October 8, 2020

This Week in Herreshoff History: October 8

Lots of construction at the plant through the years, the winningest catboat of 1877, several vacation cruises, torpedo boat contracts and business as usual

October 6, 1877

The half model from which GLEAM was built; currently on display in the HMM Model Room

The Bristol Phoenix reports that the 25' Herreshoff catboat GLEAM has won quite a few races! According to the Phoenix, this winning streak came as a surprise to local yachtsmen. According to the Phoenix at least, N.G.H. had apparently not yet cemented his reputation locally as an astute helmsman or designer of extraordinarily fast boats. More than a decade later in 1889, the catyawl ALICE (HMCo. #405) was built to this same model. ALICE is still with us today - in fact, she is among the oldest boats in the collection and on display at HMM.

October 5, 1878

The steam yacht LURLINE is out and about, now a little speedier than before with her newly installed Herreshoff Coil Boiler. There are also quite a few mentions of the Herreshoff name in “new buildings and improvements” column in the Phoenix, with lots of construction going on in and around the HMCo. campus in Bristol. Bristol locals may know that the Herreshoff's were property owners and HMCo. built a number of boarding houses for workers along Burton and Howe streets.

October 6, 1883

Construction of N.G.H.'s home, Love Rocks, is almost finished according to the Bristol Phoenix. Love Rocks was located on the water between the HMCo.'s main construction shops and what would later become HMCo.'s Walker's Cove facility. One distinctive feature was N.G.H.'s personal boathouse adjacent to the house, which housed several of N.G.H.'s personal (and iconic!) small boats including RIVIERA and COQUINA (HMCo. #404).

BUBBLE (HMCo. #285) passing by Love Rocks, center. N.G.H.'s boathouse appears at the right, and HMCo.'s South Construction Shop can be seen on the left; image from the HMM photo archive

October 4, 1884 

The Bristol Phoenix reports that J.B.H. and John F. Smith have returned from a cruise up the Hudson. Must have been a lovely time of year to be Upstate!

October 4, 1895

The town of Bristol is "on the advance." The Phoenix cites government contracts at HMCo. as well as the expanding plant as two of the reasons Bristol can anticipate "excellent prospects for business and enterprise" in the coming years. HMCo. also gets a visit from CUSHING (HMCo. #152) and a number of torpedo station officers.

CUSHING (HMCo. #152); image courtesy the US Navy archives

October 6, 1899

The Phoenix reports the untimely death of an accomplished HMCo. machinist due to "pulmonary trouble." Charles W. Tirrell must have been well regarded locally to receive such a lengthy obituary in the Phoenix at that time. According to the Phoenix, Tirrell had been a machinist at HMCo. for 12 years after immigrating to the U.S. from England in 1887 at 21 years of age. He left a wife and infant behind.

October 5, 1900

J.B.H. returns from another cruise! This time aboard one of the many EUGENIA's (probably the third, HMCo. #205 - there were four in total). This time he was accompanied by his wife on their trip to Hartford, Connecticut.

EUGENIA III (HMCo. #205), probably photographed after 1902; image from the HMM photo archive