryland

Earlier this month, the Baltimore Museum of Industry held a public unveiling of the newly repaired and repainted WWII-era shipbuilding crane towering over their campus on the Baltimore harbor.

The celebratory event was a milestone to a multi-year and on-going campaign by the Baltimore Museum of Industry to preserve and highlight the iconic crane. Preservation Maryland supported the campaign by including it in our Six-to-Fix program and successfully advocating for state funds for the project. During the 2018 Session of the Maryland General Assembly, Preservation Maryland advocated for a bond bill (SB0920/HB1046) for the crane. Senator Bill Ferguson and Delegate Brooke Lierman sponsored the bill that ultimately provided $225,000 in funding for maintenance and repairs. The BMI secured additional funds for the $700,000 effort from the France-Merrick Foundation, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, and others.

This iconic crane was built in 1942 and was used by Bethlehem Steel during a massive shipbuilding effort during World War II. During that time, there would have been dozens of similar cranes along the harbor producing an average of one ship every day and a half. Many of the cranes have since been lost but this crane remained in use through the 1980s when it was donated and relocated to the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Early in 2019, scaffolding went up around the 100-foot steel crane, surface preparation began, and in July painters from Manolis Painting Company applied weather-resistant industrial paint. The bright green color was selected by the general public in a community poll. The restoration project also included replacing deteriorated structural hardware. The large extending boom will be reattached in September 2019. Phase II of the project seeks to raise funds to add LED lights to the crane.

In tandem with their Save the Crane effort, The Baltimore Museum of Industry currently has a Bethlehem Steel photography exhibition on display through April 2020 and is working on a community history project with former Bethlehem Steel workers.

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