Mary A. Whalen gets new and national recognition!

WE ARE EXCITED!  We applied to The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (SHPO) to see if the Mary A. Whalen were eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and she is!

vintage photo of Mary A. Whalen when she was the S.T. KiddooWe've always said that we wanted to secure a lease before we could justify trying to raise money for the ship (please pick up the pace on that lease, EDC!) but enough things had aligned for us to start moving on getting recognition for the ship.

A first move to be eligible for major funding is to have the Mary Whalen become a NYC Landmark, on the National Register of Historic Places or "be deemed eligible to be on the National Register" a sort of interim status that implies significant documentation work in and of itself.

Many thanks to one of our spring interns Stephanie Ortiz,  an Architect in training from Puerto Rico and a Historic Preservation student at Pratt for helping to translate the preservation concepts, digging up the official guide on how to do this, doing additional historical research, and contributing to the whole process.

The process was itself gratifying because we came to realize how much information we had accumulated on the ship since 2005!

She came to PortSide with no history. Nada. Not even awareness of her role in the major Supreme Court decision US vs Reliable Fuel.

Tom Rinaldi, a young history buff working for the Central Park Conservancy, told us about the case around 2007. (This reveals how much more data has been uploaded and is now findable by google than in 2005).

We were able to fill in some gaps in our information via rushed consultations with Charlie Deroko, Norman Brouwer, Gerry Weinstein of Archive of Industry and Steamer Lilac. As Norman has helped write some of the national guides to ship preservation, his help was a real boost. Thanks to all of you!

We will be sharing some of what we learned from them in upcoming posts...

We pulled it all together and  SHPO reviewed our application in record time and wrote back "Great application!" They said they were pleased to hear from us, adding "we've been watching the Mary Whalen." 

Read their Determination of Eligibility letter here and check out her history page.  

The Mary Whalen's eligibility for the National Register increases funding opportunities and visibility for the ship, for PortSide and for Red Hook.

We have related news of PortSide's 2011 summer youth employment program to do restoration work on the Mary Whalen. You can support that via crowdrise. More on that soon!

Save a lighthouse? Buy a lighthouse?

Want a lighthouse? 

See correspondence just in from the GSA about Romer Shoal Light and Great Beds Lighthouses (posted with their approval)

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 8:00 AM
Subject: Romer Shoal Light and Great Beds Lights - GSA offshore auctions

Dear Portside:

Your programs sound very interesting. -

sending this information along in the off chance your membership might be interested in these historic lights, offshore near the border of NY/NJ waters... they are available under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA) via online auction.  Thank you.
..(See attached file: Great Beds IFB Final.pdf)(See attached file: Romer Shoal IFB Final.pdf)


US General Services Administration

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 8:56 AM
Subject: RE: Romer Shoal Light and Great Beds Lights - GSA offshore auctions

Good to hear back from you!  I found your site while I was looking for maritime programs in NY and NJ...  - there has been so little interest in these two offshore lights, I am concerned and want to let more maritime people know about the auctions.  We will keep the auctions going as long as we have some bidders!  I had thought by now there would be some...(Usually, people do not start bidding until we have had an offshore inspection - but to do that, I need people to register!  I have only one person who has registered so far for Great Beds and no one for Romer, disappointingly.)

As a nonprofit, you may know like-minded organizations who might be interested in other lighthouses:  Starting on June 1, 2011 for 60 days, GSA will be contacting nonprofits about several other offshore lights in NJ and NY  - The  Federal government offers these historic lights out first and foremost for stewardship by nonprofits, museums, or schools or cities or towns at no cost.  Nonprofits need to apply for them, and be recommended by the Dept of the Interior, National Park Service.  My agency is in charge of outreach and also deeding once the applicant has been approved.  This year, we are offering Race Rock and Orient Point lights in New York to nonprofits and public entities, as well as Brandywine Shoal, Ship John Shoal and Miah Maull in New Jersey.  All offshores.

It is only when we can't find a steward that we sell them.. (i.e. Great Beds and Romer are at the selling stage)

Yes, please put me on the e-newsletter... Thank you..