USS Potomac in Oakland CA: A Historical and Educational Experience

Oakland, California, is a hub for history and culture. The city is home to a vast array of museums, galleries, and monuments that offer visitors and locals alike a glimpse into the past. One such point of interest is the USS Potomac, a presidential yacht that was once used by Franklin D. Roosevelt. This article aims to provide an overview of the USS Potomac in Oakland, California, outlining its history, significance, and education potential.

History of USS Potomac

The USS Potomac, also known as the "Floating White House," was built in 1934 and was a symbol of American naval power. The yacht was first used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used it as a presidential yacht from 1936 to 1945. During his presidency, Roosevelt used the yacht for both official and leisurely purposes, traveling up and down the east coast, hosting state dinners and other ceremonies.

After Roosevelt's death, the USS Potomac was used by the Coast Guard as a training vessel, a fireboat, and a search and rescue boat. It was eventually decommissioned in 1945 and sold at auction before falling into disrepair. In 1980, a group of dedicated volunteers launched the restoration of the ship, and it now serves as a museum and a National Historic Landmark.


The USS Potomac is not only a symbol of American naval power, but it is also a symbol of American history. It was during Roosevelt's presidency that the United States faced some of its most significant challenges, including the Great Depression and World War II. The USS Potomac served as a refuge for the president, where he could escape the pressures of his office and enjoy time with his family and friends.

In addition to its historical significance, the USS Potomac is also a prime example of naval architecture of the time. The yacht was designed by naval architects Gibbs & Cox, who also designed the USS Missouri, the battleship on which the Japanese signed their unconditional surrender in 1945.

Educational Potential

The USS Potomac serves as an excellent educational opportunity for students, teachers, and history buffs. The museum offers interactive exhibits, an extensive collection of artifacts, and guided tours that provide insight into the ship's history and significance. Visitors can explore areas of the ship, such as the captain's quarters, the Presidential Suite, and the engine room.

The museum also provides educational programming for schools and other groups, including field trips and workshops that focus on Roosevelt's presidency, naval architecture, and the history of the United States during World War II.

According to Jenai Lopes, the executive director of the USS Potomac Association, "We want people to understand the significance of the USS Potomac and how it played a part in American history. It's not just about the yacht; it's about the president and the events that took place during his presidency."


The USS Potomac in Oakland, California, is a historical and educational experience that is not to be missed. As a National Historic Landmark, visitors can explore the ship, learn about its history and significance, and participate in educational programming. The USS Potomac is not just a symbol of American naval power, but it is an example of American history and the challenges that the United States faced during one of its most tumultuous times.

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