Save Our Ship: Passionate Preservationists Buy a National Treasure

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Meanwhile, a group of enthusiasts gathered to fight for the future of the ship, most with deep personal connections to it-- among others, Susan Gibbs, the granddaughter of the architect; and Marine Capt. Dan McSweeney, a first-generation American whose father came to this country to work aboard the ship as a steward.

With the help of Philadelphia philanthropist H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest, the SS United States Conservancy was finally able to purchase the ship from NCL, which, as a nod to the ship's history, graciously accepted half of what scrappers were offering.

The conservancy sees a future for the ship as a mixed-used, permanently-moored waterfront facility, and cites interest from New York, Philadelphia and Miami. While the SS United States floats on, her future is far from assured. Estimates to restore the ship to any kind of useful condition run in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Still, the seas have never been smoother for a redeveloped SS United States. As McSweeney puts it, "We're completely committed to accomplishing this and there's no question that we'll succeed."

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