State ID: 18CH567
Vessel Type: Merchant vessel (steamship)
Location: 38°28'28.63"N, 77°16'15.06"W, (38.47462, -77.27085) (Duke University, 2016)
Length: 281 feet 10 inches
Breadth: 45 feet 2 inches
Deadweight Tonnage: 3,500
Builder: L.H. Shattuck, Newington, New Hampshire
Owner: Titled to the State of Maryland under the Abandoned Shipwreck Act
Flora & Fauna: None
Significance: United States Shipping Board vessel built for World War I effort
The vessel sits in an east by west orientation with its bow facing the shore. The hull has been in its same general location since at least 1929, but has shifted position a few times, migrating westward from its present position between 1943 and 1952. Yawah is entirely submerged except at low tide.
Yawah (originally named Contoocook) was built in 1919, at the Shattuck shipyard, Newington, New Hampshire, for the United States Shipping Board. Yawah is a Ferris-type built wooden cargo vessel and was the sixth ship launched at the Shattuck shipyard. In August 1917, L. H. Shattuck Inc. received a contract to build 15 Ferris-type wooden steamship hulls for the war effort. The hulls for these vessels would be built at the Shattuck shipyards and the engines would later be installed at a different yard in Portland, Maine.
One individual hull took about six months to complete and workers were needed for this massive construction effort. At its height, the Shattuck shipyard employed close to 8,000 workers during World War I. Area businesses had to close because all the laborers went to work at the Shattuck shipyards, with workers coming from all types of professions. A former Shattuck employee, Elmer I. Brooks was interviewed in 1970 about his time working as a ship fastener at the shipyard. Brooks, who mainly worked night shifts, detailed the frantic pace and the imminent danger the shipyard workers were in at all times. "I was up on the top of the boat one night, I see a broad ace a guy let go. He was hewin' a timber. Slipped out of his hands and went right down on almost twenty guys. Never touched em', but awful close."
Yawah was not completed by the time the war ended, yet construction followed through to fulfill the contract. After a period of time, Yawah, like many of the wooden hulled cargo carriers built for the war effort, was no longer needed for service. Eventually, Western Marine and Salvage Company purchased the vessel at auction and the vessel was sent for scrapping. Yawah was moved to the Potomac River, Maryland and has been located in Mallows Bay since 1929.