Help Save the Schooner Lettie G. Howard

The Lettie G. Howard is in trouble.  The wooden Fredonia schooner was built in Essex, Massachusetts in 1893. She was acquired by the South Street Seaport Museum in 1968 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.  She was recently drydocked at the Mystic Seaport in CT to repair rot in her keelson. The rot turned out to be far more extensive than originally thought. The cost of the repairs, of course, is also significantly higher than budgeted.  The good news is that the new museum management is committed to saving the much loved and historic schooner and has begun raising funds to support the repairs. (As we posted in December 2011, the previous management was attempting to get rid of the schooner.)

On Friday, the Museum posted on its Facebook page:

We have important news about our beloved Essex-built fishing schooner Lettie G. Howard. As you all know, we hauled her at Mystic Seaport Museum for repairs to rot in her keelson at the foremast step. Unfortunately, the rot in her keelson is more extensive than was previously thought. In fact even now we don’t know the full extent of this and we’re going to need to disassemble her significantly to assess and repair.

We have in hand from our friends at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard an estimate that is close to $250,000. For now we’re going to put Lettie back in the water where she can be well looked after and kept wet. We have $56,000 committed from our small waterfront budget, and we’re starting a fundraising campaign! This is a good start, but there’s a long way to go.

To make this work, we’ll need the support of all who know and love Lettie G. Howard. Please help. Send contributions to Lettie G. Howard, South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton St., New York, NY 10038

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8 Responses to Help Save the Schooner Lettie G. Howard

  1. david berson says:

    How terribly sad and pathetic. Under the leadership of Peter Neil close to one million dollars was spent on the restoration of the Lettie at South St. during the 1980’s. The work was done by the best shipwrights in the northeast and now less than 30 years later the vessel requires another quarter million. You have to be kidding.

  2. NYSoxfan says:

    Obviously the previous stewards of the museum let the ships in their custody go to pot. Blaming the museum’s new stewards for the problems they inherited is like blaming Obama for the state of the U.S. economy in Jan. 2009.

  3. Rick Spilman says:

    I didn’t read the previous comment as blaming the new museum management. On the other hand, the fact that rot set in after close to 30 years is not necessarily surprising. Perhaps it could have been caught sooner, but nevertheless, old wooden vessels are like the proverbial axe that never wears out so long as you keep replacing the head and the handle.

  4. Brien Hawkes says:

    hi Everyone, I was a former cook on the schooner lady G Howard back in 1995. I love that vessel. It had to have been the hardest job that I ever loved. I just read this old information. I wish I would have read it sooner. I don’t get much money around here but I sure would have helped as much as I could.

  5. Brien Hawkes says:

    oh yeah I forgot, I would love more than anything to cook on her again for the crew.

  6. Brien Hawkes says:

    Oh no, I should have proofread my first entry. I didn’t, sorry, I meant Letty G Howard. She is such a fine schooner. At the time that I was a cook on her, I know she was well maintained. I would sail the seas on her any time.

  7. Tom Crowley says:

    When non-profit organizations acquire classic schooners or even build NEW ones, the results are usually disastrous for the vessel as the NFP can not maintain the vessel properly without massive contributions from an ever more skeptical public. This has been the sad fate of far too many great old schooners. Anyone out there have a list of dead or dying schooners? I will not list the ones that I know about here. It would not be fair to the many, hard-working, well-meaning and caring volunteers who have tried their best to save a schooner. The schooner Adventure in Gloucester is the exception
    to this and has been reborn. Thanks to Lowes and many, many others. I was her mate in 1972 and it was great to see the old girl kick up her heels in the 2013 Gloucester Schooner Race!

  8. kaari says:

    Hey Brien!
    where you at? email me! we can swap cooking on Lettie stories