"Sea Space" history?
January 31, 2009 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Can someone help me find more information on the "ship" in this photo taken somewhere in the San Francisco East Bay area in 1977?

It was under construction on an empty lot (not near any water). My uncle took me to see it, but didn't let us get too close as apparently the person building it was a little unhinged. As I recall, it had no bottom, was going to be kept up with air pressure. It has the name "Sea Space" on the side. I don't think it is related to this "Sea Space" although the there are some interesting commonalities. Thanks!
posted by cosmac to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There aren't many places in the East Bay where you can look over water and see hills in the background. I'm guessing this is in Alameda looking towards Emeryville or Oakland, or maybe Point Richmond or near the Berkeley Marina looking east.
posted by zippy at 12:33 PM on January 31, 2009

Alameda sounds right. My uncle was a navy pilot based there.
posted by cosmac at 1:04 PM on January 31, 2009

I found a two-page article on the boat in The (Hayward, California) Daily Review of May 8, 1977. Sorry for the lousy quality: page 1 page 2
posted by Knappster at 1:23 PM on January 31, 2009

What a story! The ship is the Sea Space Station, and the designer is Henri du Pont-Suderman, an ex-Nazi ship builder. Fascinating. Google News only turns up two stories in its archive, and there's nothing on the web about him at all.

I would love to find out more about this guy and the other ships he built: "a round boat, a submarine sailing vessel, and a hinged boat that converts the motion of the two vessels into hydraulic propulsion."
posted by zippy at 1:40 PM on January 31, 2009

How cool!

I would recommend contacting the Maritime Museum or Bobby Winston at Bay Crossings and finding out if they know any more about it. Both are good sources for this sort of thing.
posted by quarterframer at 1:48 PM on January 31, 2009

My dad took me to see this boat around the same time. I was 17 on a visit to San Francisco from Indiana. This is one of my best memories of how different the Bay Area was from the little town in Indiana that I grew up in.

The owner was building it himself. It was definitely on Alameda. My dad is the kind of guy who would do exactly this kind of thing himself. We walked right up to the boat, said hi to guy working on it.

I remember the owner letting us crawl over the boat. In the back was a enclosed seat that you would be able to sit in hanging out over the ocean. Everything inside had a crafted, fantastical feel to it. I remember thinking that it would never make it into the water, but the owner was sure he'd get it done in "just a few more years."

I drive to Alameda regularly and often wonder what happened to the boat. I think there's a shopping center now where the boat was.

Knappster: Great article. I think I remember going to see the boat because my dad had read that article. It seemed really familiar to me.
posted by rsclark at 1:50 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

It appears that Suderman died in 2005.
posted by Knappster at 2:19 PM on January 31, 2009

I could not open the article large enough to read. Did he get this thing in the water?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:10 PM on January 31, 2009

"SUDERMAN, HENRY -- Graveside services for Henry Suderman, 82, of Reedley will be at 10 a.m. today at Reedley Cemetery. Memorial services will be at 10:30 a.m. today at Palm Village Chapel. Mr. Suderman, a retired mail carrier, died Saturday. Arrangements are by Cairns Funeral Home."

Fresno Bee (California)
December 28, 2005 Wednesday
posted by jwells at 6:06 PM on January 31, 2009

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