It has already been a busy and productive summer for the Nantucket Lightship/LV-112. Earlier this summer, the United States Lightship Museum (USLM), the non-profit owner of the vessel, negotiated an long-term home with the Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina (BHSM) in East Boston. The BHSM had been donating dock space to the Lightship since the USLM brought the ship to Boston in early 2010. Since that time, the USLM has been seeking a long-term home somewhere in the Boston Harbor, an effort that we had been helping them with as part of our Treasure work. This new agreement solidifies the Marina and the USLM’s good working relationship and ensures a lasting home for the LV-112. The Lightship is, and now will continue to be, an exciting addition to the East Boston waterfront.
In June, the National Trust’s Board of Trustees met in Boston, and many of the attendees wrapped up the meeting with a tour of the Lightship. Led by the USLM’s President, Robert Mannino, Jr., the Trustees were treated to a comprehensive tour. A fortuitous coincidence occurred during the visit. A former crew member of one of the LV-112’s successor ships, the Nantucket Lightship WLV-613, happened to visit for a tour. He shared personal stories about what it was like to serve on a lightship, which greatly enriched the tour.
In fundraising news, the USLM has also had made progress. They recently received the donation of a large steel docking barge from McAllister Towing & Transportation Co., Inc. Based in New York City, McAllister Towing & Transportation is one of the oldest and largest marine towing and transportation companies in the United States. The USLM also received a substantial donation from H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest. Mr. Lenfest is also passionately committed to helping other historic preservation and educational initiatives such as the SS United States and the newly designed American Revolution Museum in Philadelphia, PA. His gift will be used to underwrite a significant portion of the plumbing and heating systems’ restoration. With functioning heating and plumbing systems, the USLM will have the ability to expand their educational programming to year round (it’s currently limited to the warmer months), and will be able to have full-day programming. Finally, the USLM was required to make upgrades to the dock at which the Lightship is berthed to comply with U.S. Coast Guard regulations. The estimated cost is about $30,000, of which they needed $10,000 immediately as a deposit. With the help of an Intervention Fund Grant from the National Trust, as well as private donations, they USLM met the initial fundraising goal and the dock will receive much-needed repairs.
Throughout the summer, the Lightship is open to the public for tours on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, so if you find yourself in Boston, make plans to visit. To make a donation for the LV-112’s restoration, visit www.nantucketlightshiplv-112.org/.