Tag Archives: Maritime History

USS Slater Opens For The Season In Albany


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USS SLATER 2015USS Slater has opened to the public for the ship’s 18th season in Albany.  A National Historic Landmark, the Slater is the only remaining World War II Destroyer Escort afloat in America.

Destroyer Escorts originally were conceived to battle Nazi U-Boats while escorting convoys across the Atlantic. However, their versatility proved useful in the Pacific defending task forces from Kamikaze attacks. Many Destroyer Escorts continued to serve during the Korean and Viet Nam Wars. The current US Navy Fleet’s frigates are descendants of these small ships. Continue reading

Historic Steamboat Planned For Hudson River


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ss columbiaIn the years between 1807 and 1971, the Hudson River was alive with boat traffic. The great Hudson River Day Liners were perhaps the best known of all the vessels – famous for their elegance and speed. New Yorkers and visitors alike experienced the river and magnificent landscapes from their decks and plush salons.

Now, a New York City nonprofit is planning to restore the S.S. Columbia, believed to be America’s oldest surviving excursion steamship, for service on the Hudson River between New York City and Albany, with stops at Bear Mountain State Park, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, and Hudson. Continue reading

Replica Half Moon Leaves NY Waters


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Half-Moon-at-Hoorn-IllustrationCiting financial hardships, the Board of Directors of the New Netherlands Museum is moving the Half Moon replica ship to the City of Hoorn, The Netherlands. On Saturday night the Half Moon arrived in New London, Connecticut in preparation for it’s departure.

A petition to Dr. Andrew Hendricks, Founder and Chairman of the New Netherland Museum has been established, but has drawn little support, garnering less than 600 signatures. The ship leaves New York with nary a word from the state’s history community or its leaders. Continue reading

Freeport: Working the Waters of Long Island


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photo 10Long Island Traditions, dedicated to documenting, presenting and preserving the maritime traditions of recreational and commercial fishermen, is sponsoring two tours that explore the maritime traditions of Freeport.  “Boating with the Baymen” will hold its first Freeport tour on Sunday, May 31 at 2 pm.

The spring/summer tour for the season explores the traditions of fishermen and baymen, and bay house owners including Bob Doxsee of Doxsee Sea Clam in Point Lookout, bay house owners and boat builders John Remsen Sr. and his son John Remsen Jr., and Freeport baymen Joey Scavone, Collin Weyant and Lucas Krucher.  Themes of the tour will include “looking backwards” and “bay houses” led by Doxsee and John Remsen Sr., working the waters including Remsen Jr., Scavone, Krucher and Weyant, and “The next generation” focusing on Scavone, Krucher and Weyant. Continue reading

Early United States Trade with China


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ben_franklins_worldA mercantile partnership led by Robert Morris sent the Empress of China, a 360-ton ship to Canton, China one month and eight days after the Congress of the United States ratified the Treaty of Paris, 1783.

Why did these merchants look so far east to secure a profitable trade? And why did they attempt such a venture not long after the United States secured its independence from Great Britain?

In this episode of the “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast, Dane Morrison, Professor of History at Salem State University and author of True Yankees: The South Seas and the Discovery of American Identity, helps us discover the answers to these questions and more as he leads us on an exploration of the early American trade with China. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/012

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New Book: Wood, Whiskey and Wine


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Wood Whiskey WineBarrels – we rarely acknowledge their importance, but without them we would be missing out on some of the world’s finest beverages – most notably whiskies and wines – and of course for over two thousand years they’ve been used to store, transport, and age an incredibly diverse array of provisions around the globe.

In the new wide-ranging book Wood, Whiskey and Wine (Reaktion, 2014), Henry Work tells the intriguing story of the significant and ever-evolving role wooden barrels have played during the last two millennia, revealing how the history of the barrel parallels that of technology at large. Continue reading

Traveling NY Shipwrecks Exhibit In Oswego


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3682FairLakeGeorgePanel3005The Great Shipwrecks of NY’s Great Lakes is in Oswego, NY, at the Tyler Art Gallery in Penfield Hall Library at SUNY Oswego. The exhibit was developed for the 2014 Great New York State Fair and was updated for this installation. It will be on display through January 22, 2015.

