By Cornelia de Bruin
Triplicate staff writer
While Crescent City celebrates its ships festival, another great old lady of the sea USS Constitution celebrates a local anniversary of a different sort.
The Constitution, also known as "Old Ironsides" gave residents here the photo opportunity of a lifetime on May 4, nearly years ago.
The old war ship had been recommissioned two years earlier and was on an under-tow cruise of 90 port cities along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coasts.
The recommissioning came about because of public sentiment about scrapping her, and was paid for with donations of schoolchildren and patriotic groups.
Del Norte Historical Society Manager Brian O'Callaghan sleuthed out the gem of coincidence as he was putting together his latest newsletter.
The ship's crew sent a radiogram April 28, 1933, to the Point St. George radio station alerting it that she would lie off Crescent City for one hour sometime during the day May 4.
Her crew had not put in at any of the other small ports the ship sailed by on her voyage along the Pacific Coast.
The time was left hazy because of the ship's dependency on weather conditions.
But the Del Norte Triplicate reported in its May 5 edition that the Constitution passed by at 3 p.m. "and received a royal welcome here."
"Practically all residents of Del Norte County were on hand to pay their mute respects to the famous ship," the article read.
Those lining the shore apparently had quite an eyeful, because the ship was being towed up the coast by a U.S. Navy destroyer.
"She is unable to proceed under her own power," the paper reported.
Constitution was on her way to Vancouver, where she was to turn around and head south.
She passed Crescent City for the second time Sept. 1.
O'Callaghan's article noted that the second glimpse was closer than they had May 4.
The U.S.S. Constitution was launched Oct. 10, 1797.
She was 204-feet long, and had a 43.5-foot beam and 14.3-feet draught.
When she sailed, she carried a crew of 450 officers and enlisted sailors.