A Maritime Heritage Preserved


Blossom’s Ferry, on the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, was an important link in the colonial transportation system. The history department at East Carolina University has begun a program in maritime history and underwater archaeology and plans to develop a two-month field research project to document vessels found near the site and to “recover associated material.” Slides and videotape will record the project and be used for an educational television program. Grant: $1,500.


Most of the existing historic sailing vessels cannot be used for training on the open sea because they are regulated as “passenger ships.” The rules regarding such ships are very strict, a situation that—at best—makes museums of them. A new Sailing School Ships Act will change the laws governing training and education at sea. The American Sail Training Association in Newport is making a strong effort to get this legislation passed. The bill has been written, and passage by the summer of 1983 seems feasible. Grant: $7,500.


From 1881 to 1973 the U.S. Life Saving Service and the U.S. Coast Guard operated a station at the head of the falls of the Ohio River to protect lives, property, and cargo. Two vessels survive from this era, the Belle of Louisville and the Major Andrew Broaddus . They represent the essence of the river life that led to the founding of Louisville. The Belle still plies the waters and the Broaddus is used as a docking ship. Its supply space and docking facilities are to be enlarged. Grant: $3,000.


A twenty-four-foot dugout canoe was recently found at the bottom of one of the lakes within the Lac du Flambeau Reservation, the preserve of the Chippewa tribe. It is, of course, much deteriorated, but it can be restored, exhibited, and studied. This particular dugout is one of the largest ever found in the area: it contains early-eighteenth-century metal tools, which indicates that it was in use during the critical early contacts between American Indians and Europeans. The site of the finding was near an island where the last great battle between the Sioux and the Chippewa reputedly took place. Grant: $6,000.


On September 10,1813, Comm. Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British in the battle of Lake Erie. Perry’s flagship, the Niagara , is owned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Its wooden frame, subjected to rain and snowfall, is in need of a resident shipwright to supervise continual repairs. The Niagara is the only earlynineteenth-century military brig of its class in America. Grant: $2,000.


The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, which covers sixteen waterfront acres, will restore a free-black antebellum house that will be used “to interpret the history of the family that owned it and to show the importance of blacks in the Chesapeake Bay maritime community.” Grant: $5,000.