This Philadelphia Landmark Might Soon Disappear

Now that quarantine is over and Pennsylvania is once again allowing out of state visitors, I did not want to miss a chance to drive down to the Philadelphia Navy Yard to see one of its landmarks that could soon disappear – the former aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CV/CVA-67, not the current nuclear carrier John F. Kennedy, CVN-79).

One of Its Kind

Commissioned in 1968, the John F. Kennedy served the U.S. Navy until 2007, when she joined other mothballed vessels in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard. The ship is one of its kind, the only ship in its class and the final conventional aircraft carrier to be built. As such, it is the final aircraft carrier that could be donated to a museum. Nuclear carriers are not eligible and require costly dismantling. While the Navy previously offered the John F. Kennedy for donation and several organizations were interested in obtaining it, the administration revoked the ship’s donation status in 2017. Perhaps the new 2021 administration will reinstate the donation option, but, as of now, the ship could face dismantling at any time.

Visiting the Philadelphia Navy Yard

The towering John F. Kennedy is easily the most recognizable Navy Yard landmark, visible from I-95 and New Jersey across the river. The Navy Yard was previously a naval facility that is now mostly open to the public. Pass through the main gate on Broad Street and keep going until you reach the river. There is ample parking throughout the Navy Yard, including EV parking. Some areas, including the pier the JFK is docked at, are restricted and inaccessible. But you can walk all the way up to the pier and see the ship up close. While at the Navy Yard, check out other historic buildings, dry docks, other mothballed ships, and other neat details, like the nostalgic traffic lights.