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Mothball Fleet on Hudson Topic of April 16 Talk at Van Cort Historical Society

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The purpose and fate of the fabled “Mothball Fleet” anchored in the Hudson River near Peekskill for 25 years will be presented in a program on Saturday, April 16th, at 2 p.m. at the Little Red Schoolhouse, 297 Locust Avenue in Cortlandt.  Sponsored by the Van Cortlandtville Historical Society, the event is open free to the public. With an abundance of caution, masks are encouraged to be used and seating capacity is limited.

Author and historian Anthony Musso will explain why this massive fleet of de-commissioned U.S. Navy ships from World War II was moored in the Hudson River across from Peekskill at Jones Point from 1946 to 1971.  Using vintage pictures and based on research he gathered for his new book—Mothball Fleet on the Hudson: The Post-World War II National Defense Reserve—he will tell the story of this fleet which many local people called “the ghost ships.”   His book will be available for sale and signing after his talk.  

“During World War II the U.S. Department of the Navy had a fleet of 7,000 ships,” Musso noted.  “At the end of the war, the Navy was left with the dilemma of what to do with this vast fleet.  So, in 1946 the National Naval Defense Reserve Fleet was established and eight sites around the nation were selected to store the ships, maintain them, and keep them ready for action in case of a national emergency. One of those eight locations ended up in the Hudson at Jones Point,” he added. 

“A longtime resident of Lagrangeville, Musso has achieved a widely accomplished body of work during his 40-year career as a writer, editor, newspaper columnist, public speaker, and author of a variety of historical books and newspaper articles on Hudson Valley happenings.  He is the author of three volumes of his acclaimed book Hidden Treasures of the Hudson Valley, of which he presented talks to our Society in recent years,” said Bob Foley, program director of the Van Cortlandtville Historical Society.

The Little Red Schoolhouse (the venue for the April 16th program) is located at the north end of Locust Avenue next to Historic Old Saint Peter’s Church and Cemetery on the hill just south of  Oregon Road in the Town of Cortlandt.  Off-street parking is available atop the Schoolhouse driveway or below in the cemetery parking area.

For more information call 1-914-736-7868; or visit: www.vancort.net.

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