The USCGC Acacia (WLB 406)
was second to the last of a fleet of 39 similar 180-foot seagoing buoy tenders
completed during World War II
. The Acacia
was named after the United States Lighthouse Service
, the only Lighthouse Service vessel sunk during World War II. The Acacia
is a multi-purpose vessel, nominally a buoy
tender, but with equipment and capabilities for ice breaking
, search and rescue
, fire fighting
, and other tasks as well.
The Acacia was homeported in Port Huron, Michigan, Grand Haven, MI and Charlevoix, MI. The ship's primary duty was maintaining more than 210 buoys, lighthouses, and other navigational aids. Its area of operation ranged from as far south as Calumet Harbor, south Chicago, to as far north as Little Bay DeNoc, including Green Bay, Wisconsin; Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; and Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula.
Among its various other duties were search and rescue of lost or disabled vessels and icebreaking assistance during the cold winter months. During the ice season, Acacia was one of several Coast Guard ice breakers engaged in Operation Coal Shovel, which keeps the channels between Toledo, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan open for the coal ships supplying power plants and industries in Detroit.
The ship also worked with NOAA in their efforts to acquire accurate weather information and with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as they stock Lake Michigan with hundred of thousands of yearling trout.
The Acacia was decommissioned June 7, 2006 after 62 years of service. Acacia was the second to last of the vessels to serve. Although another ship will not be assigned to Acacia's current home port, its duties will be picked up the new USCGC Mackinaw which is equipped to handle buoy tending as well as ice breaking.
In 2006, the American Academy of Industry
, an Illinois nonprofit group formed a decade ago with the intention of acquiring a ship, will acquire the ship and turn it into a maritime museum
in Chicago. Locations considered include Navy Pier
, but also moorings along the Chicago River
. The vessel, which was delivered in full working order with only its machine guns
removed, is temporarily moored at Burns Harbor
. The Coast Guard had considered a sale to an unnamed African
country, but when that fell through, found the Chicago group's request filed away. The donation was arranged through a transfer to the State of Illinois
, which holds title.
Home of the American Academy of Industry & USCGC Acacia (WLB-406)
Acacia's New Home
On November 10th, 2007, the Acacia
sailed from Burn harbor, IN to her new home in Chicago, Illinois
in the North Slip of historic US Steel Southworks, located at the Foot of South East 86th Avenue and Lake Michigan, Cook County, IL.