By DullesMoms, June 2019
Soon, when making your family plans, you’ll be able to include a visit (and even a cruise) on a replica wooden tall ship!
As of July 1, 2019, the Tall Ship Providence will call the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria its home. Steeped in history, guests will be invited to board the ship and learn about 18th-century life on the sea, as well as the origins of the US Navy.
In addition to educational opportunities at the ship’s temporary visitor center (scheduled to open later this summer), you’ll also have the chance to enjoy tours, weekly cruises, meet reenactors, and more.
The original Providence was a merchant ship called Katy and owned by John Brown of Rhode Island, one of the brothers Brown University was named for. When Rhode Island decided to establish its own small navy to protect its merchant ships from British Navy captains, Brown chartered the ship to the colony to become the flagship of the tiny, two-vessel Rhode Island navy.
Later, when it became evident to the Continental Congress that they needed a Continental Navy, they authorized the purchase of Katy and another ship to start the fleet. They didn’t know, however, that Katy was on a secret mission for General George Washington at the time, searching for gunpowder in Bermuda. After returning from its mission, Katy sailed to Philadelphia, was renamed Providence, and became the fifth ship commissioned in the Continental Navy.
Providence went on to serve in the Continental Navy for four years and was one of the most renowned ships in the Revolutionary War.
This Providence reproduction was built for the American Bicentennial celebration in 1976 and has appeared in a number of tall ship festivals and several movies, including two of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. In 2014, the owner decided to sell the ship and had it under contract when the ship was heavily damaged by a winter storm in February 2015. The owner wisely hired a master shipwright to prepare a plan for its restoration so that potential buyers could see what the ship could be versus its current condition. At the same time, a group of local business leaders were talking about bringing a tall ship to enliven Alexandria’s waterfront and found Providence.
Stay tuned for details on when the Tall Ship Providence opens to the public. Connect and learn more about this unique opportunity here.
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