The exhibit includes interpretive panels highlighting shipwrecks in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Champlain, the Finger Lakes, Lake George and the St. Lawrence River; videos; and a newly-built replica of the ‘turtle ship’ Radeau that sunk in Lake George. Freshwater science technology components including a remotely-operated underwater vehicle and a Great Lakes Research Consortium in-water sensing buoy. Continue reading

Hudson River Ice Yacht Event In Hyde Park


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Ice yacht Whiff-near-Athens nySailing on ice has been a winter tradition in the Hudson Valley since at least the 1800s. Until the invention of the automobile, ice yachts were the fastest vehicles on earth and attracted many rich and famous sailors – including the Roosevelts.

The Hudson River Ice Yacht Club, which celebrates its 130th anniversary this year, has teamed with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home, Library & Museum to organize a historic exhibit of Hudson River Ice Yachts, on display from December 21, 2014 through January 3, 2015. Continue reading

Replica Half Moon Is Leaving New York State


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Half Moon at Hoorn IllustrationThe Board of Directors of the New Netherland Museum has announced that the Half Moon, a replica of the ship sailed by Henry Hudson in 1609, will leave New York State for a new home port in the City of Hoorn, The Netherlands in 2015.

The City Council of Hoorn voted Tuesday to adopt the Half Moon for inclusion in a 17th century historic site under the management of the Westfries Museum. The Half Moon is expected to  remain the property of the New Netherland Museum, but it will lose its long-time captain, William T. “Chip” Reynolds. Continue reading

Historic Ship Museum Hosting First Annual Fundraiser


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LILAC at Pier 25 as the morning fog liftsOn Wednesday, November 12, Lilac Preservation Project will host its first fundraiser at Cercle Rouge Restaurant in Tribeca. The organization is celebrating a record-breaking year of attendance at its public arts and education programs on board the lighthouse tender Lilac at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25.

Lilac Preservation Project’s Museum Director and President, Mary Habstritt will announce plans for 2015, including launch of a capital campaign to restore the steam boilers and overhaul the ship’s systems to operate as a sustainable seafaring vessel. Continue reading

The Half Moon and The Hermione: A Tale of Two Ships


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Half_Moon_ReplicaIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times. So it goes for two ships and their diametrically contradictory paths through history.

The Half Moon is a full scale replica of the original Dutch ship of exploration sailed by Henry Hudson for the Dutch East India Company in 1609. The original Half Moon was the first European ship to document entry into what we now call the Delaware Bay and River, and to explore the Hudson River to its navigable limits.

The HermioneThe Hermione is a full scale replica of the French ship that brought LaFayette to America in 1780 and which joined Admiral de Grasse’s fleet for the Battle off the Capes on the lower Chesapeake and the siege at Yorktown. The ship then sailed to Philadelphia in 1781 where the Continental Congress visited and paid tribute to it. Continue reading

NYS Barge Canal on National Register of Historic Places


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nys_barge_canal_system_map-100The National Park Service has announced that it has listed the New York State Barge Canal on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation recognizes the New York State Canal System as a nationally significant work of early twentieth century engineering and construction that affected transportation and maritime commerce for nearly half a century.

The New York State Barge Canal National Register Historic District spans 450 miles and includes the four branches of the state’s canal system: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals– all much enlarged versions of waterways that were initially constructed during the 1820s. The nomination evaluated 791 features and included 552 contributing structures and buildings. Continue reading

Navy Birthday Celebration at USS Slater Monday


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uss slaterThe Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on October 13, 1775, by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America.

In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, authorized recognition of October 13 as the Navy’s Birthday. Since 1972, each Chief of Naval Operations has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion “to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence towards pride and professionalism in the Naval Service.” Continue reading

Replica Half Moon May Move To The Netherlands


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Half_Moon_ReplicaThe historic ship Half Moon, a replica of the ship Henry Hudson sailed in 1609 to the river which now bears his name, has announced intentions to move to Hoorn in The Netherlands.

