Blog

A new ship for the Museum!

Dr. and Mrs. Robert Brakemeier donated this fantastic model of the SS Kronprinzessin Cecille to the Czech Heritage Museum recently. The Cecille, later named the USAT Mount Vernon, helped bring members of the famous Czech Legion home. Prior to 1924, Czech immigrants traveled in ships such as this one, and perhaps on the Cecille. Dr. Brakemeier, a retired physician who came to Temple in the 1970s, grew up in Albany, NY.

  Czech Legion officers aboard Mount Vernon headed for Norfolk, Virginia in 1920.  Image by Martin Horsky 

  Czech Legion officers aboard Mount Vernon headed for Norfolk, Virginia in 1920.  Image by Martin Horsky 

SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie was an ocean liner built in Stettin, Germany in 1906 for North German Lloyd that had the largest steam reciprocating machinery ever fitted to a ship. The last of four ships of the Kaiser class, she was also the last German ship to have been built with four funnels. She was engaged in transatlantic service between her homeport of Bremen and New York until the outbreak of World War I.

On 4 August 1914, at sea after departing New York, she turned around and put into Bar Harbor, Maine, where she later was interned by the neutral United States. After that country entered the war in April 1917, the ship was seized and turned over to the United States Navy, and renamed USS Mount Vernon (ID-4508). While serving as a troop transport, Mount Vernon was torpedoed in September 1918. Though damaged, she was able to make port for repairs and returned to service. In October 1919 Mount Vernon was turned over for operation by the Army Transport Service in its Pacific fleet based at Fort Mason in San Francisco. USAT Mount Vernon was sent to Vladivostok, Russia to transport elements of the Czechoslovak Legion to Trieste, Italy and German prisoners of war to Hamburg, Germany. On return from that voyage, lasting from March through July 1920, the ship was turned over to the United States Shipping Board and laid up at Solomons Island, Maryland until September 1940 when she was scrapped at Boston, Massachusetts.  (Source: Wikipedia)

USAT Mount Vernon, 25 May 1920, transiting Panama Canal bound from Vladivostok to Hamburg.