Guest Editorial By Jeremy Heath


By Jeremy Heath        GetAttachment.aspx-5

During World War II, Evansville went hard to work to serve the cause of Freedom. With a workforce of nearly 20,000 people, Evansville became the largest inland producer of Tank Landing Ships, or LST’s. Currently, Evansville is privileged to be the home to the very last operational ship that ‘won the war’: the LST-325.

I say ‘currently’ because that might not always be the case. From time to time, other cities have attempted to lure our pride from our city.  So far, the board of the LST has always loyally turned down these other offers. However, if our city leadership continues to ignore the importance of having the last operational LST, of having a living piece of our history, we cannot expect the offers to always be refused.

Later this month, British film makers will be arriving in our city to film the LST for their documentary on ‘Operation Torch’. This will undoubtedly spur another round of interest by other cities and result in more attempts to claim our ship as their own.

I applaud the resolution introduced by council woman Brinkerhoff-Riley and passed by Evansville Council in January, but this is just not enough.

To begin with, many feel that the current location is completely unacceptable. The city of Evansville needs to find a more suitable port of harbor for our ship so that we may put our history on display with pride.

We have the great potential to bring in even more money and tourism if we move the LST to an area in which we can modify specifically to boast of our history. The Mead Johnson terminal at the port of Evansville is just one such place.

There, we would find a suitable area to establish the WWII museum, which would accent the contributions of Evansville to the war effort. Plenty of space for retailers exists that would provide for visitors, and there is an ample amount of parking areas. We could even have the old crane that was the last one to load LSTs to sit proudly by the very last LST.

As added bonus, the Greenway could be expanded even further westward, and the added tourism could do more to revitalize the downtown area than some of the current plans that have been considered.

Visiting veterans and their families will be able find more desirable surroundings, more services, and actually be encouraged to spend more time (and money) in our city.

Sadly, some feel that it is more important to allow the LST to sit in stagnant waters, finding funding for less important projects than to actually act. I encourage the city to fight as fiercely to protect our ship, as the men who fought fiercely aboard these ships did to protect our nation, and to find the funding needed to make the necessary moves.  After all, what is more important than preserving the little bit our history that we have left?



  1. I agree wholeheartedly.. something that is a historical interest in an area that has nothing to attract anything but far as return on investment I bet this is better than the hotel or the gotta love both a stadium and hotel that don’t have a line item for maintenance cap ex..

  2. Thank you for making your case Mr. Heath. I too agree with you. The LST offers many possibilities. When friends of ours visited from Indy the husband was very interested in the LST as his father had served on one in WWII. It was an emotional experience for him and the highlight of his trip. They also remarked on the warmth and friendliness of the people.

  3. THANK YOU Jeremy for your leadership on the LST. A few weeks ago I made a rough layout of what the LST at the terminal would look like. I’ll post it when I get home to my laptop tonight.

    I saw where the LST is looking for volunteers. I’m thinking about seeing what I can do for them.

    The LST at the terminal expands our Greenway, expands our downtown, and puts this ship under a historical canopy just down the road from one of the countries largest VFWs.

    Instead of $15 mil for ball fields and $8 mil for a phantom park, we need to make this project a reality instead. It’s time Parke, Winnecke, and the rest of the city leaders come out in support of this.

  4. Jeremy you may want to speak to Bob Warren at the Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau. His job is promoting tourism and the LST is one thing he should stand up for. There are many people in or nearing retirement age whose parents served in WWII. They and their grandkids are great tourism market for the LST.

  5. Ok, so here’s what a basic diagram of what the LST at the Mead Johnson Terminal would look like…

    Why should greenway supporters support it? Acquiring the terminal would allow for expansion of the greenway westward from the Joan Marchand Bridge. It would also be the beginning of a route that could run all the way out to Burdette via Broadway/Dixie Flyer/Old Henderson Road which could also be used to eventually connect to Downtown Henderson.

    Why should WWII historians support it? Contrary to popular belief, this complex would compliment not compete with the proposed one at the old airport (haven’t we been through enough faux competition battles already?). A shuttle between the two facilities is a much better package than a one stop museum.

    Why should the LST support it? The LST is currently losing visitors because it lacks a museum that can be altered to bring in repeat customers. It also lacks a surrounding environment that compliments it. Cheap cigs, a water & sewage plant, and a isolated corner basically in Kentucky is no place for a ship like the LST.

    Why should Veterans support it? It would be one road, Wabash Avenue of Flags, from VFW Post 1114- one of the largest posts in the world.

    Why should the city support it? Unlike a phantom park and ball fields in the boon docks, this plan would be much closer to downtown hotels including the existing Tropicana Hotel and proposed convention hotel. Furthermore, reallocating funds from the ball fields and phantom park would allow us to build a cheaper but light years better ball fields plan as well as a plan to properly reuse the phantom park lot for a UE sports complex.

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