Statement of Significance (as of designation - April 11, 1989):
The world's only surviving four-masted, full-rigged ship, FALLS OF CLYDE (1878) is the oldest surviving American tanker and the only surviving sailing oil tanker left afloat. Built during a shipbuilding boom inspired by increasing trade with the United States, the ship made several voyages to American ports while under the British flag. Sold to American owners in 1898, it gained American registry by a special act of Congress in 1900. Henceforth she was involved in the nationally important Hawaiian trans-Pacific sugar trade and later in transporting petroleum as a bulk cargo carrier.