Saving Ethel Lewis

And a Wheeler too! Yes, this newsletter helped save the 1906, 42 ft. Skipjack that was left abandoned to rot and ruin at the former Brooklyn Navy Yard. What is left of this once proud working boat was barged to Cape Charles, VA this past fall. She was so bad that the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, who is trying to save some of the old Skipjacks, didn’t even want this one.

But a group of people from the Eastern Shore Historical Society of VA did! In particular was Frank Young, a 74-year old Board Member who went to see her several times to negotiate her move. Various companies donated equipment and manpower for the 300 mile voyage. She is considered too far gone to restore so she will be stabilized and put on exhibit as an example of one of the last Skipjacks of her kind. A true vanishing working class!

And, we saved the abandoned 1940’s 38ft. Wheeler boat that was tied to the dock while the owner walked away one day. I went to see her in September and went aboard. She was full of debris which was later cleaned up. I found her mostly original with lots of interior wood and some unique built-ins, such as an Art Deco radio and a semi-circle seat.

The yard manager told me that when they start to haul for winter storage she would be destroyed. So I asked for a chance to try to save her. I mailed a separate flyer, plus listed her in the Fall issue. The yard manager couldn’t believe the number of calls received for the boat! Finally, a new owner was found, and she is now on the lower west side of New York City. I have received news now and then on her progress.

…related story from the Winter 2005 letter to subscribers:

Now on to the BIG news. I received a call from Carter Craft (how many people have nautical surnames?) of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance of New York, saying that the derelict, 1906, 58ft Skipjack that was left to die in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and was listed in the Winter 2004 ‘Preview Page’, has been saved. This bag of bones was barged to VA by the Eastern Virginia Historical Society. Even the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, who likes to restore old Skipjacks, didn’t want this one. But this is important because there are very few Skipjacks that still survive. They are an endangered species. Then we saved the abandoned, 1940’s, 38ft Wheeler that was listed in the Fall issue for FREE. The shipyard manager was surprised at how many calls he received….so we know this is working!

© 2005 Bone Yard Boats. All rights reserved.


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