Savannah Shipyard Co. records
New Search | Return to Search Results | View/Save/Print PDF

Savannah Shipyard Co. records

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Savannah Shipyard Co. (Ga.)
Title: Savannah Shipyard Co. records
Dates: 1940-1992
Extent: 1.45 cubic feet (3 boxes, 4 folders, 2 oversize folders)
Identification: MS 1659

Biographical/Historical Note

Savannah Machine and Foundry of Georgia originated in 1914 as a marine repair business by the name of Forest City machine and Foundry Company. Over the years it was reorganized several times; in 1929 it emerged as the Savannah Machine and Foundry (SMF). In 1941, SMF contracted with the U.S. Department of the Navy to build three minesweepers. The Savannah Machine and Foundry located their new shipyard on the Savannah River, off North Lathrop Avenue, between the Colonial Oil Co. and the Southern Cotton Oil Co. SMF constructed facilities for shipbuilding and shops for repair and maintenance.

The first minesweeper keel was laid in November, 1941, and was launched in , 1942. The minesweepers were constructed entirely of welded steel. Several of the minesweepers were built for the British navy as part of a U.S.-British collaboration. As a result of the Navy contract, SMF president Walter L. Mingledorff was able to petition the federal government for funding to construct a permanent graving dock (dry dock) at the shipyard. The $2 million graving dock opened in October, 1933, and was the only commercial graving dock on the Atlantic coast south of Baltimore. In August of 1944, SMF was contracted by the Navy to design and build submarine rescue ships. The first of these welded steel vessels was launched in of 1945.

By the end of the Navy contracts, SMF had constructed 25 minesweepers and 4 submarine rescue vessels. At their peak of production, the shipyard employed between 2,800-3,300 people. During this time, W. Lee Mingledorff, Jr. served as vice-president and shipyard manager. Late in the war, SMF also began producing steel girders, trusses, conveyors, gray iron, brass and aluminum, and could handle almost any type of heavy machine repair or construction. After World War II, SMF continued manufacturing these types of products in addition to their marine repairs service. The shipyard was also involved with the post-war "Operations Zipper" to deactivate and preserve Navy ships.

In 1971, the name of the company changed to Savannah Machine and Shipyard. The name changed again in 1980, to Savannah Shipyard Co. By 1985, a company called Sayler Marine Corporation occupied the former Savannah Machine and Foundry location.


Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of papers and photographs from the Savannah Machine and Foundry (later the Savannah Shipyard Co.), including 1942 cost estimates for building a minesweeper, a few miscellaneous papers, a program from the 1992 launching of a minesweeper built by Intermarine, and an oversized schedule of World War II production. The collection is arranged into two series: papers and photographs. The photographs series is divided into six subseries: Navy contract ships; ships and barges; shipyard views; miscellaneous and unidentified jobs; people, and official Navy publicity photographs.

Boxes and folders containing photographs are noted as "VM" (visual materials) in the collection inventory.


Index Terms

Business records.
Dry docks--Georgia--Savannah--20th century.
Estimates.
Minesweepers--Production control.
Mingledorff, R. E.
Photographs.
Savannah Shipyard Co. (Ga.)
Shipbuilding--Georgia--Savannah.
Ships--Maintenance and repair.
Shipyards--Georgia--Savannah--20th century.
Submarine rescue vehicles.
World War, 1939-1945--Engineering and construction.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Material was acquired from the grandson of the creating organization's founder.

Preferred Citation

[item identification], Savannah Shipyard Co. records, MS 1659, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Neil Mingledorff, Jr., 1999.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.


Sponsorship

Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.

Container List

 

SERIES 1:: Papers, 1942-1992

This series contains papers from the Savannah Machine and Foundry shipyard, including 1942 cost estimates for building a minesweeper, a few miscellaneous papers, a program from the 1992 launching of a minesweeper built by Intermarine, and an oversized schedule of World War II production.

Fldr

1Estimates. Minesweepers, 220' M100-131 (1 boat)
Minesweeper estimate, includes cover letter to Mr. A.M. Harper of Arthur Andersen and Company (Atlanta)

Fldr

2USS Ptarmigan
3 letters, all relating to contact information for the Sponsor and Matron of Honor and photographs for reunion of the Ptarmigan's crew (1973-1974)

Fldr

3Miscellaneous
2 items, both referring to photographs but neither item was attached to specific photos, so it is impossible to etermine which images were referenced

Fldr

4Intermarine "Heron" (MHC-52), launched March 21, 1992, 188' x 36' beam, $80+ million (they mentioned Heron AMS-18 built by SMF?). Program for launching

Fldr

5Schedule of World War II production
 

SERIES 2:: Photographs, 1940-1973

This series consists of six subseries: 2.1, Navy contract ships; 2.2, ships and barges; 2.3, shipyard views; 2.4, miscellaneous and unidentified jobs; 2.5, people; and 2.6, official Navy publicity photographs.



