The U.S.S. Langley debuts Friday at the Military History Society of Rochester

The U.S.S. Langley debuts Friday at the Military History Society of Rochester

Chuck Baylis, Executive Director of the Military History Society of Rochester, looking over the model of the U.S.S. Langley


• September 1, 2015

For fans of naval ship replicas, the unveiling of the U.S.S Langley at the Military History Society of Rochester — as part of the First Fridays gallery openings — the date is already circled in the calendar.

For all other First Friday goers, this exhibit at the Military Museum in the Anderson Alley Arts Building is a “must see,” if not a “no brainer.”

William Emerson of Rochester, a retired Xerox engineer, took five painstaking years to construct his nearly 6ft. long, 1/96th scale model of the U.S.S Langley, the U.S. Navy’s first aircraft carrier, to be displayed for the first time in public.

Fascinated with ship models since high school, Bill has gone on to create twelve major models now in museums across the county, including the Hampton Roads Naval Museum in Washington, DC; National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, GA; Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL.; Camden Shipyard & Museum in Philadelphia; and The Glenn Curtis Museum in Hammondsport, NY. A prolific writer on his subject, Bill’s work has been featured over five times on the cover of prominent modeling magazines.IMG_1564

Quite a treat for hobbyists and the uninitiated alike, this is the only time one of his models has been exhibited in Rochester. Probably within a few months, the Langley will find a permanent home in an appropriate venue.

While the picture is worth a thousand words, the image pales in comparison to seeing the facsimile carrier–its grandeur and unmatched detail–up close and in person. As the Langley will be soon shipping out to a port not yet known, don’t miss the boat!

Premier opening: First Friday, September 4th from 6-10 pm at the Military History Society of Rochester, 2nd floor of the Anderson Arts Building (the old Fabrics & Findings) on the corner of 250 N. Goodman St. and Anderson Avenue. Bill will be present to discuss his work.

POSTSCRIPTS  After this post appeared, I received a note from Joel Altre-Kerber whose grandfather had served on the LangleyPHOTOS BELOW

My grandfather, Daniel Altre, was a native Filipino, naturalized by his service in the US Navy starting in 1913. In the early 1920s, he served aboard the USS Langley. He was a resident of Rochester from the mid-1940s until his death in 1956.

As a Filipino, my grandfather could never have been an officer; they were restricted to being the waitstaff and other menial jobs. He was recalled to service in World War II when he was in his 50s, and he was mustered out after the war as a Chief Steward, the highest rank a Filipino in the Navy could attain in those days.


Inscribed on back: “Beautiful weather in Hawaii, and your husband had his picture taken on the deck of the Langley. Daniel. Mare Island, Calif 1 Dec 1928”

langley 2

Off Haiti in 1927

UPDATE: According to Chuck, Opening Night drew over three hundred people to the museum. Emerson said that was ten times more than have ever attended a previous exhibition. Given the response, the Langley may now stay permanently in Rochester.


Over the Top! Courtesy of the Military History Society of Rochester

War (literally) made into art at the Military History Society of Rochester

Celebrating the first Otis Day (June 15th) with the General’s sword at its new home: the Military Society of Rochester

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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