REBIRTH of the WYOMING
Y ou can’t help but notice The Wyoming’s front end if you’re traveling Washington Street.
Toward the Kennebec River, a steel reproduction of its stern rests on a granite block, facing the appropriate direction.
On the same grounds where men began this city’s shipbuilding heritage, the bow replica of what in 1909 was the world’s largest wooden sailing ship also commands attention.
Woolwich-based Reed & Reed Construction Inc. is filling in the missing pieces — six, 120-foot masts — and the approximately $2 million project to refurbish the replica of the Wyoming, in the works at the Maine Maritime Museum for more than a decade, is near completion.
“It will be the largest public work of art in New England,” said Dave Garrison, director of marketing and communications at the museum. “It’s been a long time coming. There are people who were instrumental in making this project possible who are no longer with us. The Board of Directors wanted to commemorate the only remaining shipyard of its kind in the United States.”
Reed & Reed’s arrival was much anticipated.
“The masts are really going to tie those two together,” Garrison said. “It’s also going to give it height.”
On the museum grounds, four white buildings remain from what was a wooden shipyard that closed in 1920.
Garrison pointed to the grounds, and then to the river, as he spoke of the launching of what was the largest wooden schooner ever built — 450 feet from jib-boom tip to spanker-boom tip.
“The ways were right there,” Garrison said. “That’s where they launched it into the river.”
The Wyoming was the last six-masted schooner ever built on the East Coast. It hauled coal along the New England coast until 1924, when it sank off Monomoy
The June 1 event will be free to the public, and open at 9:30 a.m. The public is invited to bring lunches, and enjoy the scenery on the museum grounds. Schooner Fair will provide music for an expected crowd of more than 1,000.