For more than an hour city workers and an Absolute Crane employee, worked to rig up the hoisting mechanism needed to lift a 13-ton anchor salvaged from a U.S. Naval ship. Platte City mayor Frank Offutt looked on like a proud father as the historical relic safely hit the ground in Settler’s Park at about 2 p.m.
The anchor, which stands 13-feet tall by 12-feet wide, has a flat base and a pivot point in the middle that created some unique challenges for the seemingly simple task of moving it from a flat-bed trailer to the ground.
“It would truly be (one of the most unique jobs),” said Chad Welch, the Absolute Crane operator who worked the job. “It’s kind of neat to be in the Platte City area and be able to install something that generations from now will enjoy.”
The anchor arrived in Platte City on Thursday, March 19 and enjoyed an overnight stay on the grounds of Kerwin Transport.
At about noon the following day, a police escort led the semi and trailer down Main Street to the proposed location of a future monument dedicated to the anchor, which comes from a Cimarron Class fleet oiler named the USS Platte (AO-186). After the finishing up the rigging, Welch needed little time to actually place the object on the grass in the small park.
“When you’re hoisting something like this, you want to make sure the weights are as accurate as possible,” he said. “And because there’s some historical significance to something like this, you want to make sure that when you pick it, you do it properly so that you don’t damage the artifact and you folks have a nice display for years to come.”
The USS Platte — like all fleet oilers, named after a river — was decommissioned in 1999 after 16 years in service.
Offutt heard about the ship and its named to Platte City and sought out a relic that could help celebrate the 175th anniversary of the founding. The salvage master at Southern Recycling donated the anchor, but the Platte City Board of Aldermen approved a $3,800 expenditure for hauling ($3,000) and the crane operation (minimum fee of $800).
The anchor will remain on the ground until this summer when a celebration will be held on July 4 to commemorate Platte City’s founding. Eventually, the city will pursue a permanent concrete setting to stand the anchor up along with a memorial plaque.
The flat bottom of the anchor should aid in the process of displaying the anchor, and the extra chain on the top will be used to help stabilize it, likely on a concrete base.
The cost of the plaque, base and re-setting will be determined later.