Today's Featured Artifact is one of our favorite model boats - this beautiful model of a brick schooner. Over 100 years old, the model was originally owned by Captain Charles A. Hunt, an active yachtsman on the Hudson River, who owned an 80’ sloop named The Fearless. This model was donated to HRMM by Charles Hunt's’ granddaughter Elizabeth Brockway McCormack in 1985. The model is plank-on-frame and fully rigged. It's also larger than it looks, measuring 5'11" long, 16" wide, and nearly 5 feet (59") high.
The Brockway family had an extensive brickyard just north of Beacon (learn more about what's left of the Brockway Brickyards). The Brockway Brickyard was started in 1886 when Edwin Brockway purchased 70 acres just north of Beacon, NY. The village was named after the brickyard, which continued in operation as one of the largest in the Hudson Valley until it closed 1931.
This model is an example of a brick schooner. Used on the Hudson from 1830s-1920s, these types of schooners were a cost effective way to ship the heavy bricks from Hudson Valley brickyards to New York City and up and down the Eastern seaboard. Schooners and sloops specialized in heavy or bulky cargoes. Early in the century they transported grain, coal, ice, bluestone, bricks, cement, and even hay. Later in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the very heavy cargoes such as bricks, bluestone, and cement were the primary sail cargoes on the Hudson River. Requiring no fuel and carrying a non-perishable cargo, the only expense to operate them was the crew, which made them much cheaper than steamboats and tugboats. And unlike barges which needed to be towed and were not necessarily ocean-worthy, schooners could and did easily sail right out of New York Harbor and up and down the coast for deliveries farther afield.
If you'd like to visit this beautiful model, it is currently on display as part of our mini exhibit on the Hudson River brick industry in the East Gallery of the museum.
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This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
Hudson River Maritime Museum
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