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Here was a post I did in early spring 2013. She went to Portland, Maine for the work, and this morning
she returned to South Street Seaport Museum pier, about 36 hours travel out of Gloucester.
The timing was perfect for me . . . as I’m currently reading A Dream of Tall Ships, Peter Stanford’s account of the years from 1965–1974, when as the subtitle of the book has it, a story of “how NYers came together to save the city’s sailing-ship waterfront.” Well . . . round 1, at least.
Lettie looked glorious in the morning sun, nestling back beside Ambrose, but I couldn’t help looking especially closely at the bow. I’d just read this account the day before in Stanford’s book, a recollection about the vessel then-called Caviare in September 1968
“there was one thing that needed replacing, which not vital to the schooner’s structure, mattered a great deal to her appearance. This was the gammon knee, an oak extension of the stem arching forward under the bowsprit, which nicely completes the sweeping curve of the clipper bow. The old schooner’s gammon knee had been chopped back into a stump to allow a heavy rope fender to be slung under the bow when she’d been adapted for work as a tug.”
Wow! That’s one old foto I’d love to see, this vessel, with a rope bow fender, pushing a barge. Anyone have such a foto?
Lettie‘s back, and so is this fleet. Maybe Lettie‘d love to come out fishing with them? Vessel in the distance is Pati R. Moran. Brown fishboat in the foreground is Eastern Welder.
All fotos this morning by Will Van Dorp.
Here was the first post. Today spring has sprung and may Lettie,
with such graceful toughness
like a crocus, burst forth. Support the fundraiser.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.
All the fotos I have of Lettie G. Howard were taken five or more years ago. So why am I posting these now . . . reposting some, in fact? Here’s why: April 8, 2013 Rosanne Cash will perform a gala concert to raise funds to restore Lettie, as she is affectionately known, which needs about $250,000 worth of repairs to repair rot and maintain her sailing integrity. Rosanne Cash traces her family to an ancestor who arrived in Salem, MA in 1643 aboard Good Intent. Click here for info on buying tickets.
Right now, Lettie is docked at Pier 17 cloaked in unflattering shrinkwrap. Here’s some history of the unique vessel:
Built in 1893 at Essex, MA, in the yard of Arthur D. Story, Lettie G. Howard is named for the daughter of her first captain, Frederick Howard, Lettie fished out of Gloucester, MA, for her first eight years. In 1901, she was purchased by owners in Pensacola, FL, for use in the red snapper fishery off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. After surviving two major hurricanes, she was thoroughly rebuilt in 1923 by a new owner—Thomas Welles of Mystic, CT—who installed her first auxiliary engine and renamed her Mystic C. She continued to fish under sail for the Welles Company for 43 years, until it disbanded in 1966. That year, she was sold to the Historic Ships Association in Gloucester, and in 1968 she was purchased by the year-old South Street Seaport Museum. She traveled from Gloucester to the Museum’s pier at South Street largely under sail. By then, she had been renamed twice, and her long working life had obscured her origins; research into her background led to a docking book that confirmed her identity as Lettie G. Howard.
Since 1968, Lettie has been a proud and beloved resident of South Street, where scores of fishing schooners like her used to dock to bring their catches to the Fulton Fish Market. She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, and between 1991 and 1993 she was completely restored to her 1893 appearance. Lettie has operated as a certified sail training vessel since 1994, taking student crews on trips in New York Harbor and waters further afield—teaching history and ecology along with the skills and crafts of sailing, and celebrating the legacy of the North Atlantic fisheries and the Gloucester fleets.
Boro6 aka the sixth boro or New York harbor sees diverse vessels and and floats in and out staggering amounts of cargo. I’m thrilled by the amount of collaboration this blog can muster. Many eyes see more things. Like Princess Danae, captured last week by John Watson. Princess Danae has long since departed, but John pointed out a secret. Any ideas?
The vessel is operated today by Classic International Cruises. For scale, compare her beside Norwegian Jewel. The secret? Princess Danae began life in 1955 as Port Melbourne, a
tanker general cargo vessel! (Thanks for catching that, Bart!)
A darker story awaiting enlightening here . . . the inimitable Elizabeth Wood took this foto some five or so years back. It’s Lettie G Howard, dormant and in bondage for many months now, and for sale; part of the sad dissolution
and crumbling happening at the museum formerly known as South Street Seaport. Until a new plan for the ships (See these stories by MWA, Old Salt, and Frogma.) even Pioneer will remained fettered. SOS indeed, or given the age of Lettie G and Pioneer . . . should we make that CQD? CQD!! The MWA link has a tribute to Bernie also.
Thanks to John, Justin, and Elizabeth for these fotos and the collaboration. The ones of Thomas J Brown and Pioneer by Will Van Dorp. Type any of these vessel names (except Princess Danae) and you’ll get many previous appearances. And, doubleclick enlarges most.