August 28, 1957
The Grace Line’s cruise ship S.S. Santa Rosa, which would become the last passenger liner built at a U.S. shipyard to remain in active service, was launched at Newport News, Virginia. This vessel was among those designed by the naval architecture firm Gibbs & Cox and built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company to replace aging ocean liners that had been around and in use since 1932.
Initially serving the Grace Line route between New York and Latin America, Santa Rosa was noted for a number of then-innovative features – including full air-conditioned comfort for her passengers; interiors paneled with aluminum as a fireproofing measure; and spacious cabins that faced outside and had private baths. Santa Rosa, as with other passenger ships of that era, handled cargo and was especially outfitted with automatic conveyors to expedite that process. The ship operated as S.S. Santa Rosa until 1992 and, after a few name changes, ultimately became known as S.S. The Emerald. The ship was retired from active service in 2009.
For more information on S.S. Santa Rosa, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_The_Emerald.