The announcement came late Thursday in an e-mail message to supporters from Chip Reynolds, Director of the New Netherland Museum and Captain of the Replica Ship Half Moon. Reynolds cited ongoing financial hardships exacerbated by annual budget shortfalls, and an inability to find a permanent berth and site for programming. “Continued operation of the Half Moon in our current capacity is financially unsustainable,” Reynolds said. Continue reading

The Sinking of The S.S. Normandie At NYC’s Pier 88


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Normandie_posterOn February 9, 1942 crowds gathered at New York City’s pier 88 to witness a spectacle. The largest ocean liner in the world was on fire. Fire fighting efforts successfully contained the fire after five and a half hours of effort, but the effort was in vain. Five hours after the flames were out the stricken vessel rolled onto its side and settled on the bottom of the Hudson.

The S.S. Normandie was a star crossed ship. Intended to be the pride of the French people, she was designed to be the height of shipbuilding technology and modern culture. Her first class passenger spaces were decorated in the trendiest Art Deco style and filled with luxuries. The radical new hull design, with a subsurface bulb beneath a clipper bow, and long, sweeping lines lent her previously untouched speeds while requiring far less fuel. She even had one of the earliest radar sets ever used by a commercial vessel, in order to improve the safety for her passengers. Continue reading

Battle of Plattsburgh: A Pivotal Naval Battle


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Saratoga (left) and Eagle (right) engaging Confiance at Battle of PlattsburghThey were headed this way. British troops had done that before, without success, but these were not just any British troops. They were 11,000 troops fresh from their victory over Napoleon.

By that third summer of the War of 1812, British shore raiding parties were taking a great toll in the Chesapeake Bay. Supported by a fleet of more than 30 warships, they would put troops ashore near a town, and either burn it, or demand ransom from the inhabitants. Continue reading

Debunking The ‘French Fort’ On Albany’s Castle Island


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the 1614 Block mapThe 400th anniversary of Albany’s first documented European settlement gives us an opportunity to clear up some inaccuracies surrounding its history. In particular, it is time to roundly debunk the stubborn myth that the French built the first European structure in Albany.

Several Wikipedia pages—”Albany“, “Castle Island,” “Fort Nassau“—claim that Albany’s first European structure was a fort on Castle Island built by French traders in 1540. The “Castle Island” page calls it a chateau and claims that the Dutch rebuilt the French fort, “which they called a castle[,] giving rise to the name of the island.” This is silly. There is no credible evidence of a French fort on Castle Island or anywhere in the region, and any account of a structure resembling a chateau is particularly absurd. So where did this myth come from? Continue reading

Working the Waters: Maritime Culture of Long Island


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Joey ScavoneLong Island Traditions will present “Working the Waters: Maritime Culture of Long Island” in collaboration with the NY Marine Trades Association “Tobay Boat Show” in Massapequa, New York on September 26 through September 28, 2014. “Working the Waters: Maritime Culture of Long Island” will present to the public first-hand accounts about the contemporary and historic traditions of commercial and recreational fishermen, the factors affecting these traditions and their future on Long Island in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and the decline of the bays.

The program is the culminating event of ongoing documentation by Long Island Traditions folklorist and executive director Nancy Solomon. Since 1987 Solomon has been documenting the culture and traditions of Long Island maritime tradition bearers, ranging from decoy carvers and driftwood painters to trap builders, boat model makers and net menders. Continue reading

Waterford Tugboat Roundup Turns 15 This Weekend


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Ben TugIt’s been called one of the largest maritime festivals in New York State. For three days, September 5th through the 7th, the Waterford waterfront (just north of Albany) will host the 15th Annual Tugboat Roundup.

A gathering and show place of both working and historic tugs of the Hudson River and New York State Canal system, the Roundup has evolved into a festival of boating at the Gateway to the Canal System. More than 35 boats are expected to be along the wall in Waterford this year, according to Tom Beardsley, Marine Event Coordinator. Continue reading