Saving the Lettie G Howard – South Street Seaport Museum Raises $250,000 to Restore Historic Schooner

Lettie1Wonderful news!  In February 2012, the 1893 built, Freedonia class fishing schooner, Lettie G. Howard was drydocked to repair rot in her keelson.  The rot was found to be far more extensive than expected and since then the South Street Seaport Museum has been raising funds to repair the historic schooner.  Now, despite a world of other troubles, including being struck a devastating blow by Superstorm Sandy, the South Street Seaport Museum has succeeded in raising the $250,000 needed to restore the Lettie G Howard.   The highpoint of the fundraising was the recent gala fundraising performance by singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash.

“We are so grateful to Rosanne Cash for all of her efforts to help us save Lettie G. Howard,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York and President of the South Street Seaport Museum. “Thanks to $80,000 in proceeds from an unforgettable night of great music with Rosanne Cash, income from a recent Warner Brothers movie shoot for the film Winter’s Tale aboard our Wavertree, and the generosity of many donors, including a challenge grant from Anne Beaumont, we hope to soon have Lettie under sail once again.”

In recent years, Lettie G. Howard served as a sailing school vessel for the New York Harbor School, the New York City public high school on Governors Island that trains students for maritime careers.  But the schooner developed rot in her keelson (the interior spine that holds her together) and the South Street Seaport Museum needs to take her apart in order to make repairs, Henshaw Jones said.

Repairs – estimated at $250,000 – will begin following interviews with shipyards. The goal is to make Lettie G. Howard seaworthy once again so that she can continue to train future generations of students.

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6 Responses to Saving the Lettie G Howard – South Street Seaport Museum Raises $250,000 to Restore Historic Schooner

  1. Rich says:

    It’s a shame they can’t do it on a barge right at the museum, like they did the original restoration.

    I was living in NYC and volunteering at SSM at the time. Having the ship right where the work could be seen by the public was a fantastic publicity tool.

  2. will says:

    i’m very happy fund-raising worked out. and i concur with rich about the loss involved in doing the work elsewhere out of sight. i feel a bond with amistad as a result of several trip to mystic while she was being built in their enclosed space; if new yorkers could see the jobs, smell the wood, and hear the noises of restoration . . . new yorkers would grow these bonds with lettie.

  3. Dan says:

    Agreed. Look at how the sloop Clearwater did it this winter in Kingston.

  4. Rick Spilman says:

    I agree that it would be wonderful to rebuild the Lettie in the Seaport itself. The problem, as I see it, is that the Seaport is now part disaster zone and part battlefield. Damage from Sandy still has most of the commercial district shuttered. Real estate moguls are trying to pull off a land grab. There isn’t enough dock space for the ships that the Museum currently has. The new management of the Museum, with the help of a small army of volunteers, have done some amazing things, but are barely hanging on in this near “perfect storm” of financial and environmental disaster.

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  6. Joseph Casey says:

    She back and ready for another 120 years.
    Let’s get ready for 2014 voyage!
    Tell your friends Welcome aboard the Lettie G Howard