[Heritage] Rare PT boat in Oregon listed in National Register

Heritage Info heritage.info at state.or.us
Wed Sep 5 14:41:50 PDT 2012


The only remaining operable PT boat from World War II, the class of
versatile motor torpedo boats made famous through the exploits of
President John Kennedy, has been listed this week in the National
Register of Historic Places.
 
The boat, PT-658, has been exactingly restored by former PT boat
veterans and volunteers for the nonprofit Save the PT Boat, Inc. for the
past 18 years.
 
“We are delighted to have PT-658 listed in the National Register,” said
Maurice Hooper, former PT boat crewman and Save the PT Boat, Inc. board
president. “It’s a tribute to all of the veterans who served on PT boats
and helped secure this nation’s freedom during World War II, as well as
the dozens of volunteers who have worked tirelessly, investing thousands
of hours to restore this historic boat.”
 
Boats like the PT-658 were developed in the early 20th century by
European naval powers as part of their coastal defenses. These small,
wooden boats were an inexpensive way to quickly deliver torpedoes which
could destroy ships as heavy as battleships.
 
The United States began manufacturing PT boats in 1941 shortly before
entering World War II. The PT boats carried more armament for their size
than any other naval vessel, said one historian, but were sometimes
considered expendable.
 
Kennedy was the commanding officer of PT-109 when it was crushed by a
Japanese ship in May 1942. He also commanded PT-59. Kennedy’s success
with these wooden ships, which was popularized during his 1960
presidential campaign, was the subject of several books and a movie.
 
PT-658 was built near the end of the war in New Orleans.  Save the PT
Boat Inc. acquired PT-658 and moved it to Portland in 1994. The
authenticity and accuracy of its restoration are exemplary, according to
its National Register nomination. Only two other PT boats are listed in
the National Register, but neither is currently operating. 
 
The PT-658 nomination was reviewed and approved by the Oregon State
Historic Preservation Office and the Oregon State Advisory Committee on
Historic Preservation prior to its presentation to the National
Register.
 
The National Register is maintained by the National Park Service under
the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. More
information about the National Register and recent Oregon listings is
online at www.oregonheritage.org (click on “National Register” at left
of page). Save The PT Boat Inc. maintains a website at
www.savetheptboatinc.com 
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