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Out with the Old, In with the New

Out with the Old, In with the New

     The Dove sailed with the Ark to land English on New World soil in 1634. The original Dove was lost at sea during a return voyage to the motherland. The Maryland Dove most of us have seen at Historic St. Mary’s City’s is a popular reimagining. Built in 1977, it has hosted some 500,000 visitors, allowing them to better envision how the first English settlers lived at sea.

         This Maryland Dove is not a replica but a representation of an early 17th-century merchant ship. She was built as a compromise between economy and history.

         We now know that the 140 passengers and their belongings were probably all aboard the much larger Ark, estimated to be 137 feet long on deck. The original Dove, about 54 feet long on deck, was a ship for support and exploration more so than transport.

         At 40 years old, the Maryland Dove is an expensive piece of work. With timbers rotting and equipment needing replacement, the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission budgeted $5 million to build a new ship. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels will be the builder.

         The new ship is not creating a burden on taxpayers but replacing an educational tool that has lived out a long and useful life, according to ­Regina Faden, executive director of Historic St. Mary’s City.

         As work gets underway, watching its construction will be a new attraction at the popular St. Michael’s museum, according to Kristen Greenaway, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum president.

         The new ship will be closer to the size and shape of the original Dove. It will also meet Coast Guard safety standards for carrying passengers.

         Construction is anticipated to begin by mid-year. The launch of the new Maryland Dove is targeted for 2021.