When the battleship Iowa was commissioned in 1943, it was a powerful weapon in yet another war to end all wars.
Now its huge guns are pointed at a string of seafood restaurants in San Pedro, and it’s about to join America’s fleet of floating museums — some 48 warships that have been donated to coastal communities eager for tourist dollars and upgraded waterfronts.
Although some of the attractions have thrived, others have been swamped in debt or racked by age.
In San Diego, the aircraft carrier Midway has topped 1 million visitors per year. Another carrier, the Intrepid, is a must-see museum in Manhattan, especially with the recent arrival of the space shuttle Enterprise.
But near Houston, the century-old battleship Texas closed indefinitely last week after holes opened up in its corroded hull and it started taking on more than 1,500 gallons of water a minute. In Alameda, the aircraft carrier Hornet is getting by. But it was nearly shut down a few years ago when officials couldn’t cover the rent and electric bills. In Camden, N.J., the battleship New Jersey now has five full-time employees — down from a peak of 50.
One certainly hopes the Iowa museum is a successful one. San Pedro isn’t the LA that you see on TV, with beautiful beaches and bikini clad blondes rollerblading along the shore. But as the article notes, it IS right next to the cruise terminal.