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A) A launch of an MCM, the fi fth of the 11 total that Peterson Builders, Inc. would build for the U.S. Navy. Photo courtesy of publication “PBI: Continuing Excellence 1983 – 1993.” B) A shock test conducted on the mine countermeasure prototype, MCM-1 the USS Avenger. Photo courtesy of the Door County Maritime Museum. C) An aerial view of the shipyard at Peterson Builders, Inc. in 1983. Photo courtesy of publication “PBI: Fifty Years of Shipbuilding Excellence 1933 – 1983, 2nd Edition.” D) A souvenir piece of oak used to construct the sixth MCM, the USS Devastator. E) A room in Ellsworth Peterson’s home is fi lled with many reminders of the legacy of his family’s business. Photo by Jen Zettel. F) The oak and fi r hull of the USS Guardian (MCM-5) helps it, and the rest of the Avenger Class, avoid mines detonated by magnetic infl uence.


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F


Washington D.C., and they had built a shipyard capable of building a ship out of anything,” said Door County Maritime Museum Executive Director Bob Desh. “Anything” included steel, plastic, alumi- num and wood, making PBI one of the most versatile shipyards in the world.


After its fi rst minesweeper contract


PBI became the shipyard of choice for minesweepers, constructing nine vessels from 1951 to 1958 and four more in 1967. T irteen countries purchased PBI minesweepers, increasing their reputa- tion as a high-quality shipbuilder.


doorcountyliving.com “T ey were the builders of the mine-


sweepers of the world,” Desh said. T e company’s impact lie not only


with their worldwide customers, how- ever, but also with the Door County community, in which Fred had grown up and raised his sons Ellsworth and Robert. T e company employed hun- dreds of people – peaking at 1,400 workers.


T ey continued to build impressive


ships, from research vessels to the Wash- ington Island ferry Robert Noble.


E


T en, in 1982, the shipyard started building a new fl eet of minesweep- ers, the mine countermeasure vessels (MCMs), also known as the Avenger Class. T is would be the last naval con- tract the company would take, and upon its completion, the end of the company’s shipbuilding history.


T e Reason for Minesweepers:


Mines Mines are what Desh called, “a poor


man’s navy.” T ey’re cheap, versatile and low maintenance. “Any country


Winter 2011/2012 Door County Living 47


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