The first full year of World War II brings a rush of productivity to the previously sleepy Annapolis waterfront. As air raid drills, war bond sales, and an expanded Naval Academy define the day-to-day, Dr. Robert Goddard and his small team are quietly posted at the North Severn Experiment Station. They are directed to bolt a rocket engine on a massive seaplane and attempt to fly it. The need is urgent. Within weeks of the start of the project, a young naval aviator flies the hybrid plane, taking off, landing, and, eventually, crashing on the Severn River.
Despite the war, President Franklin Roosevelt insists that Army and Navy continue their iconic football rivalry. The game is played at Annapolis, under most unique circumstances, on the shores of the Severn River. Meanwhile, in Eastport, the Annapolis Yacht Yard hires hundreds of workers, sets up Detroit-inspired production lines, and begins mass-producing wooden warships. The rush of productivity occurs alongside the ruins of the Schooner AMERICA which had been brought to the Yacht Yard for a refit which was permanently delayed by the start of war. Annapolis sailor, historian, and author David Gendell has conducted extensive research into this period, including interviews with those on the scene. His presentation includes a variety of first-hand accounts, unique images, original maps.
Presenter: David Gendell | Author & Sailor
About the Presenter: Lifelong Annapolis sailor David Gendell is a historian, author, and the co-founder of SPINSHEET and PROPTALK magazines. He is the author of “Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse: A Chesapeake Bay Icon” (The History Press, 2020), the first and only book devoted to the history and preservation of the 1875 screwpile lighthouse at Annapolis.
About the Series:
The Annapolis Maritime Museum holds its annual Winter Lecture Series over eight consecutive Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. from mid-January through early March. You will be challenged to question and to learn by engaging speakers on diverse topics including maritime history, local history, science and maritime art.
The 2023 series will be held in person at the Museum Campus (723 Second Street Annapolis, MD 21403). Pre-registration is strongly suggested, space is limited. Registration fee of $10 per person at the door – first come, first served. Free admission for First Mate ($150) and above.