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USS Inaugural
South of the MacArthur Bridge lies the forlorn wreckage of the minesweeper ship Inaugural.

This once-proud World War 2 ship was launched in 1944 and served the remainder of the war. It was mothballed in 1946 after the war's end, and eventually turned over to St. Louis as a floating museum in 1968. It was on display below the Arch until 1993. It broke loose during the Great Flood, capsized, and eventually wound up aground on the river bank. After almost two decades in the water, every inch of the ship is covered in rust. With salvage proving unworkable, plans to scrap the ship have never been carried out.

Off-site links:

  • De-listing of the Inaugural from the National Register of Historic Places
  • USS Inaugural AM-242 - a site by former crewmembers
  • The Strange Tale of the USS Inaugural from the Riverfront Times
  • Urban explorers pay a visit to the Inaugural at low water
  • The Inaugural lies alongside one of the innumerable industrial sites that lines the river. A concrete flood wall protects the city from this point southward. Though most of St. Louis sits on higher bluffs, the riverfront industries would have been innundated in 1993 without the flood wall.

    For several years, the flood wall was the canvas for an invited grafitti event. A crowd of grafitti artists convened on the city and tagged the wall, turning the purely functional construct into a vibrant piece of art. Spectacular tags and murals remain in place today.

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