Sea History 119 - Summer 2007

Page 10

NMHS: A CAUSE IN MOTION Maritime Heritage Alive in the Hudson River Valley



he Charles Point Council, the chapter ofNMH S that specializes in preserving and promoting the maritime heritage of the Hudson Rive r Valley in New York State, includes a sizable group of maritime enthusias ts who meet monthly near our headquarters on Charles Point (nam ed for Charles Fleischmann, who built the building, which now houses our offices, for the m anufacturing of Fleischmann's Gin). This year, the group has enjoyed lectures from author Martha ..------.....,.,,..---...,,.- - - - - - - - - , LaGuardia-Ko tite on the story of the US Coas t Guard rescue swimmers featured in her book, So Others M ay Live, and from U S National Park Ranger Michael Callahan , who came in character- playing an eighteenth-century Royal N avy captain, and described for us his life onboard a 74-gun ship-of-the-line. Richard Anderson, president of the SS Columbia Project, presented his plans to restore the excursion steam vessel Columbia, the oldest surviving passenger vessel in the United States, and bring her to the Hudson River. This vessel, one of the best rem aining works of Frank Kirby, is currently laid up in D etro it. Built in 1902, this ship, now a National Historic Landmark, plied the waters be-


tween D etroit and Boblo Island for ninety years. Adorned with m ahogany paneling, etched and leaded glass, gilded ~ moldings, a grand staircase and an open-air ballroom , ~ SS Colu mbia is fitted with a massive 1,200-horsepower ~ triple-expansio n steam engine-rare, intact, and waiting 3 to be activated. 8 ~ The National M aritime Historical Society is also pleased to be working with the Maritime Steer~ ing Committee of the Fulton-Hudson-Champlain Quadricentennial celebration, whi ch will take 8 place in 2009 . The C harles Point Council organized a cruise around the historic sites of Manhattan Island and the Hudson River for the steerin g committee; see below for N MHS Trustee Robert Kamm's report on the excursion. The 2007 C harles Point Council events calendar, including lectures by Bradley Peniston, author of N o H igher Honor: Saving the USS Samuel B. Rob ens in the Persian Gulf, and Ian W Toll, author of Six Frigates: The Epic H istory ofthe Founding of the US Navy, can be found on the NMHS web site at - Burchenal Green, President I~


Navigating Manhattan On Saturday, March 3 1st, m ore than fifty m embers and fri ends of N MHS, the Charles Point Council, and Scarano Boat Building boarded th e motor yacht, Manhattan, fo r a marvelous cruise down the Hudson River from Peekskill to New York City. M other Nature provided a crisp and sunny day, which m ade cruising the river a true joy. The M anhattan, built by Scarano Boat Building of Albany, N Y, is styled after the luxury yachts of the 1920s. We sailed through Spuyten Duyvil, the H a rlem and Eas t Rivers, pas t the Statue of Liberty, and up to Chelsea Piers on M anh attan Island's Wes t Side. N Y State Hi stori an Em eri rus

Dr. Joseph Meany provided a wonderfully info rmative narrative of the places and historic events on the rive r, augm ented by Dr. Ray Philips, Col. Jam es Johnson, H enry Miner, and Peter Stanfo rd, each an authori ty on the m aritime history on the ri ver. Rick Scarano, builder and owner of the M anhattan, hosted the excursion, while Captain Jim Chambers admirably navigated her through the rivers, under the bridges, and around vessels large and sm all that we enco untered. To book a N ew York harbor cruise (o r other locales) aboard M anhattan or aboard Scarano's other vessel, Adirondack, styled after an 1890s pilot schooner, visit their web site at - Robert Kamm, NMH S Trustee

(above) M em bers of the Fulton-Hudson-Champlain 2009 Quadricentennial Committee meet on the deck of the M anhattan (pictured right) as she enters the Harlem River. (Seated from left) j ohn Doswell, Burchie Green, Karen H elmerson, Chris 0 'Brien. (Standing) James Kerr, Betsy Haggerty, j ean Wort, Gregg Swanzey, Barbara C. Fratianni, Tom Vincen t.



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