At 104-feet tall, the 1942 behemoth is dubbed a “whirley crane” for its ability to turn 360 degrees. This Bethlehem Steel Clyde Model 17 DE 90 crane was instrumental in Bethlehem Steel’s prolific World War II shipbuilding effort. The crane’s unique full rotation feature allowed it to help the Bethlehem Steel Fairfield shipyard hit record-breaking production numbers of Liberty and Victory ships during the war. With more than 44,000 workers and dozens of whirley cranes, the yard was building one vessel per month by mid-1943, and launching an average of one ship every thirty-five hours.
With the installation of LED lights at end of 2020, the crane has become a landmark for South Baltimore and a symbol of how industrial might helped win WWII.