Liberty Ship Memorial
Liberty Ship Memorial
4.5

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Maurene_K
Dover, NH12,152 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Friends
So many people drive right past this memorial without even seeing it on their way to see Portland Breakwater Light a/k/a Bug Light and the splendid views of Casco Bay and Portland Harbor from Bug Light Park. Why? Mostly because they are looking straight ahead or off to the left when they drive down the access road. The memorial is off to the left. Most people don’t see it until they are leaving the park.

The Liberty Ship Memorial is located on a scenic point of land named Bug Light Park overlooking Portland Harbor and Casco Bay. The park was a sprawling World War II shipyard that covered 140 acres of land and included over 60 buildings. It had the capacity to build up to 13 ships at one time. Between 1941 and 1945, South Portland Shipyards built 236 Liberty Ships that contributed greatly to the Allied victory in World War II.

The need for Liberty Ships and the shipyards ended with the war. In 1945, the Maine Legislature formed the Greater Portland Public Development Commission (GPPDC). That body acquired, leased, and managed the shipyard properties.

In 1996, a group of South Portland residents organized an effort to purchase and preserve a portion of the former Shipyard property for use as a public park. On December 30, 1996, Bug Light Park became a reality.

Meanwhile, The Bug Light Park Enhancement group began planning a memorial to South Portland's rich shipbuilding heritage. The result was this Liberty Ship Memorial. It was designed by Renner and Woodworth.

It is a magnificent tribute. The main part is a scaled-back skeletal sculpture of a Liberty Ship. It’s about 35 feet tall and 65 feet long. The exposed frames and partial exterior plating illustrate the utilization of pre-assembled parts that allowed Liberty Ships to be constructed very quickly. The Liberty Ships specifications were: Length Overall: 441 feet 6 inches, Beam: 56 feet 10 3/4 inches, and Depth to upper deck: 37 feet 4 inches.

Since the ships were launched from the shipbuilding basins with their bows out, the memorial is oriented facing the bay.

Inside the structure are info boards:
1) SOUTH PORTLAND AND ITS LIBERTY SHIPS - tells of the transition from wooden shipbuilding to steamers.
2) THE YARD - tells how New England Shipbuilding Corp. became the fifth largest emergency shipyard in the nation.
3) VOYAGES TO VICTORY - tells how these ships endured adverse weather and ho the US produced the Liberty Ships faster than the German U-Boats could sink them. Of the 2,700 Liberty ships built, 200 were lost.
4) WW II: ON THE HOME FRONT - tells of victory gardens, woman working in defense plants (Rosie the Riveter), war bonds, shortages and rationing
5) THE WORK FORCE - Over 30,000 men and women worked here. Many women worked as welders (Wendy the Welder), but they were also machinists, burners, crane operators, and pipe coverers.
6) THE UGLY DUCKLINGS - When President Roosevelt saw the plans for the ships, he dubbed them The Ugly Ducklings.
SOUTH PORTLAND’S SHIPS OF LIBERTY - 236 complete list of all Liberty Ships built

On my most-recent visit with two friends, we were on one of our Greater Portland Lighthouse Pilgrimages, so we were there mostly to see Portland Breakwater Light a/k/a Bug Light. There were a lot of people in the park doing different things---flying kites, walking dogs, bicycling, running, and enjoying the views from the park benches nearby of Casco Bay and the marine traffic. During our visit, Portland Schooner Company’s 66-foot schooner Bagheera was returning from a two-hour sail. That made a great addition to photos of Bug Light.

This is an interesting and informational exhibit for quick history of the WW II Liberty Ships that were built in South Portland from 1941 to 1945.

Most parts of Bug Light Park are wheelchair accessible. Someone in a wheelchair can see everything in the park. The parking lot and walkway along the shore over to Bug Light are paved and pretty level.

Liberty Ship Memorial is within a few hundred yards of Portland Breakwater Light a/k/a Bug Light. Spring Point Ledge Light, Fort Preble, and Portland Harbor Museum are about 1+ miles away in South Portland. Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth Light (a/k/a Two Lights), Two Lights State Park, and Crescent Beach State Park---all in Cape Elizabeth---are just minutes away. And, Portland's Old Port and downtown areas are only about 15 minutes away.

Casco Bay Lines ferries passengers to and around the islands of Casco Bay. It seems that one of their distinctive ferries with a white top and yellow bottom passes by every 15 minutes on its way in and out of nearby Portland Harbor. They will make colorful additions to your photos of the lighthouse and nearby Fort Gorges.

BRING YOUR CAMERA and BINOCULARS.

Also, the South Portland Historical Society and Museum can be found near the entrance to Bug Light Park.

During our most-recent visit, we actually did it all on a full daytrip that lasted from morning until 7:00 PM with stops for lunch and a quick, light supper. But, we've been here several times before.

Visiting all these places could become a three-day weekend trip for out-of-staters.

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Written July 22, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

toscwolfstar
Chester, VT560 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Hard to walk around due to the snow that was not cleared.
A very unique structure with many informational panels.
Written February 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Greg M
Carrollton, TX3,023 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Friends
I loved this memorial, I just wish they would have done more sure to the significance of its history. It’s still more than worth a visit.

This site is the location of a major shipyard during World War II. An estimated 30,000 people worked at the ship building facility, having the capacity to build up too 13 ships at one time!

Between 1941 and 1945, 266 cargo ships were built here, 236 of those were called Liberty Ships. These ship are said to have had a tremendous impact on delivering supplies and aiding in the allied victory. These cargo ships were known for the low cost of construction, and were easily mass produced. The ships measured 441 ft long and 56 ft wide. A liberty ship could carry 2,840 Jeeps, 440 tanks, or 230 million rounds of ammunition, even planes!

The Liberty Ships became a symbol of the US World War II industrial output, and during the war, 200 Liberty Ships were lost due to torpedoes, mines, etc. Overall 2711 of these ships were mass produced during the war.

This park was established to give tribute to the thousands of men, and women, who built and served on these ships.
Written October 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jsfmiller
Maysville, KY240 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
As I mentioned in another review, this was something we sort of tripped into on our way to see Bug Lighthouse. It is in the same park, basically on one end with the lighthouse on the other. It is a simple yet informational memorial to the liberty ships that were built here during world war two. Lots of nice information.
Written June 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NHjo
Saco, ME12,528 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2019 • Solo
Nice memorial. I hadn't known anything about the history of the park and had never heard of the Liberty Ships until I read the placard. The ship is a nice architectural piece and a tribute to World War II.
Written March 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

annemarieloffeld
South Portland, ME29 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Friends
We live in this area, but take all our out of state visitors to this memorial. It is so informative, and impressive
Written March 19, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EFW2014
Woolwich, ME1,455 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018 • Family
The memorial is a nice bit of local history and very well made. Plenty of boards to read about the hows and whys this area was so important to the war effort. Free to all and plenty of parking as its inside Bug Light Park.
Written December 30, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Murray M
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2018
when World War 11 was on they built ships on this location, well over 200 were built here and went out to War.
very interesting to read about it and know what happened before my time.
Written December 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FunGaw4
Nottingham, MD252 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Solo
Learned a lot about Liberty Ships here at this memorial. Lots of information on the history of ship supplemented with many photos.
Written November 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cakedeco
Cleveland, OH638 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2018 • Couples
This is a great addition to the Bug Light park area. You can read placards with information that adds to your enjoyment and experience of visiting.
Written October 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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