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Take A Tour Of The Battleship Massachusetts At Battleship Cove In Fall River Massachusetts

Updated on June 28, 2011

History Of The Battleship

USS Massachusetts (BB-59), also known as "Big Mamie" is located in Fall River Massachusetts at Battleship Cove is the home to the Massachusetts’ official memorial to all Bay Staters killed in service to their nation during World War II. The memorial is on board the USS Massachusetts, this memorial symbolizes the gratitude of all Massachusetts residents to the service of our men and woman during the WWII conflict.

 The Battleship Massachussetts was part of the second South Dakota class. She was the seventh ship of the U. S. Navy to be named in honor of the sixth state and one of a pair of ships in her class(her sister ship was the Alabama ) to be donated for use as a museum ship. Out of all the ships armed with 16 inch guns during WW II, the Massachusetts is believed to be the last ship that may have fired the US Navy's first and last 16 in shells of the war.

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During World War II Massachusetts was deployed to duty in the Atlantic Fleet, and exchanged shots with a French battleship during Operation Torch. Later in the war she was transferred to the Pacific fleet in 1943, Massachusetts participated in campaigns in the Solomon Islands as well as the Philippines where she took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In 1945 she was one of several ships assigned to shell targets on Honshu, one of the Japanese Islands.

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The Museum

If you are looking for a day to study and participate in the history of our country then Battleship Cove is for you. The Cove is located next to Heritage Park which also has a carousel and a great boardwalk for your strolling pleasure. Different views of the ships can be seen from the boardwalk. If you follow the boardwalk to its end you will come upon a replica of the Iwo Jima statue located in Bicentennial park.

Heritage Park is also home to some great exhibits showing the fascinating history of Fall River. While visiting the park take the time to watch "The Fabric of Fall River," that tells the history of the city that at one time led the world in producing cotton textiles.

The Exhibits

At Battleship Cove, you just don't have a chance to get a history lesson you get an opportunity to live it. Your visit to Battleship Cove will allow you to experience what it was like to serve on board a Navy warship in WWII.

You have the opportunity to take the helm of the Submarine Lionfish you can even crank the wheels on the Big Mamie's 40-mm guns.

There is more. You also get to tour the Cold War era USS Joseph P. Kennedy and see how the ship's unmanned helicopter hunted Soviet submarines.There is even a corvette missile that was designed by the USSR to be used against the United States and her allies.

Veterans' Voices Oral History Project

One of the leading oral history programs in the country, the Veterans' Voices Oral History Project at Battleship Cove records and maintains the stories of many veterans from the WW II conflict.

This is the largest veterans' oral history archives in the Commonwealth, and one of the largest in New England, Battleship Cove has colected the memories of leading figures such as:

  • US Senator John S. McCain III
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi
  • Medal of Honor recipients Captain Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. and Captain Thomas G. Kelley
  • Former Red Sox slugger Dom DiMaggio


The Carousel

The word "carousel" to anyone from Southern New England will bring memories of Carousel #54. The carousel was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1920 during the "Golden Age" of wooden carousels, Carousel #54 was shipped from Philedelphia to North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, where it was one of the key attractions at the Lincoln Amusement Park for seventy years.

In 1991 the park closed, a group of Fall River businessmen put up the money to have the carousel moved to Battleship Cove. Very similar to what was done to bring the Battleship to the city. The community got together to raise the money to have the carousel refurbished. There was a Victorian pavilion was built to house the attraction; the structure now sits over Heritage Park offering grand panoramic views of the fleet located at Battleship Cove.

Iwo Jima Statue

If you follow the boardwalk north from Battleship Cove you will enter Bicentennial park. Within the park is the statue known as the originals "little brother" The Iwo Jima Memorial. The statue was erected in 2005, it is surrounded by beautiful stonework and when it is lit up at night it is a breathtaking site. Standing thirty feet tall which is two/thirds the size of the original Marine Corps War Memorial, Fall River's Iwo Jima statue is a must see for any tourist visiting the historic city of Fall River.

Gates Of The City

One block South of Battleship Cove is one of the most impressive Portuguese monuments in the city of Fall River. The three gates are a reproduction of the Gates in the city of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores. Ponta Delgada and Fall River are considered "sister cities" and the gates which were erected in 2006 is a symbol of the friendship between the cities. Surrounding the gates is a small park with fountains.

History Of The United States Battleship


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    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I enjoyed this piece of history, Arthur Fontes. The next time I get to Massachusetts I'll be visiting Battleship Cove and Heritage Park. It's interesting that the Massachusetts exchanged fire with the Vichy French in the early years of WW II. I also enjoyed the videos.