Developing a Plan of Action to Preserve the USS Essex
(b) Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants. (i) $2,250,000 in 2010 and $4,500,000 in 2011 are appropriated for history programs and projects operated or conducted by or through local, county, regional or other historical or cultural organizations; or for activities to preserve significant historic and cultural resources. Funds are to be distributed through a competitive grants process. The Minnesota Historical Society shall administer these funds using established grants mechanisms, and with assistance from the advisory committee created herein.
The USS Essex, a National Register Property located in Duluth, is Minnesota's only US Navy shipwreck, and the only known shipwreck originally built by renown shipbuilder Donald McKay. Its current location on the shoreline of Minnesota Point is unfavorable for long-term preservation. To ensure the long-term preservation of the Essex this project developed several options for the future of the Essex, and the requirements needed to fulfill those options.
This plan is a significant contribution to our understanding of the USS Essex. It presents the vessel’s history in greater detail than previous documentation (including the original NRHP nomination). The plan clearly explains the unusual circumstances of this vessel in comparison with other shipwrecks, and the ship’s exceptional historical significance, making a legitimate case for National Historic Landmark status. The preservation plan outlines several options to protect the vessel’s remains from further deterioration, and the implications of each for the vessel itself and its NRHP status.