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Governor Stone receives funding for repairs

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 8:12 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) - After years of work, an iconic schooner who calls the St. Andrews Marina home is getting the funds to begin its road to recovery after Hurricane Michael.

The Governor Stone is the last surviving shallow draft Gulf Coast schooner that still sails that is still a working vessel, and it has a long and varied history. She was built in 1877 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and has spent time as a naval training vessel, an oyster buy boat, and even a rum runner (that only had to dump its cargo once.) She was moved to St. Andrews in 2013, where she remained until she was extensively damaged by Hurricane Michael.

“She was capsized, demasted, badly beaten in St. Andrews Marina, that’s her home port," said Colleen Reilly, President of the Friends of the Governor Stone. "It took us over a month to be able to salvage everything out of the water because her debris field went all the way down that sea wall, and there are still some pieces missing.”

After years of work to get funding, the organization recently discovered that FEMA’s historical division had given them a grant to restore the ship, but there is still work to be done to raise more money.

“FEMA required us to raise 10 percent of what is estimated to rebuild her," Reilly said. "So we have been working really hard since Hurricane Michael to raise that 150 thousand dollars. We are right at 130 thousand, so we have a little left to go.”

A search for a capable shipwright is currently underway. If you would like to learn more about the Friends of the Governor Stone, including about membership, you can visit their website here.

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