A Maritime issue on the ballot!

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Key West Committee for Safer, Cleaner Ships
Advertising in favor of Key West ballot initiatives

Actually, the maritime issue isn’t on our Newport News ballot… it is on the ballot of Key West, Florida. However, the future of cruise ships in the world of Covid-19 may be on the minds of many citizens of port cities that welcome them.

Cruise Ships Face the Voters

This week I was on vacation in the Florida Keys — our first outing since the pandemic struck! I was very excited and pleased to get away from work (which I LOVE!) and the non-stop election coverage (which I love rather less). So when we arrived in Key West, I was taken aback to see the intersection of both the elections and my maritime life on signs all over town! Here is one of them:   Read more

Artifact of the Month – Steamboat Thomas A. Edison

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MD158A

Due to a busy schedule, I was unable to create an Artifact of the Month blog for February, but I will remedy that this month by naming our model of the steamboat Thomas A. Edison as Artifact of the Month for March!

Our model is currently in storage, but has been on display a number of times in the past, as recent as 2007.  We purchased it in 1968 from renowned model maker John Fryant.  The original Thomas A. Edison was built at Apalachicola, Florida by John Loftin, with a home port of Key West, Florida.  There is some question to the date as it is usually reported as 1904, but Merchant Steam Vessels of the United States reports it as having been built in 1901.

Thomas A. Edison spent her time ferrying passengers and cargo up the Caloosahatchee River until 1914, at which point she met her untimely demise.  At this time she was tied up at the Lee Company Packing House during low tide.  The packing house caught fire and, despite best efforts, they were unable to move the steamboat before the fire spread to her. While she was destroyed, her engines were salvaged and are now at the Ford Museum in Detroit, Michigan.

This is a sad ending for a lovely steamboat, but at least we have this beautiful model to remember her by.