ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Dredge William A. Thompson will begin its last voyage from Fountain City, Wis., on Tuesday, June 12, around 11 a.m.
The media is invited to join the Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, at its service base in Fountain City June 12 at 10:30 to 11 a.m. for the departure of the Thompson, which we anticipate will happen between 11 a.m. and noon. The Thompson will make its way to Prairie Du Chien, Wis., where a nonprofit group from this city, Community Development Alternatives, Inc., will accept the Thompson from the Corps, June 13 around 6 p.m.
The St. Paul District used the Dredge William A. Thompson to maintain 850 miles of the Upper Mississippi River, 335 miles of the Illinois River and other inland rivers, from May 1937 until May 2005, well after its original projected life of 50 years. While in use, it was the largest of its type, and it was meticulously maintained throughout its working life.
The dredge was named after William A. Thompson, a Corps’ employee from 1878 through 1925. In 1896, he was appointed to the position of assistant engineer, responsible for improvements on the Mississippi River between Winona, Minn., and the mouth of the Wisconsin River at Prairie du Chien, Wis. He held this post until his death.
The Dravo Corporation of Pittsburgh built the Dredge Thompson for the St. Paul District in 1936 for nearly $900,000, or $1.3 million with contract modifications. It was christened in Pittsburgh in March 1937 by William Thompson’s granddaughter, Louise, and first sent to New York, where its galley, mess and quarters were fitted. It was then returned to Pittsburgh, where crews completed its construction. In May 1937, it made a 1,700-mile trip down the Ohio and up the Mississippi rivers, arriving at its permanent station in Fountain City, Wis., on May 22, 1937. Through nearly seven decades of service, the Thompson’s original design was only slightly modified. In 2005, it was replaced by the Dredge Goetz.
Media queries should be directed to Shannon Bauer, 651-290-5108, 612-840-9453 or Shannon.L.Bauer@usace.army.mil.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, serves the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood risk reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. It contributes around $181 million to the five-state district economy. The 700 employees work at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.
Release no. 12-057