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Governor Stone Returns to Apalachicola

April 22, 2010

The National Historic Landmark vessel the Governor Stone will travel from Panama City to Apalachicola to be on display at the 12th Annual Apalachicola Antique and Classic Boat Show.  The event runs April 23rd and 24th.  The vessel will arrive late on the 23rd and be displayed at the

Riverfront Park docks on the 24th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Governor Stone is a 65 foot, 2-masted, gaff-rigged gulf coastal schooner.  The vessel, built in Pascagoula, Mississippi in 1877, spent 13 of her 133 years in Apalachicola.  She now travels the northern Gulf Coast and is managed by the non-profit Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc.

The Governor Stone was renovated at The Boat in Ft. Walton Beach, and has been on display in Panama City as a part of the Historic St. Andrews walking tour since December 11, 2009.  After her stay in Apalachicola, she will return for a brief stay in Panama City and, while the remainder of her schedule has not been written in stone, as it were, she will soon be travelling to other communities along the Northwest Gulf Coast.  The mission of the Friends is to make the vessel available to the general public as a celebration of Gulf Coast history.  Those interested in bringing this fine old wooden vessel to your communities contact info@govstone.com.  For a complete schedule of the

Antique & Classic Boat Show go to www.antiqueboatshow.org or call (850) 653-9419.

About Governor Stone

National Historic Landmark

Built: Pascagoula, Mississippi, c. 1877
Length: 65′; 40′ at waterline
Beam: 13’2″
Draft: 3’; loaded 5’; with centerboard down 9’
Hull & Deck: Yellow Cyprus
Spars, boom & gaffs: Heart Pine

The Governor Stone was built by Charles Greiner as a cargo freighter for his chandlery business and named for the first post Civil War Governor of Mississippi. Governor Stone is the last survivor of a class of vessels once numbering in the thousands. It originally carried equipment and materials to deep-draft ships lying off shore, and hauled general freight between ports along the Gulf Coast. For 60 years this schooner was a fishing vessel and an oyster buy boat. It is rumored Governor Stone was a “rum runner” during Prohibition, reportedly offloading larger vessels from Cuba, making two trips per month and grossing $500 on each run.

During World War II it was operated as a training vessel for the Merchant Marine by the War Shipping Board.

Although sunk twice and twice beached by hurricanes, Governor Stone survived. The first beaching occurred during a storm in 1878 the year after Governor Stone was launched. The first sinking occurred on September 26, 1906, when a fleet of several schooners was caught by a hurricane in Herron Bay, Alabama. The Governor Stone capsized and the captain, Thomas Burns, was washed ashore clinging to a skiff, the sole survivor of the 22 men serving aboard the lost schooners. Thrust 300 yards inland in a marsh, Governor Stone was rolled back into the water on pine logs, repaired for $600, and put back into service carrying oysters from South Mobile Bay to markets in the city of Mobile.

photo courtesy of Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc.

Governor Stone’s sails were first augmented with a 16 horsepower outboard engine in 1923. This was replaced with a 50 horsepower Gray engine in 1940, a 110 horsepower Chrysler Marine engine in the early 1980s, and the current Perkins diesel in 1989.

Information courtesy of the Apalachicola Chamber of Commerce and Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc.

Photos courtesy of Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. John Easley permalink
    April 26, 2010 9:49 am

    Interesting story, I love hearing about these old working boats and how they progressed to present day.

  2. Bruce Skelton permalink
    May 3, 2010 3:04 pm

    Maybe if we’re lucky she want get her bottom re-tarred.

  3. May 3, 2010 3:34 pm

    Hopefully she want get re-tarred.

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