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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Breck Chapman, 02/2004
U.S.C.G. TANEY (WHEC-37)
Inventory No.: B-4200
Date Listed: 6/7/1988
Location: Pier 5, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Structure
Period/Date of Construction: 1935-1936
NHL Date: 6/7/1988
Description: U.S.C.G.C. TANEY (WHEC-37) is a High Endurance Cutter of the Treasury (or Secretary, or Bibb, or 327-Foot ) Class, berthed at the Baltimore Maritime Museum in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. One of four sister ships built simultaneously in one drydock at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1935-36, TANEY was commissioned on October 24, 1936, as ROGER B. TANEY (WPG-37) of the seven-ship class which were named for Secretaries of the Treasury. Her sister ships were GEORGE M. BIBB, GEORGE W. CAMPBELL, WILLIAM J. DUANE, ALEXANDER HAMILTON, SAMUEL D. INGHAM, and JOHN C. SPENCER. INGHAM, which was still in active service as of December 1987, is the only surviving member of the class. The Treasury Class, costing $2,468.460 each, comprised the largest and most heavily armed Coast Guard warships until the delivery of their successors, the twelve-ship, 378' Hamilton Class, beginning in 1967. TANEY's length is 327', her beam is 41'-2", and her draft is 15'. The armament of the Treasury Class varied during World War II. All except TANEY were rearmed with 2 or 3 5"/38 cal. guns in open mounts, and various combinations of 40 and 20mm antiaircraft guns, plus depth charges. During her service in the European Theater, TANEY was outfitted with a unique experimental main armament of 4 5"/38 guns in single turrets, giving her a distinct destroyer-like appearance (except for torpedo tubes), an arrangement which proved unsuccessful. Possessing a remarkable degree of integrity, especially with regard to interior configuration and original propulsion machinery, TANEY today very closely resembles the typical large Coast Guard cutter of the late 1930s-early 1940s, the main exception being her armament: a single 5" bow turret in place of the array of guns in open mounts. Significance: U.S.C.G.C. TANEY (WHEC-37) is of national historical significance as the last surviving warship which was present (and fought) at the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 7, 1941; and as an outstanding example retaining a remarkable degree of integrity of the U.S. Coast Guard's premier class of mid-20th century cutters, for fifty years performing virtually all of the ocean-going duties of that proud member of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Treasury Class cutters were very large patrol gunboats. Also called "Cruising Cutters," this class represented the ultimate development of the pre-World War II patrol gunboat: a large, powerful warship designed to provide maritime law enforcement, search and rescue services, and communication and weather services on the high seas. Bigger than contemporary U.S. Navy destroyers, the Treasury Class cutters also had a substantial wartime naval role in the conflicts in the mid 20th century. They served variously as convoy escorts, amphibious force flagships, shore bombardment vessels, and maritime patrol ships in World War II, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Crisis, and the Vietnam War. Specialized law enforcement duties included fisheries patrol, interception of refugees, and interdiction of illegal drugs. Another specialized task was officer training. TANEY was an exemplary member of her class, serving in virtually all of these roles from 1936 to 1986. Although she has no direct association with Maryland or Baltimore, her indirect association lies in the name, Roger B. Taney, that of an eminent native of Maryland and resident of Baltimore. Roger Brooke Taney (1777-1864) served (1831-64) as Attorney General, Acting Secretary of War, Secretary of the Treasury, and Chief Justice of the United States. Born in Calvert County, he moved to Frederick in 1801, and to Baltimore in 1823, where he was a prominent member of the bar.

 

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