The Board of Directors of the Port of Portsmouth Maritime Museum Association (PPMMA) commissioned the creation of a granite bench to honor the memory of Professor E. Eugene Allmendinger who died on June 26th, 2008. Located across from Albacore's sail and between two existing benches, Gene's bench will be dedicated during this May's Memorial Day observance at the Park on May 25th.
Doctor Allmendinger taught at the University of New Hampshire where he was the Associate Director of the Marine Program and Director of Marine Operations. Professor Allmendinger was universally renowned as an educator, ocean technologies expert and civic leader. What was less known to the general public is the role he played in the conception and birth of Albacore and in the creation of Albacore Park.
In the early 1950's, Dr. Allmendinger served as a technical consultant to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. In this role, he acted as the Shipyard's emissary to the Navy's Bureau of Ships, the David Taylor Model Basin and various defense contractors. Utilizing his unique abilities as a technical interpreter and educator, Gene provided the shipyard with a significantly enhanced capability for translating the Navy's conceptual design into that very special undersea test platform we all know as Albacore. Once Albacore's navy career was complete, Gene again stepped forward as one of the principals in the successful effort to bring Albacore back to Portsmouth.
In 1982, the Bring Back the Albacore Committee became the Portsmouth Submarine Memorial Association (PSMA) under the leadership of Joe Sawtelle. Gene Allmendinger, at the time professor of naval architecture at the University of New Hampshire, was one of PSMA's charter members. Once a suitable site was identified for Albacore's permanent placement, it was Gene who designed a system of two concrete cradles to be set on a rock ledge that would serve as Albacore's final resting place. These steel-reinforced blocks would permit full viewing of Albacore's streamlined hull, contra-rotating propellers and X-stern. By resting out of the water, Albacore would not be subject to the corrosive effects of seawater and the attendant expensive need for periodic dry-docking and underwater hull preservation.
We consider Gene to be a charter member of the Friends of Albacore family and we will always look upon the distinctive centerpiece of Albacore Park as a fitting monument to his life's work.