Thursday, September 22, 2016

Scenes from the Jahncke Shipyard in Madisonville

Here's a link to a video about the Jahncke Shipyard in Madisonville. CLICK HERE to view the video put together by Rusty Burns, which features a number of old photographs and information about the large shipbuilding operation. 

The slide show presentation was prepared for the Bicentennial Celebration of Madisonville Louisiana, depicting activity surrounding the construction of the great "Jahncke Shipyard" and the Madisonville war effort. Images courtesy of the Walter F. Jahncke Collection and Steven Grant Jahncke. The show was compiled by Rusty Burns for the enjoyment of the public and to perpetuate the history of Madisonville Louisiana and the Tchefuncte River.

The picture below was taken of the Jahncke Shipyards in 1917. 
Click on the video play triangle to see the entire picture. 


According to Tim Colton over on the website,  the following ships were among those built at the Jahncke Shipyard: 

Bahlabac     U. S. S. B.     Cargo Ship Hull     1918     Burnt in Port of Spain 1920
Bayou Teche      U. S. S. B.     Cargo Ship Hull    1918     Scrapped 1923
Abbeville      U. S. S. B.     Cargo Ship Hull     1919     Scrapped 1923
Pontchartrain     U. S. S. B.     Cargo Ship Hull     1919     Scrapped 1923 
Bonne Fortune  1937     To USN 1941 as YP 156, to MARAD

A Newspaper Account of A Ship Launching

"Pontchartrain" Launched at Jahncke Shipyards in Madisonville
APRIL 12,1919
Large Crowd On Hand To Witness Impressing Event.  
Miss Violet Heughan As Sponsor.

On Sunday, April 6th, the Jahncke Shipbuilding Co., Inc., launched the S. S. Pontchartrain, a 3500-ton vessel of the Ferris type. The Pontchartrain was the fourth ship of her type to he launched at the Madisonville yard.

The yard gates were thrown open to the puhlic at 11 a. m. About 11:30 a. m. the great crowd began to gather. Pedestrians, automobiles, carriages and vehicles of every description were to be seen wending their way towards the ship­yard, and the eager throng of visitors which came from all sections of St. Tammany parish and surrounding parishes, new Orleans included, were admitted to the yard, and witnessed a sight which was an event that will undoubtedly be recorded as one of the most important in the history of the parish of St. Tammany.

The Steamer Reverie arrived at 12 o'clock with her capacity of visitors from New Orleans. A band on board furnished delightful music. When she came up the river, with American flags flying fore and aft, and her bands playing (patriotic airs, it was a sight long to be remembered.

So great was the demand of visitors from New Orleans that the tug Fox was called upon to tow the schooner Proteus over with a boat load of people. The Proteus also had a brass band aboard which played lively airs. The schooner arrived it 12:15, and the ceremonies began.

Mr. E. T. Malloy, General Superintendent, was standing on the ways at the bow of the ship.   He made an excellent speech preparatory to the  presentation  of a magnificent chest of silver to Commodore Ernest Lee Jahncke.   Mr. Malloy spoke for the working force of the Jahncke Shipbuilding Company, when he said, 'The entire working force of the Jahncke Shipbuilding Company look upon Commodore Jahncke not only as an employer but a personal friend as well."  

When Mr. Malloy finished speaking he asked the crowd to give three cheers for their Commodore, and the cheers were loud and long.
In years to come the men will undoubtedly look back to their days
in the shipyard as the happiest ones of their lives, made so by the treatment received by them from Commodore Ernest Lee Jahncke, which was fair and square dealing throughout.
The presentation of the chest of silver was kept a secret, and Commodore Jahncke was so surprised and overwhelmed with a feeling of appreciation he was at a loss as to what words he should use in order to properly convey his feelings. To say the Commodore appreciated the gift would be to say the least.

The Madisonville yard is an institution the entire country, especially the South, can well feel proud of, for it has been pronounced to be one of the finest yards of its kind in the United States.

The officials of the yard have exercised great care in their selection of workers, and in the placing of various chiefs of the many departments therein.

The slogan of the Jahncke Yard Is a sentiment which properly expresses the spirit in which the work is carried on:"We build ships here. At a profit if we can; at a loss if we must—but always good ships."
And they were always good ships.

Miss Violet Heughan, Sponsor.

In selecting Miss Violet Heughan, the winsome daughter of Mr. E. V. Heughan, the genial yard superintendent of the Jahncke Yard, a more appropriate sponsor could not be found. Miss Heughan, of Madison­ville, was born near the shores of Lake Pontchartrain and on the banks of the beautiful Tchefuncta, and she was beyond doubt one of the sweetest of sponsors, and when she broke the bottle of champagne on the bow of the Pontchartrain and spoke the words, "I christen thee Pontchartrain," her sweet smile radiated her beautiful face, then the great ship slid gracefully from her resting place to the bosom of the Tchefuncta.

Those standing at the 'bow of the ship with Miss Heughan were Com­modore Ernest Lee Jahncke, Mr. and Mrs. E. T. Malloy, Mr. and Mrs. E. V. Heughan and Miss Kathleen Aby.

Miss Heughan's dress was a champagne colored combination of georg-; ette crepe and taffeta, handsomely embroidered in dark shades of the same color.  Her bouquet was of exquisite American Beauty buds,, tied with Uncle Sam's colors.

Officials and Workers Proud of Their Magnificent Efforts.

The officials of the Jahncke Shipbuilding Company, Inc., and the ship workers, can feel proud of the magnificent efforts they contributed to their Country's cause when the Huns,  by their atrocities, forced upon our peaceful land the necessity of sounding the bugle call "To Arms."

Let  us again  impress   that the quality of workmanship furnished by the Jahncke Shipbuilding Company  was of the highest grade. Every one of the New Orleans visitors profusely expressed their appreciation of Commodore Jahncke's furnishing them a day of enjoyment.

The music and expense of getting from New Orleans to Madisonville was furnished by Mr. Jahncke. A day of pleasure was followed by a dance at the pavilion.

If old man Grouch ever lived in Madisonville he took an off day on
April 6th, and chased the glooms away, particularly If he happened to
have his habitat in the person of an  attendant at the launching of the
good ship Pontchartiam, for that was the big day for St. Tammany, and all those attending the launching.

There was an enormous crowd of people on hand for the big event and there was no place for a grouch among them. They were light-hearted, free and gay, and everything about the launching was likewise. From the time when the first auto drove up until the last visitor left, it was interest, enjoyment and good fellowship, all combined.

And the girls—the beautiful girls! Ask them if they had a good time, and whether there ever was a better dancing floor than that at the pavilion.

No one who saw the hundreds of couples that swayed through the maze of the popular dances would dare to say the launching was not a success from the time the gates were open until the Reverie and Aunt Dianh left for New Orleans, and the only unhappy moment was when the music stopped. But that was short­-lived for eagerly did the older, as well as the younger folks ask the question, "When will the next ship be launched?"