Naval Museum Aims for 2009 Launch
"During the Civil War, there were patrol boats going up and down the Missouri River and the Mississippi River as well," he explained. "There were engagements right here in mid-Missouri."
In fact, Ross said, mid-Missouri has oceans of naval history.
"Tens of thousands of Missourians have served in the Navy. Some have gone on to quite high ranks, admirals. One of the pioneers of the submarine's existence was right here from Missouri."
Now, Ross wants that sunken history to finally surface.
"We're imagining a traditional museum format with displays, primarily [to] focus on Missouri and Missouri's contributions to the Navy."
Ross thinks he's found the perfect place to anchor the museum, behind the walls of the former Missouri State Penitentiary.
"We've looked at several locations in Jefferson City, and none of them offer the closeness to downtown and the connection to history that this one does."
He also has his eye on two vessels that harbor a lot of history.
"One is the USS Cannon. It was a patrol gunboat from the Vietnam era."
The other vessel, the USS Trout, played a pivotal role in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when the 269-foot submarine was ready to sink a Soviet ship that was carrying intercontinental ballistic missiles to Cuba for possible use against American cities.
Ross hopes the $2 million Missouri Naval Museum can set sail in 2009. He said it's already accepting tax-deductible donations.