The Queen Mary launched for the first time in 1936, a gem of the Cunard Line, a premium luxury ocean liner designed to carry passengers between New York and Southhampton, England. Between 1936 and 1967, 1001 transcontinental round trips carried hundreds of thousands of passengers.
For years, the Queen Mary transported luxury passengers, celebrities and the like until the war broke out, then it was converted to a troop transport ship. It hauled troops from England, America and Australia between the continents. There was a concern that German submarines would target the luxury liner, so it was dry docked for a time in New York to keep it safe.
The history of the ship is well-documented at the museum that bears its’ name. The Queen Mary floats alongside the Long Beach Harbor as a testament to the dreams of men. It was engineered at a time when computers weren’t available. Over 20 models were built of the master ship prior to the final building of the ship.
In 1967, the ship was decommissioned and purchased by the City of Long Beach as a tourist attraction. Set afloat in the harbor to preserve it’s history and provide a place for events. Twenty years ago, I visited as part of an event. This week I got to go back and look at the boat with a fresh pair of eyes. In a time when I appreciate the craftsmanship and brilliance of engineers who started to develop magnificent machines over a century ago.
The Queen Mary is a beautiful example of that ingenuity, and it has been so well preserved by the curators of this great ship. The wood work is immaculate, the engine room is polished and clean, the room samples are done in their final take of 1960’s blah. My favorite is the wood, the salons are done in beautiful teak, strolling the promenade deck gives you a sense of what it would be like to travel the Atlantic in past times.
One of the cool things they have done is to record people’s stories of their voyage on the Queen Mary. So many talked about the food and the music, it doesn’t take much to transport yourself back to that time.
There are so many things to do in Southern California, a visit to the Queen Mary should make that list, if only to re-discover your sense of history