Ronald C. Ramlow, a veteran who served six years in the Air Force and two years in the Navy during the 1960s, has an unusual hobby. He builds replicas of warships and airplanes.
Monday, Nov. 12, he donated a handmade replica of the USS Constitution (fondly known as “Old Ironsides”) to the Rock Valley College (RVC) Educational Resource Center (ERC) Library as part of their Veterans Day observance. The hull of the ship is constructed of wood; it also has sails and brass cannons. It took him about a year to build. The ship is approximately 3 feet long and 3 feet tall. The 1/155-scale replica was given to the Estelle M. Black Library at the ERC in a dedication ceremony at the college’s main campus, 3301 N. Mulford Road. Ramlow wished to express his gratitude for the education his three children received at Rock Valley College.
Dedication ceremony remarks were given by Capt. Caroline Nielson, chief of staff for Commander Navy Region Midwest, Rear Admiral Rick Williamson. Military veterans, hobbyists and historians were in attendance.
“I import the materials from Italy and Spain,” said Ramlow. “[The ship] will be on permanent display so anyone can see it. I’ve been building these models for 25 years. I have given them away to other libraries and schools. I build Spanish galleons and British and French ships.”
All of his models are based on the original vessels they depict, dating back to the 1500s, 1600s and 1700s. They all have cannons and sails, and take about six months to a year to build.
Some of his other projects: The Talcott Library in Rockton has a pirate ship, the Corsair, complete with a black “Jolly Roger” flag. The Roscoe Library has the Niagara from the War of 1812. The North Suburban Library in Loves Park has a model of the Confederate ship Alabama from the Civil War.
A number of schools are lucky enough to exhibit some of his nautical works of art. And the Camp Grant Museum has several model airplanes of the World War II era hanging from the ceiling.
More ships are available for school libraries. Any school that would be interested in acquiring one of these models for their library is invited to call Ramlow at (815) 332-5249.
From the Nov. 14-20, 2012, issue