The Kentucky Ghost Ship and Ownership of Abandoned Watercraft

Author(s): Anne E. Wright; Emily Schwalbe

Year: 2018


Circle Line V, previously known as Celt, USS Phenakite, USS Sachem, and Sightseer, and colloquially known as the "Kentucky Ghost Ship", is a grounded vessel off the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky that has become a popular attraction with kayakers and hikers. In addition to its striking appearance, the site is popular due to its reported history. Designed as a private yacht, it subsequently served in both World Wars, as a research vessel for Thomas Edison, and even as the backdrop in a Madonna music video, before being run aground by its final owner in the late 1980’s. Since its grounding, Circle Line V has been subject to deterioration not only from natural conditions, but, as an unprotected tourist attraction, also reportedly from looters looking for scrap metal. This paper examines the Kentucky Ghost Ship as an example of recent watercraft abandonment, looking at questions of ownership, perceived stakeholders, and the idea of in-between space.

Cite this Record

The Kentucky Ghost Ship and Ownership of Abandoned Watercraft. Anne E. Wright, Emily Schwalbe. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441649)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 309