Ahoy From the S.S. Stevens: America’s First Floating Dormitory
When Stevens needed more living space for a growing student body in the mid-1960s, university administrators found a unique solution: a boat. Moored in the Hudson River near the foot of Eighth Street, the S.S. Stevens housed approximately 150 upper-level students (both men and women) each academic year from 1968 until 1975. The ship was built in 1944 as a naval attack transport and then served as a luxury passenger and cargo liner.
Stevens acquired the vessel at a cost of $133,000 and christened her the S.S. Stevens in 1967. Despite the half-mile trek uphill to Castle Point, living aboard the ship was quite popular, affording students incomparable views and more independence than one would probably find on campus. The ship also boasted all the amenities of a standard dormitory, and residents were free to decorate quarters as they liked, even to host parties — provided guests disembarked by 4 a.m.
Unfortunately, by 1975 maintenance costs caught up with the S.S. Stevens and the university decided to sell the ship. One of the vessel’s six-ton anchors was placed on Wittpenn Walk in tribute. It's currently in storage, but the landmark anchor will be reinstalled following completion of the Student Housing and University Center.