On October 6, 2007, The Sun Ship Historical Society and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission dedicated a state historic marker honoring the over 100,000 employees of Sun Ship and the Pew family, who were an intergral part of the success of Sun Ship during it's 66 year history. The marker was acquired by the Sun Ship Historical Society.
The marker site, through the courtesy of Harrah's Chester Race Track and Casino, is at the intersection of PA Route 291 (Industrial Highway) and Harrah's Blvd in Chester, PA.
Over 100 past employees and invited guests attended the dedication ceremony and the reception, which was held at the Delaware County Historical Society's Library and Musuem in Chester, PA.
The 'Yard', as it was know locally, was incorporated on May 16, 1916 and was officially sold by it's parent company, Sun Oil, on February 8, 1982. .
and Dry Dock Company
During WWII, Sun was the largest single shipyard in the world, with over 35,000 employees. It introduced the all-welded ship, which significantly increased ship production and the T-2 oil tanker, which Sun built over 250 WWII tankers, 40% of those built in the world and repaired over 1,500 war-damaged ships. Established by the Pew family, it was located at this site from 1916 to 1982.
Sun Ship Historic Marker
Marker Dedication Ceremony
The booming sound of a ship whistle was heard once again along the shores of the Delaware River Saturday as 100 former employees of Sun Ship and guests dedicated a historical marker on Route 291 in the company's memory. "This is something they heard every day", David Kavanagh, president and founder of the Sun Ship Historical Society, said. "The sound of the ship whistle was how tens of thousands of shipbuilders over decades started their day." Attending the dedication were; State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland of Chester, Chester City Councilman Monir Ahmed, who shared his experiences as a 13 year Sun Ship employee, Chester Mayor W. Butler and past Sun Ship Vice-President Charles Zeien. Janet Klein of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission talked about the company's past, especially its significance in introducing the all-welded ship, as opposed to a riveted one. Derek Pew, great-grandson of company president John G. Pew Sr.(1919 to 1950), attended the ceremony with his family and talked about the unique qualities of his great-grandfather. Wearing white gloves. The dedication was performed by both Miss Alexandra Pew and Miss Katherine Pew stating: "This historic marker serves to memorialize the over 100,000 men and women who worked at Sun Ship and the over 600 ships they built. Therefore, we dedicate this monument to the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company serving the Delaware Valley, the United States and the World from 1916 to 1982."
Miss Alexandra and Miss Katherine Pew then christened the historical marker with a bottle of champagne in a similar manner that ships have been christened for centuries.
This Delaware County Daily Times photo shows Miss Alexandra Pew looking up at the marker while holding the broken bottle of champagne with her sister Miss Katherine Pew. L to R: David Kavanagh, Katherine Pew, Alexandra Pew, John Costello VP of the Sun Ship Historical Society, Mrs. Derek Pew and Derek Pew.
Just as in days-gone-by where sponsors and maids-of-honor were given a bouquet of roses following a christening, Mrs. Derek Pew, Miss Alexandra Pew and Miss Katherine Pew hold their bouquet of roses.
Past employees and guests await the starting of the dedication ceremony. In the front row are the Pew family and Chester Mayor W. Butler.
The reception following the dedication ceremony was held at the Delaware County Historical Society's Library and Museum in Chester,where a Sun Ship exhibit was on display, including a half-hull model of Hull 679 donated to the Sun Ship Historical Society by the Sun Oil Company.
During the reception, the Delaware County Historical Society and Walter and Jayne Garrison gave Derek Pew and his Aunt, Mrs.Tracey Pew reproductions of a portrait of John G. Pew Sr. of which the original is in the Delaware County Historical Society's archieves.
L to R: John Costello, Derek Pew, Tracey Pew, Dave Kavanagh and Jayne Garrison.