The SS Jeremiah O’Brien Memorial Cruise, 2022

Two Mays ago, May 23rd 2020, a horrific fire destroyed one fourth of Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf, and nearly destroyed the historic World War Two Liberty Ship, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, docked at Pier 45. Only the quality action of firefighters saved the ship from destruction. Last Saturday, the Jeremiah O’Brien was able to take visitors on her traditional May Memorial Cruise for the first time since May of 2019.(Thumbnail images)

A dramatic aerial photo from WTOP News shows a fireboat, not only trying to put out the fire on Pier 45, but also, desperately trying to save the Jeremiah O’Brien. The aft section of the Liberty Ship is at the top of the photo.

Firefighters at the intersection of Jefferson and Taylor Street, stretch hoses through Fisherman’s Wharf to try to reach Pier 45: Due to the Covid 19 shelter-in-place order issued two months earlier, Fisherman’s Wharf was nearly empty when the fire broke out. The crowds were back at the Wharf for the Memorial Day Weekend of 2022. By coincidence, I got a fire truck in my current picture looking north on Taylor Street past the Fisherman’s Wharf sign.(WTOP News)


Firefighter run hoses past the Musee Mecanique arcade attraction, closed at the time of the fire. (WTOP News)

A hose from the crane of a fire truck pours water on the destroyed Shed C section of Pier 45. Rigging from Jeremiah O’Brien can be seen on the right in the earlier picture. The ruins of Shed C in the background have been completely removed now. (WTOP News)

An ABC TV drone photo shows Pier 45 before and after the fire.

With the Jeremiah O’Brien getting up steam for her 2022 Memorial Cruise, we logged in at 9:A.M.

Crew member, Kevin, explained to a few guests how the ship operates.

“It’s like a Tesla self driving car. You push this button here, and it cruises around the Bay by itself.”

They weren’t buying it.

Some of the ladies were dressed in period costume. You folks aren’t buying that either.

Looking back to the destroyed Shed C section of Pier 45 as we pulled away and headed out to the “high seas”: That’s not as inaccurate as it sounds: we didn’t quite make it into international waters, but we got out into the Pacific Ocean.

As we got underway, the guests relaxed to enjoy the cruise.

We circled around Alcatraz, seen a 1960 picture, from a near angle as the current picture, and headed out to the Golden Gate. Although not as many as the earlier days, there were still quite a number of prisoners on the “Rock” when the 1960 picture was taken’ (

A view of the north Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge as we passed under from near where the 1950s picture was taken: (

When we sailed out into the Pacific Ocean, flowers and wreaths were tossed over the port side of the ship for veterans and crew members of the Jeremiah O’Brien lost since the last Memorial Cruise, and Taps were played.

After the ceremony, we headed back for a cruise under the Bay Bridge, seen in 1961 in the old photo. (

The tugboats hooked up with us again as we neared Pier 45, and pushed us back into port. With a little editing, my picture lines up pretty good with the old 1958 picture looking toward Pier 41. The sailing ship, the Balclutha, now tied up at the Hyde Street Pier, is in the left in the vintage picture.

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