Ship Model, U.S. Lighthouse Service Tender, Greenbrier

Built in 1924 in Charleston, West Virginia, the Greenbrier was meant to replace the Goldenrod (built in 1888) as a lighthouse tender on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers. Although the plans for the Greenbrier were originally authorized in 1917, the ship’s contract was delayed twice. Finally, in September 1922 the keel for the 164-foot Greenbrier keel was laid.
As part of the Lighthouse Service, tenders performed a variety of tasks. Their main work was to attend to the needs of American lighthouses and navigational buoys. Sometimes this entailed the provision of supplies, fuel, mail and transportation to remote coastal lighthouses; other times it meant towing a lightship (or floating lighthouse) into a bay or harbor.
Lighthouse tenders were designed to work in a specific service region. Because the Greenbrier was built to aid lighthouses along the inland rivers, its design was similar to shallow-draft Mississippi River steamboats. The Greenbrier had two main steam engines, three coal-fired boilers and a stern paddle wheel. Like all vessels in the service, it flew the triangular Lighthouse Service flag, and had a polished brass, miniature lighthouse affixed to its bow, for ease of identification.
The Greenbrier serviced the Ohio, Kanawha and upper Mississippi Rivers until September 1947. After its sale in April 1948, the Greenbrier’s name was changed to Mississippi; it worked as a private river boat until 1975.
This model was built by Arthur G. Henning, Inc.
Object Name
ship model
model, ship
Date made
overall: 14 in x 46 in x 9 in; 35.56 cm x 116.84 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
On the Water exhibit
The Emergence of Modern America
The Great Depression and World War II
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
On the Water exhibit
On the Water
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Publication title
On the Water online exhibition
Publication URL

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