South Street Seaport Museum's Wavertree Honored with Excellent in Preservation Award

The Preservation League of New York State has selected the 1885 sailing ship Wavertree at the South Street Seaport Museum to receive an award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.

The League's statewide awards program honors notable achievements in retaining, promoting and reusing New York State's irreplaceable architectural heritage.

"It's been many years since the League honored a maritime vessel - the John J. Harvey Fireboat in 2002," said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. "The return of the wrought-iron Tall Ship Wavertree to as-built sailing condition not only required strict attention to detail and best practices, but the assembly of a team of artisans skilled in long-lost trades. The public-private partnership among the City and other funders is commendable, and we hope the vessel will continue to be used for trades training. The restoration of the Wavertree helps to chart a new and exciting course for the South Street Seaport Museum, and we are pleased that this effort will receive statewide recognition."

The project team included Captain Jonathan Boulware, Executive Director, and Jesse Lebovics, Director of Historic Ships, South Street Seaport Museum; Steven Kalil, President, Caddell Dry Dock and Repair Co., Inc.; Barbara Wilks, Founding Principal, and ; Kate Cella, Associate, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture LLC; Charles Cushing, Owner, Brian J. Streb, Naval Architect, C. R. Cushing & Co., Inc.; Richard C. Rodi PE, Program Manager, and John C. Daidola, President, and Charles C. Deroko, Marine Surveyor, AENY; Medhat Azer DDC Project Manager, NYC Department of Design and Construction; Joseph Piwoworski, DDC Project Manager, NYC Department of Design and Construction; Commissioner Carlos Peña-Mora, NYC Department of Design and Construction; Jamie White, Master Rigger, of Galveston, TX; Russell T. Powell, President, Island Housewrights; Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; The Honorable Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President; Council Member Margaret Chin, New York City Council; Merrill Hesch, Grants Officer, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Maj-Britt Jungjohann, Project Manager, Capital Projects Unit, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; Council Member Carlos Menchaca and Council Member Karen Koslowitz of the New York City Council; and Mayor Bill de Blasio, City of New York.

The wrought iron sailing ship Wavertree, built in 1885 in Southampton, Great Britain, circled the globe four times in her career, carrying a wide variety of cargoes. In 1910, after twenty-five years of sailing, she was caught in a Cape Horn storm that tore down her masts and ended her career as a cargo ship. She was salvaged and used as a floating warehouse and then a sand barge in South America. In 1968, she was saved by the South Street Seaport Museum and in 1970 was towed to New York to become the iconic centerpiece of the "Street of Ships" at South Street. The 132-year-old Wavertree, built of riveted wrought iron, is an archetype of the sailing cargo ships of the latter half of the 19th century that, during the "age of sail," lined South Street by the dozens, creating a forest of masts from the Battery to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Capt. Jonathan Boulware, Executive Director of the Seaport Museum, spoke enthusiastically about the ship and the project: "The restoration of the mighty iron ship Wavertree is a triumph for the Seaport Museum, for New York, and for the nation. These ships, once common along South Street and countless other waterfronts in the world, are now all but gone. But for hundreds of years it was ships like this one that were the engines of commerce, of immigration, and of the interchange of culture, of language, and of ideas. Today, Wavertree is the last of her breed. Her power comes not in her origin story, but in her very existence today. She is a potent symbol of a connected world, one that became dramatically smaller with the advent of ocean transportation.

"And what's more, this restoration is absolutely unprecedented. No ship of her type has ever been so thoroughly gone over in restoration. The project team solved numerous engineering and preservation challenges, effectively assembling a 19th-century shipyard crew in 21st-century New York. Riggers and shipwrights came in from Maine, Massachusetts, and Texas. Naval architects and marine engineers referenced shipbuilding texts from the Elizabethan era. And a team of great skill cooperated amazingly with our city counterparts in the excellent execution of a truly unique project."

The awards will be presented at the Preservation League's Awards Ceremony in New York City at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10th at the historic New York Yacht Club, 37 West 44th Street.

The complete list of award winners is: Phoenix Brewery Apartments, Buffalo; Beekman Hotel and Residences/Temple Court, New York City; A. Philip Randolph Houses, Phase One, New York City; South Street Seaport Museum: the 1885 sailing ship Wavertree, New York City;

Rouge Tomate Chelsea, New York City; Marriott Syracuse Downtown (formerly Hotel Syracuse); Pickens Hall & Opera House, Heuvelton; Argos Inn, Ithaca. Ruth Pierpont, the former Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation and the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, will be honored for decades of service to the cause of historic preservation in New York State.

"With our annual awards program, the Preservation League explores not just the present, but the future of historic preservation. Many of the 2017 award winners provide valuable examples for others by incorporating energy efficiency techniques, adaptive reuse strategies and use of Federal and State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits," said DiLorenzo. "Each year, we are impressed by the number and variety of laudable nominations, and this year was no exception. We are delighted to celebrate the rebirth of the 1885 sailing ship Wavertree, and to commend all members of the project team for their leadership and vision."