RESTORATION AND GRAND TOUR (1927-1934)
Displayed below are the images of USS Constitution and her people during the period 1927-1934, as recorded down through the years, arranged in approximate chronological order of the event or person depicted. Undatable, general, images are grouped at the end. Where appropriate, commentary is provided to put the image in context and evaluate its accuracy.
U. S. Navy
USS Constitution is moved into Drydock #1 (the "John Quincy Adams" Drydock) on 18 June 1927 to begin a massive restoration. (She was the first ship to enter this dock in 1833, after its completion.) Note the crib of heavy timbers amidships and the cables extending fore and aft from it: this was an element of Lieutenant John Lord's effort to ensure the old ship did not fall apart when the dock was dewatered. Additional cables ran around the ship horizontally.
U. S. Navy 5008
Commander Louis Joseph Gulliver commanded Constitution from March 1931 to June 1934, throughout her "grand tour" of the United States. He was considered well-spoken and a good public relations man, but not a particularly dynamic leader. His daughter, Grace, was married to one of his junior officers on board the ship while at San Diego, California.
Born in Portland, Maine about 1883, he served in a series of routine assignments and was ordered to the old frigate from his position as Executive Officer of the armored cruiser Rochester in the Caribbean. H died 17 April 1962.
A postcard view of USS Constitution at anchor off Yorktown, Virginia, 16-23 October 1931.
With Constitution visiting Washington at the time, President Herbert Hoover and Mrs. Hoover visited the ship on Armistice Day, 1931. Notice the officers are in the full dress uniforms of the day while the sailors are wearing older pattern flat hats. The gentleman at left, with his back to the camera, is Secretary of the Navy Charles Francis Adams.
Constitution at Pensacola, 1932.
MacGregor Studios, Corpus Christi
Constitution is seen being eased through the Bascule Bridge at Corpus Christi in 1932. Reportedly, there were a few scrapes, but no serious damage.
U. S. Navy NH 55938
USS Constitution passing through Gaillard Cut on her Atlantic to Pacific transit of the Panama Canal, 27 December 1932. Alongside is the Canal tug Gorgona.
Constitution nears San Diego, California, under tow of submarine tender USS Bushnell (AS-2)(left). In the distance, just off the frigate's stern, is USS Lexington (CV-2) with USS Saratoga (CV-3) to the right. These are the aircraft carriers built upon the incomplete battle cruiser hulls cancelled after World War I.
San Francisco National Maritime Museum
Constitution passing through the narrows of Golden Gate enroute to San Francsico in 1933. Just off her bow is the bar pilot schooner Adventuress. To the right is USS Grebe.
Panama Canal Society
Youngsters from a local swim club in the Panama Canal Zone visit Constitution as she transits the canal in 1934. The young fellow at the left front is Alan Ford, who would win the silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle at the 1948 Olympics.