New Dove replica ship to be con­structed

No plan for the cur­rent ves­sel at this time

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JA­SON BAB­COCK jbab­cock@somd­

Two ships, the Ark and Dove, brought the first English set­tlers to the shores of the Po­tomac River more than 380 years ago to start the Mary­land colony. Both ships were lost to his­tory, but a replica of the Dove was built ahead of the 350th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of Mary­land, and has served as the am­bas­sador of His­toric St. Mary’s City ever since.

But even that replica ship is near­ing the end of its life, and plans are un­der­way to build an­other ver­sion of the Dove.

His­toric St. Mary’s City and the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Mar­itime Mu­seum

are part­ner­ing to build the new replica ship.

Work be­gan on the cur­rent Mary­land Dove replica ship in 1977 in Cam­bridge on the Eastern Shore by 77-year-old James B. Richard­son. It took 15 months to fin­ish the work and the Dove was then sailed across the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and brought to St. Mary’s City in Oc­to­ber 1978.

At 39 years old, the Dove “is still safe but is near­ing the end of her ser­vice­able life,” Regina Faden, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of His­toric St. Mary’s City, said.

The Dove “has been hauled and re­paired ev­ery year, but the con­sen­sus of in­formed ship builders is that a new ves­sel could be built more ef­fi­ciently and less ex­pen­sively than the old [ship] could be re­built,” she said.

His­toric St. Mary’s City and the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Mar­itime Mu­seum will part­ner on the de­sign and the con­struc­tion of the new Dove. That work should start late this year or in the first half of 2018, Faden said. Once con­struc­tion starts, work is ex­pected to take two years.

What then be­comes of the ex­ist­ing Dove?

“We do not have a plan for the cur­rent Dove yet,” Faden said.

It is es­ti­mated to cost $4.5 mil­lion to build a new Dove ship. The Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly passed a $500,000 bond bill this year to­ward the project and His­toric St. Mary’s City is still work­ing to se­cure the rest of the fund­ing, Faden said.

Sen. Ade­laide Eckardt (R-Caro­line, Dorch­ester, Tal­bot, Wi­comico) said in a state­ment, “this is a unique, a very his­toric op­por­tu­nity as we bring to­gether two of our won­der­ful high­lights, both from the Eastern Shore and South­ern Mary­land. We work to­gether with a lot of ini­tia­tives, but this is a new pi­o­neer­ing ground where we bring to­gether our deep, rich his­tory, our cul­tural back­ground and our trades and crafts.”

“This is a true Mary­land project and one we’re thrilled to be in­volved with,” Kris­ten Green­away, pres­i­dent of Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Mar­itime Mu­seum, said in a state­ment.

The 76-foot long, 42ton

Dove was built for $200,000 in 1978. “She has trav­eled up and down the bay and Po­tomac River over her life­time and as far as Delaware,” Faden said.

Start­ing in Novem­ber 1633, the Ark and Dove sailed across the At­lantic Ocean car­ry­ing about 140 colonists from Eng­land to Mary­land. The orig­i­nal Dove was then used as a cargo ship by the set­tlers once the Ark sailed back for Eng­land.

“At the end of May [1634], the Ark re­turns to Eng­land, leav­ing the Dove be­hind to pro­vide trans­porta­tion for goods to be traded up and down the At­lantic sea­coast. In the fall of 1634 the Dove is sent north to Bos­ton to trade corn for salt cod and other com­modi­ties. In Au­gust of 1635 the Dove is sent back to Eng­land with furs and tim­ber to trade and is never seen again, prob­a­bly lost at sea,” ac­cord­ing in­for­ma­tion from His­toric St. Mary’s City.


The replica of the Dove sits docked at the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Ma­rine Mu­seum in St. Michaels. His­toric St. Mary’s City, the ship’s home port, and the ma­rine mu­seum are part­ner­ing to de­sign and build a new Dove.

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