News


February 2017 | Surveying the Deckhouse


Earlier this month, the SS Columbia Project crew met with our marine surveyor and naval architect aboard the boat to survey the condition of the deckhouse as the next step in planning the type of stabilization that will be needed to prepare Columbia for her transit from Buffalo to New York. We have also added a new item to our shop – postcards of our six commemorative and collectible designs featured on our posters.



January 2017 | Planning the Rebuild


This month, project manager Ann Loeding and port engineer Gary Matthews met with the Hudson River Maritime Museum’s director Lisa Cline and master shipwright Jim Kricker to discuss Columbia‘s restoration. Jim is the director of the Riverport Wooden Boat School, which is part of the Hudson River Maritime Museum, and is located along Rondout Creek in Kingston. The school strives to bring traditional wooden boat building and modern marine crafts together for the benefit of the local and regional community, especially teens.



December 2016 | Awarded $48,500 from New York State Council on the Arts


We certainly had some things to celebrate this holiday season! Earlier this month, we received a grant from New York State Council on the Arts in support of our 2017 programming. This funding is for a “River Story Barge” — a traveling arts and culture celebration of boats, cargo, people, ideas and how they all came together to influence the region’s waterways. The celebration will be a pilot project for the design of arts and cultural programs aboard Columbia. Additionally, Advisory Sam Buchanan was featured in the Detroit Free Press for making incredible ship models and Geddy Sveikaukas, of the Kingston Times, reported on our plans for Columbia and her unique connection to the civil rights movement.



October 2016 | All Aboard


This October, SS Columbia Project advisory board members met aboard LILAC and were given a fantastic tour by Mary Habstritt. The LILAC, owned and operated by the non-profit Lilac Preservation Project, is a retired 1933 Coast Guard cutter and the last steam-powered lighthouse tender in America. Advisors, board members, and friends also enjoyed drinks aboard Grand Banks this month. This celebrated oyster bar aboard a historic schooner on the Hudson River was the perfect setting in which to raise a glass and raise some funds.



September 2016 | A Fireboat Filled with Students


 On September 9, 2016, the SS Columbia Project traveled upriver from New York City to Kingston on the historic 1931-built fireboat John J. Harvey. The trip introduced students from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and NYU’s Tandon Engineering School to the Hudson River. The urban design students from Columbia are looking closely at planning issues in Poughkeepsie. The students from NYU are part of Design for America, and have chosen Columbia as their semester-long project.


August 2016 | Onboard in Buffalo


Port Captain Ann Loeding and her crew have been hard at work this summer cleaning up in the engine room and stabilizing the main deck and ballroom for Torn Space Theater’s BURDEN, a site-specific theater piece featuring Columbia and the adjacent ‘Marine A’ grain elevator. Over 800 people attended the performance and another 100 people took free public tours from 18-21 August. There haven’t been this many people on the boat’s decks since the 1990s. We can truly say that life is returning to Columbia!
 
For more photographs of the restoration work, the free public tours, and the theater piece, please visit our gallery or our Flickr page.



July 2016 | Summer Evening Aboard the Fireboat John J. Harvey


On July 20th, we spent a perfect summer evening aboard the Fireboat John J. Harvey. Advisory board member, and captain of the historic vessel, Huntley Gill took us around Manhattan for a behind-the-scenes look at the waterfront. You can read all about the adventure in this Untapped Cities article by Michelle Young. We also celebrated 114 years since Columbia‘s first passenger voyage with a Ballroom Series event featuring Detroit-themed fare, generously hosted by Ian Danic and Chris Arnett.


June 2016 | Featured in The Progressive and The Classicist Blog


The month of June has seen a whirlwind of press – including our own! Our most recent newsletter featured an interview with Ann Loeding, Restoration Coordinator and Port Captain, that describes some of her considerations when restoring Columbia. To read this interview, please click here. The Institute of Classical Architecture and Art interviewed our Executive Director, Liz McEnaney, about Columbia’s classical details and restoration in their Classicist Blog. Advisory board member Ron Soodalter’s article about Sarah Elizabeth Ray and her historic court case, entitled “All Aboard: The Fight Against Segregation on Bob-Lo Island,” was recently featured in The Progressive.


May 2016 | SS Columbia Project in Brooklyn Heights


This month, the SS Columbia Project has been featured both in Brooklyn Heights and up the Hudson River! Nancy and Otis Pearsall introduced the SS Columbia Project to Brooklyn Heights with a fabulous Ballroom Series cocktail party at their home. The Project was also featured in an article by Alison Rooney of The Highlands Current titled “Project Hopes to Put Steamship Back on Hudson.”


April 2016 | Steamboat Speaker Series


We kicked off our inaugural Steamboat Speaker Series with a fantastic event featuring John Pollack, author of Cork Boat and expert on making seemingly unlikely vessels float. The event was generously hosted by The J.M. Kaplan Fund and documented by Stefanos Metaxas. For more information, and photos of the event, please click here.



March 2016 | SS Columbia Project in Curbed


The SS Columbia Project was recently awarded two matching grants totaling $10,000. Please help us match these funds by donating. Your contribution, effortlessly doubled, will allow us to shore up the main deck and ballroom. This month, SS Columbia Project was also featured in Curbed with a headlining article by Patrick Sisson.“How Preservationists Hope to Get 114-Year-Old Steamship Running Up The Hudson River” (March 15, 2016)  emphasizes how Columbia will reconnect people to a lost era of transportation.



February 2016 | SS Columbia Project in the Wall Street Journal


The SS Columbia Project was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal. Here is a link to the article “Effort to Restore the S.S. Columbia Tries to Gather Steam”(February 4, 2016). Reporter Melanie West writes that “the restoration efforts of the S.S. Columbia have buoyed other boat preservationists,” including the S.S. United States. Matthew Schulte, executive director of the Steamship Historical Society of America, remembers riding Columbia as a boy growing up in Detroit. “The boat ride was at least half the fun, he recalled. You could peer in the engine room, and families danced in the ballroom.”



January 2016 | Awarded $500,000 Matching Grant from New York State


We are pleased to announce that we were recently awarded a matching grant of $500,000 from New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund Municipal Grant program. We need your help more than ever to help us raise the match to get Columbia to the Hudson River!


December 2015 | Winter Preparation Underway


Our crew has been securing the decks and preparing Columbia for winter in the Queen City. This work included the removal of 40 yards of rotten temporary decking and framing on the upper decks; loading on replacement lumber and plywood; jacking and shoring the outer sections of the upper decks; installation of framing and temporary decking on the Hurricane Deck port side; installation of security fencing around the perimeter of the main deck; and enclosure of the engine room casing.