Guest Author - Sharon Bejin
This year Minnesota celebrates its 150th Anniversary of statehood. Throughout the year many events will be held to recognize their special year. This weekend Duluth is hosting the Maritime Heritage Festival. During the event, tourists will get a first hand look at three older ships that are coming into port. These ships will be on tour at various ports in the United States and Canada.
The arrival of the US Brig Niagara, Madeline, and the Pride of Baltimore II, will give visitors the opportunity to step back in time. Both the Niagara and Pride of Baltimore II are replicas of the clipper ships dating back to 1812. At that time, clipper ships were used in the war against Britain. The clipper ships were built to haul cargo long distances. Back then they were considered to be ships that moved at a high rate of speed. They were also easy to maneuver in large bodies of water. Clipper ships have three masts that rise high above the ship's body. The brigs, as in the US Brig Niagara, carry numerous guns. These clipper ships were popular with pirates; we see these ships in the movies.
The replicas of both the US Brig Niagara and the Pride of Baltimore II were built in the 1988. The only part of the ship that is modern is the navigation system. Efforts were made to keep the ship as original as possible to give tourists a true sense of what these ships were like back in the 1800s. The replicas of both ships are the same length as the originals: the US Brig Niagara is 198 feet in length and the Pride of Baltimore II is 157 feet long. The original US Brig Niagara sank in Presque Island in 1820. The original Pride of Baltimore sank in 1986 off the coast of Puerto Rico.
The Madeline is a replica of a 1840s commercial freighter and the original Madeline sailed the Great Lakes. The Madeline boasts itself with 92 feet of ship, weighing 50 tons. The replica of the Madeline was launched in 1990. All of these ships will be available for touring while they are in port.
People can also choose to ride on any of the three ships. Food, music, and fireworks will also be available to visitors during Duluth’s Maritime Heritage Festival.