SUBSERIES 2.1:: Navy contract ships, 1941-1946

This subseries contains photographs of Navy contract ships, usually including images of the individual ship, the launching ceremony and the sponsors, and the ship headed into the water. These photographs are arranged by the working number given to each ship by SMF-the hull number. The name and the second number (usually prefixed by AM or ASR) were assigned by the Navy. AM is the prefix for minesweepers and ASR is the designation for submarine rescue ships. Many launching folders also contain photocopied information identifying the sponsor and other launching participants. Some correlate to photographs in the collection, others refer to photographs not found in the collection. Please note: there were discrepancies regarding information for hulls 12-17, including differing hull numbers, names, and launching dates. Some information on the backs of the photographs did not match information written on the original folders, a list of keel laying and launching dates for all ships built at SMF, or articles in the newspaper. Probably errors are noted. The most correct information, based on newspaper articles is given at the end of the folder title. The list of keel laying and launching dates for all ships built at SMF was provided by the donor and follows this inventory.
USS Symbol (Hull 1) AM 123
Online Inventory Contains Digitized Items

vm_box

Fldr

111st keel laying, November 18, 1941, 13 items, plus duplicates. View images: 1 | 2.

vm_box

Fldr

12Launched, July 2, 1942, 20 items, plus duplicates. View images: 1 | 2.

vm_box

Fldr

13USS Threat (Hull 2) AM 124, launched, August 15, 1942, 21 items

oversize_vm_folder

1USS Tide (Hull 3) AM 125, launched, September 7, 1942, 1 item

vm_box

Fldr

14HMS Gazelle (Hull 4) BAM 17, launched, January 10, 1943, 7 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

15-6HMS Gorgon (Hull 5) BAM 18, launched, January 24, 1943, 35 items

vm_box

Fldr

17HMS Grecian (HULL 6) BAM 19, launched, March 10, 1943, 2 items

vm_box

Fldr

18HMS Magic (Hull 7) BAM 20, launched, May 24, 1943, 1 item

vm_box

Fldr

19HMS Pylades (Hull 8) BAM 21, launched, June 27, 1943, 4 items

vm_box

Fldr

110USS Implicit (Hull 9) AM 246, launched, September 6, 1943, 5 items

vm_box

Fldr

111USS Improve (Hull 10) AM 247, launched, September 26, 1943, 4 items

vm_box

Fldr

112USS Incessant (Hull 11), AM 248, launched, October 22, 1943, 2 items

vm_box

Fldr

113USS Incredible (Hull 12) AM 249, launched, December 12, 1943, 5 items
This is probably the USS Indicative.

vm_box

Fldr

114USS Indicative (Hull 13) AM 250, launched, November 21, 1943, 3 items
This is probably the USS Incredible.

vm_box

Fldr

115USS Inflict (Hull 9) AM 251, launched, January 16, 1944, 4 items, plus duplicates
This is actually Hull 14.

vm_box

Fldr

116USS Instill (Hull 15) AM 252, launched, March 5, 1955
This is probably Hull 16

vm_box

Fldr

117USS Intrigue (Hull 16) AM 253, launched, April 4, 1944, 5 items
This is probably Hull 17 and was launched April 8, 1944. The original launching was delayed because of flood conditions.

vm_box

Fldr

118USS Invade (Hull 17) AM 254, launched, February 6, 1944, 6 items, plus duplicates
This is probably Hull 15.

vm_box

Fldr

119USS Pochard (Hull 18) AM 375, launched, June 11, 1944, 17 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

120USS Ptarmigan (Hull 19) AM 376, launched, July 15, 1944, 14 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

121USS Quail (Hull 20) AM 377, launched, August 20, 1944, 19 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

122-23USS Redstart (Hull 21) AM 378, launched, October 18, 1944, 26 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

124USS Minivet (Hull 22) AM 371, launched, November 8, 1944, 5 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

125USS Murrelet (Hull 23) AM 372, commissioned, August 21, 1945, 3 items
(Please note that these are commissioning photos, not taken during the launching).

vm_box

Fldr

126USS Peregrine (Hull 24) AM 373, launched, February 20, 1945, 10 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

127-28USS Pigeon (Hull 25) AM 374, launched, March 28, 1945, 17 items, plus duplicates
Also includes 2 color photos (circa 1970s, unidentified, possibly the sponsor and a converted USS Pigeon).

