With the last of the SS United States’ historic five-bladed propellers just days away from being scrapped, cruise industry executive Jim Pollin donated $120,000 to the SS United States Conservancy to save the propeller and support a national campaign to repurpose America’s Flagship.
The donation, as well as a pledge to match an additional $100,000 in other contributions for the ship’s upkeep, was announced Tuesday in front of the once top-secret 60,000-pound propeller on board the SS United States.
Handing over a big check to the conservancy’s executive director, Susan Gibbs, in front of the 18-foot-wide bronze propeller on the ship’s stern, Pollin stressed the SS United States’ historic importance and urged others to contribute.
“This great ship represents the best of American ingenuity. She’s as iconic a symbol as the Washington Monument or Empire State Building, and she must not be destroyed on our watch,” Pollin said in a statement. “I’ve stepped up to help, and I hope that my contribution will help generate additional donations and build major momentum for the day when we can finally say we’ve saved the United States.”
Pollin, son of the late Abe Pollin, former owner of the Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics professional sports franchises, and women’s health expert Irene Pollin, answered the conservancy’s national call for a buyer to save the propeller and help prevent the ship’s destruction.
The SS United States, still the trans-Atlantic speed record-holder and icon of mid-20th century American engineering, could be sold to a scrapper by summer’s end unless additional funds are raised to pay her formidable carrying costs, in tandem with an investment deal to repurpose the ship into a mixed-use destination.