Mothball Fleet Topic of discussion at the Van Cort Historical Society

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

Author and historian Anthony Musso will explain why this massive fleet of decommissioned WWII US Navy ships were moored in the Hudson River across from Peekskill at Jones Point from 1946 to 1971. Using images period and based on research he collected for his new book-Mothball Fleet on the Hudson: Post-War II National Defense Reserve— he will tell the story of this fleet that many locals called “the ghost ships”. His book will be available for sale and signing after his conference.

“During World War II, the United States Department of the Navy had a fleet of 7,000 ships,” Musso noted. “At the end of the war, the Navy found itself with the dilemma of what to do with this vast fleet. So in 1946, the National Naval Defense Reserve Fleet was created and eight sites across the country were selected to store the ships, maintain them, and keep them ready for action in the event 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 largely accomplished job during his 40-year career as a writer, editor, newspaper columnist, lecturer, and author of a variety of historical books and newspaper articles on events in the Hudson Valley. He is the author of three volumes of his acclaimed book Hudson Valley Hidden Gems, which he has lectured to our Society for the past few years,” said Bob Foley, Program Director of the Van Cortlandtville Historical Society.

La Petite École Rouge (the venue for April 16and program) is located at the north end of Locust Avenue, adjacent to the historic Old Church and Cemetery of St. Peter, on the hill just south of Oregon Road in the town of Cortlandt. Off-street parking is available at the top of the school driveway or below in the cemetery parking area.

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

Jessica C. Bell