The Hero Foundation

The cover of the Hero Foundation brochure
Lenie gets in print

The city of Reedsport acquired $10,000 in Oregon lottery funds to study waterfront development around an Antarctic theme. By April, the International Oceanographic Hero Foundation (IOHF) published an impressive brochure, and former Hero crew member Pat Kraker showed up to help with the promotional activities (Pat wintered at Palmer Station in 1979 and at Pole in 1982 where he was the station manager). The cover photo above featuring the Hero was taken from the Argentine station Almirante Brown, in Paradise Bay (64 53'S-62 53'W), on the Antarctic Peninsula east of Palmer Station. The photo (©1971 by the National Geographic Society), was taken by Bill Curtsinger. It appeared in a feature article in their November, 1971 magazine. While on this venture Bill spent a bunch of time aboard the Hero as well as the Alpha Helix, another research vessel that also spent time at Palmer during the 1970-71 season. At left is an inset of Bill Curtinger's original magazine photo of the Hero.

In addition to the Hero moorings, the plans for the Hero Foundation project also included acquisition and display of the Navy/Coast Guard icebreaker Glacier, which had been decommissioned in Portland on 7 July 1987, and moored in Sinclair Inlet (south of Bremerton, WA) since that time. Congress authorized the state of Oregon to acquire the Glacier on behalf of Reedsport (June 1989 Eugene Register-Guard article). Hero Foundation plans also included a museum to rival the Antarctic Centre later constructed in Christchurch, complete with a "cold room," a live penguin display, a registry of all Antarcticans, and accommodation and conference facilities. These were to include a geodesic dome; not the one from Pole, but a smaller replica. Below is the centerfold of the brochure:

down the river

Below are two more pages from the brochure. The pages not seen here include
brief paragraphs about Antarctic explorers and Exploratorium testimonials.

Hero booster pageYet another Hero booster page

red sails at morninggave at the office
In the 1990's the organization had a different name, the Richard E. Byrd Antarctic Center, and the Hero was displayed at the Umpqua Discovery Center, which had been developed in 1993 on a portion of the proposed Exploratorium site (left, mid-90's photo by Dr. Joseph D. Ortiz). In addition to the planned acquisition of the retired icebreaker Glacier they also planned to obtain and display Antarctic aircraft. The group was fairly successful at raising money (right), but nowhere near the $20+ million required for the project. And plans to acquire the Glacier had fallen through after state officials questioned the potential liability, according to a September 1991 Kitsap Sun article (no longer online) which suggested that the Glacier might be used for target practice.

[Despite what that September 1991 article indicated, the Glacier was NOT used for target practice at Point Mugu...rather, beginning in 1991, it spent many years as part of the U. S. Naval Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay, CA. Later, beginning in the late 1990s, the Glacier Society expended much money, effort, and volunteer restoration time in unsuccessful efforts to preserve the vessel and find it a permanent home. The Glacier was sold for scrap to Esco Marine (Brownsville, TX) in February 2012. In April it spent time for hull cleanup in a drydock at the former Mare Island shipyard before the tow to Brownsville. The scrapping supposedly was to begin on Monday 9 July 2012. Here is a July 2012 Antarctic Sun article which mentions the scrapping, as well as this 5 July 2012 Benicia Herald article.]

Back to the Hero...below, pages of a brochure that friend Glenn Grant received when he visited the Hero in Reedsport at some point later:

HERO brochure page

HERO brochure page

HERO brochure page

And eventually in the late 90s, the Reedsport effort to create a permanent major Antarctic exhibit space fell upon hard times. Here was the next step...