The USS LCI(L)-1091 began its life as an infantry landing ship in use by the United States Navy in World War 2. It served as a mine sweeping vessel in the latter part of the conflict in the vicinity of Japan. During Operation Crossroads, the 1091 was used as a support ship during the testing of the atomic bomb at the Bikini Atoll. The 1091 continued its duty as a Navy vessel through the Korean War, where it was outfitted with an epidemiology laboratory, and was finally decommissioned in 1955. The 1091 was purchased and converted to a fishing vessel, seeing continuous use in Alaska's Yukon River where it was put to work as a cannery for salmon from 1961-1988. It was purchased by Dr. Ralph Davis in 1995, who repurposed the ship for albacore fishing out of Eureka, California. It remained active as a commercial fishing ship until 2003, where it ended its journey at the Englund Marine fueling dock found at the end of Commercial Street in Eureka, CA. It was donated to the Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum, and after a lot of work, was opened for tours and exhibition. Maintenance and restoration of the ship is handled by volunteers, many of whom are local veterans. For more information on the history of the LCI 1091as a military vessel: NavSource Naval History
USS LCI(L) 1091 tied up in Tokyo for inspection before dispatch to Korea with experimental epidemic control laboratory on board. 1953.
USS LCI(L) 1091 in Humboldt Bay. 2002.
The LCI 1091 is maintained by a group of dedicated and passionate individuals. In addition to being a unique historical artifact for Humboldt county as it is, the LCI 1091 is also an ongoing project for the volunteers that have undertaken the task of restoration and maintenance. As the last ship of its class in the world, these devoted volunteers want to make sure that future generations can see it for themselves and learn about its history from people that are both passionate and knowledgeable about the vessel's storied past. However, as a relatively small, non-profit entity, the Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air museum was lacking funds to do the kind of repairs and maintenance the ship needed. In December 2016, the LCI 1091 was moved on shore in an emergency relocation effort. For more information on the topic of derelict boats in Humboldt Bay: That Sinking Feeling - The Effort to keep Humboldt Bay's Derelict Boats from Going Under by Grant Scott-Goforth (North Coast Journal, March 2016)
Images Courtesy of project manager for the Humboldt Naval Sea-Air Museum, my grandfather, LeRoy Marsh Sr.
Growing concern about the risk of the LCI 1091 sinking or leaking contaminants into the bay prompted the city of Eureka as well as local businesses to join in the concerted effort of moving the ship onto land, where it will remain until a permanent home can be established. According to the project manager of the LCI 1091, LeRoy Marsh, who is also my grandfather, the current goal for the LCI 1091 is to move it one more time to a permanent location so that it can finally operate as a museum without any more worries about adverse effects on the environment. Once it is moved and fixed in place, the goal will shift to restoration, with plans to bring it as close as possible to the condition it was in when it served as a military vessel. For more information on the effort to temporarily relocate the LCI 1091: WWII Boat Removed From Bay by Will Houston (Times Standard, December 2016)
USS LCI(L) 1091 Shortly after being Commisioned. Estimated 1944.
Page developed by Wyatt Georgeson, Spring 2017 semester
The site is authored by Humboldt State University students in English-311 Environmental Writing. Instructors: Carly Marino, Special Collections Librarian and Dr. Janelle Adsit, Assistant Professor, English