- The Washington Times - Friday, October 6, 2000

Cannon fire broke the calm setting of the Anacostia River last night, as guns from the Californian officially marked the beginning of the fund-raising effort to bring a tall ship permanently back to the Washington area.
When completed, the Spirit of Enterprize will be a major cultural addition to Southeast and the onboard culmination of several months of in-school lessons for children. The ship will take classes from the fifth grade and higher on overnight trips on the Anacostia River to teach them firsthand about the conditions of an earlier era.
National Maritime Heritage Foundation board member Scott Traux describes the project as a cultural and educational "ambassador" to the area. "The District is eager to see us progress," he said.
The group hopes to raise the estimated $3 million cost for the Enterprize from corporate sponsorships, donations and grants. It expects construction to be completed in less than five years.
On weekends, the Enterprize will be staffed by volunteers and provide sail training for people interested in what it was like to sail the tall ships of old.
In addition to the ship, there are plans for a late-18th-century shopping area to be constructed around the berth of the Enterprize along the Anacostia, although the site has yet to be determined and more funding will be required for it.
Historical re-enactors from the troupe Ship's Company will be in attendance on weekends to add a feeling of authenticity.
The inspiration for Spirit of Enterprize was conceived when the USS Alexandria, which had been berthed in Alexandria at Founder's Park, was sold in 1996 and subsequently sank in open waters on its way to North Carolina, leaving the area without a tall ship.
For the past four years, members of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation, along with the Earth Conservation Corps in Anacostia and Ship's Company have been cooperating to iron out administrative details, such as the varying standards of learning among the area's schools.
The Spirit of Enterprize also anchors the National Capital Bicentennial Commission's celebration of the District's anniversary.
"I think this project is going to be a major part of the city's revitalization," Commission President B.J. Gerber said.
The design of the ship will be based on the Navy schooner Enterprize, authorized by an act of Congress in 1798 and built in Maryland. It will be 140 feet in length have capacity to carry 49 persons, a class of students plus an adult crew.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide