11 Most Endangered Historic Places
Year Listed: 1994
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Threat: Deterioration, Natural Forces
Launched in 1854 and possibly incorporating elements of a frigate built in 1797, the U.S.S. Constellation served her country faithfully for more than 100 years, never losing a battle. But the Constellation, which pursued slave-trade ships off the African coast in 1859, made the first official naval capture of the Civil War in 1861, transported food to Ireland in 1880 and served as a flagship during World War II, now faces the biggest battle of her career. Her badly rotted timbers desperately need to be restored. Without repair, the Constellation will have to be removed from her berth in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, where she attracts thousands of visitors annually, many of them school children. While organizations, businesses, private citizens and government agencies have provided some financial assistance, it falls short of the millions needed to stabilize and preserve the last sailing warship built for the U.S. Navy.