1797 navy ship tours Boston harbor again People walk down the gang plank of the USS Constitution (AP photos)
1797 navy ship tours Boston harbor again
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Old Ironsides is about to enter a three-year restoration project.

Built in Boston and launched in October 1797, the USS Constitution or "Old Ironsides" is a ship that was commissioned by the U.S. Navy following the Revolutionary War in order to protect American merchant ships off the northern coast of Africa.

It earned the nickname "Old Ironsides" after winning numerous battles during the War of 1812 against Great Britain. Over the years, the iconic ship has held a variety of roles in the Navy. Today with an all active-duty Navy crew, it is a major tourist destination in Boston, with more than 500,000 visitors a year.

The Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship still afloat, soon will undergo dry-dock preparations, including removal of its upper masts and offloading of the ship's long guns. The three-mast frigate still will be open for public tours and officially enters dry dock in March 2015.

By spring or summer 2018 it should return to its familiar spot on Pier 1 at the Navy Yard.

Critical thinking challenge: How does the U.S. benefit by keeping such an old ship in its active fleet?

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COMMENTS (10)
  • DD2000BASEBALL
    10/24/2014 - 01:06 p.m.

    The ship benefits the United States because it can protect merchant ships. Since they could do that with the ship, the just kept it around.

  • ShaniaWentz-Ste
    10/24/2014 - 01:19 p.m.

    I think that 3 years is a pretty long time for a restoration. However, this sounds like a really cool ship, and I love antiques, so I am all for this restoration. I can't wait to see it when it's finished.

  • CharismaM
    10/24/2014 - 01:35 p.m.

    3 years is a long time to wait for the ship to finally open. But it's worth it because you get to see the inside of a famous ship used it some of the most difficult battles. It benefits students too because they can take field trips to see the inside of an antique.

  • AlexisKrise
    10/24/2014 - 01:45 p.m.

    I would like to know why they are restoring it. If it is a museum of sorts for people, aren't they going to want to see an ORIGINAL? Not everything has to be updated! The floors maybe but that's about all I can think of. If it's 'restored' so much, then it becomes a different ship, it won't be the same as it was before. I am not for restoring this ship entirely.

  • antoniod-Koc
    10/26/2014 - 11:48 p.m.

    This is very interesting to me because i find history an amazing experience. I find that knowing that a 1797 navy ship is still operational is quite amazing to me.

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    10/27/2014 - 12:03 p.m.

    I never knew the real name of Old Ironsides, and I have never known the real meaning behind the purpose of the ship. I would like to visit this historical area to learn more about it's significance.

  • TF00Music
    10/30/2014 - 01:05 p.m.

    The U.S benefits from keeping a navy ship on the water because it can show people how we can preserve old things that are hundreds of years old. I just hope it doesn't go down in the proses of touring Boston Harbor.

  • CapeleyZ-1
    10/30/2014 - 07:55 p.m.

    The Ironsides is a ship built in October 1797. It is very well known Navy ship that helped us win many of the battles against Great Britain in 1812. It is now going to begin a three-year restoration project. Although this is true the ship still has an active Navy crew and more than 500,000 visitors a year. The ship is supposed to return to its normal spot in spring or summer of 2018.I think it very cool we have actual visuals of our history.

  • Josh01Chargers
    11/04/2014 - 08:11 p.m.

    That is really cool. We finally get to have a piece of American history brought back to life. I wish I had a ship like that. Too bad it's so far away from Oregon. Maybe I will get to go see it someday.

  • 1GeorgeB
    11/20/2014 - 06:45 p.m.

    The U.S. Benefits in one way from keeping old Ironsides in an active fleet is that money from tourism can bring in extra money and also just from a stand point where people think,'' oh that's cool''. But from the other point of view which is from a tactical view point is that since The ship is part of an active fleet, it can still be called up for service in times of war, and in war an old ship would be no match for modern warfare. It is like putting a brand new computer game in a 18 yr old computer, it won't work or be efficient and it makes having that video game useless since you can't use it, which Is kind of like old Ironsides competing in modern combat.

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