vm_box

Fldr

21-3USS Kittiwake (Hull 26) ASR 13, progress picture, 26 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

24USS Petrel (Hull 27) ASR 14, launched, September 25, 1945, 9 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

25USS Sunbird (Hull 28) ASR 15, launched, April 3, 1946, 11 items

vm_box

Fldr

26USS Tringa (Hull 29) ASR 16, launched, June 25, 1946, 17 items, plus duplicates



SUBSERIES 2.2:: Ships and barges, 1950s

This subseries contains photographs of other ships and barges. These are photographs of ships and barges that SMF probably repaired, converted, or in some way was involved in construction. However, not all of these photos were identified as repair work or jobs.

vm_box

Fldr

27USS Rushville Victory. Ship in dry dock, possibly for repairs or conversion, 3 items

vm_box

Fldr

28USS Matthew Maury. Ship in dry dock. The Matthew Maury had been torpedoed in the stern, was completely repaired and converted into a troopship. 8 photos identified as the Matthew Maury, 1 photo unidentified, 12 items

vm_box

Fldr

29USNS Chain. afloat, 1958,, 2 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

210 Thorunn. explosion repair, ship towed to yard, stern first, quoted all risk! 1 photo of Thorunn intact, 1 photo of explosion damage, Circa 1958,, 2 items, plus duplicate

vm_box

Fldr

211Miscellaneous ships. Lotta Dan; Cruz del Sur; Gold Nugget; and Bay State, 7 items

vm_box

Fldr

212-13Unidentified ship, possibly damage photos of the SS Amar, 35 items

vm_box

Fldr

214-16Fireboat, possibly the Richard D. Sutton, circa 1954, 52 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

217Gulf barge Mohican, 1 item

vm_box

Fldr

218Barge Raymond Demere, Colonial Oil Co., 1956, 15 items

vm_box

Fldr

219-20SOCONY barge #32, 46 items

vm_box

Fldr

221Unidentified barge (possibly SOCONY barge #32), 4 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

222Unidentified ships, 3 items



SUBSERIES 2.3:: Navy contract ships, 1940-1973

This subseries contains photographs including aerial views of the shipyard and interior views of certain buildings, including the machine shop and fab. shop. Construction views of the shipyard are also found in this series. Not all of the photographs are identified or dated. There is also a folder of images of the Southern Cotton Oil Company waterfront.

vm_box

Fldr

223Progress views, 1941-1942, 24 items
Dated views of construction of the shipbuilding facilities at Savannah Machine and Foundry following initial contract with the Navy.

vm_box

Fldr

224Graving dock, 1940, 1943, undated, 15 items, plus duplicates
Construction views, and in-use views.

vm_box

Fldr

225Caisson gate, 1943 and undated, 7 items
Construction views.

vm_box

Fldr

226Machine shop and fab. shop, 1944, 2 items, plus duplicates
Interior views;

vm_box

Fldr

227Aerial views of shipyard, 1973, 12 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

31Miscellaneous shipyard views, 20 items
Includes some aerial views of the shipyard, most images unidentified, all undated.

vm_box

Fldr

32Southern Cotton Oil Company waterfront, 1957, 9 items
This company was located next to Savannah Machine and Foundry on the Savannah River.



SUBSERIES 2.4:: Miscellaneous and unidentified job

This subseries contains photographs of work done after the war. Very few images are identified.

vm_box

Fldr

33Trailer. Probably a product of the foundry, 2 items

vm_box

Fldr

34Hunter Air Force Base. Hangar fabrication job, 1953, 10 items

vm_box

Fldr

35Unidentified miscellaneous jobs, 10 items

vm_box

Fldr

36Camp Savannah and unidentified military base. First item identified as "13 November 1940, Cont. no. W6367 Camp Savannah, Hinesville, Ga.", 2 items



SUBSERIES 2.5:: People, 1943-1958

This subseries contains photographs of R.E. Mingledorff, unidentified people, and photos of the Army-Navy "E" award ceremony in 1943.

vm_box

Fldr

37Army-Navy "E" Award, 1943, 3 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

38Men. R.E. Mingledorff and an unidentified man, probably a relative, 2 items, plus duplicates

vm_box

Fldr

39People, unidentified, 7 items, plus duplicates
Includes a photo with a man identified as "B. Rasmussen, 'Benfruit' (1958)." All other unidentified and include a crowd of people at the shipyard and several photos of men at a banquet.



SUBSERIES 2.6:: Official Navy publicity photographs, 1942

This subseries contains photographs released to the press in 1942. There is no apparent connection to SMF.

vm_box

Fldr

310Official Navy publicity photos, 1942, 6 items
Miscellaneous photos release to the press, the last photo is undated.