by KYW’s John McDevitt
A Philadelphia philanthropist is making a multimillion-dollar effort to save a South Philadelphia landmark from the scrap heap.
Billionaire Gerry Lenfest is donating $5.8 million — three million to buy the once-proud cruise ship SS United States from Norwegian Cruise Lines and the rest to outfit the ship for its next use.
Dan McSweeney is executive director of the SS United States Conservancy, formed six years ago to save the world’s fasted ocean liner from being scuttled:
“We think it a great use of his generosity because we see this as a practical effort and also a symbolic gesture. This is a patriotic thing we are doing here, and it’s very fitting on the July 4th weekend that we are able to announce this.”
An anniversary party celebrating 58 years since America’s flagship made its maiden voyage will be held tonight in South Philadelphia.
Built in 1952, the SS United States remained in continuous transatlantic passenger service until 1969 and still holds the transatlantic speed record.