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Piscataqua Watercraft Exhibit at Wentworth Lear Houses

Gundalow at Wentworth-Gardner MansionTHROUGH SEPT 5, 2014

This summer the Wentworth Lear Historic Houses invites you to “Water, Wood & Wind: Regional Craft on the Piscataqua.” This exhibit focuses on the history and construction of watercraft specific to the Piscataqua, including: the Piscataqua Wherry, the Whitehall Rowboat, the Merry Mac Sailboat, and the Gundalow. (Click title for details) 


An opening reception for the exhibition will be held at the Wentworth-Gardner House and grounds onThursday, July 10 from 6-8 p.m.This event is free and open to the public. The exhibition will be on display throughSeptember 5.


The Piscataqua River is known for having one of the fastest navigable tidal currents in the United States, making it necessary to design craft capable of handling swiftly running waters. This dynamic exhibit will consist of images, schematics, and artifacts related to examples of indigenous small craft that populated the Piscataqua. Installations of some of the boats themselves will be featured, such as the hard-working, yet graceful Piscataqua Wherry that filled the Piscataqua in the 1800s, serving as water-taxis. The Piscataqua Wherry was most likely the boat used by Louis Wagner to row out to the Isles of Shoals to commit the infamous 1873 Smuttynose murders.


Charles Woodbury Piscataqua River PMSP


A handsomeWhitehall Rowboat from Kittery Historical & Naval Museum will also be on display, as well as one of the region’s most sought-after vessels --- the nimble Merry Mac sailboat, designed by Ned McIntosh, and popularized during the 1950s. Models of the Gundalow, as well as related artifacts, and artistic renderings of local gundalows will tell the story of these flat-bottomed, cargo-bearing ships that dominated the region's waters through the early 1900s.


In conjunction with this exhibit on regional watercraft, WLHH will be raffling off a Bevin’s skiff. The skiff was donated by Tammi Truax and family. The Truax family built the skiff as part of the University of New Hampshire Marine Docent’s Family Boat Building program. The Bevin’s skiff is a twelve-foot, flat bottom, rowboat with beautiful lines. The four-foot beam allows it to safely carry two adults and a child. The skiff was constructed from marine grade mahogany plywood over a mahogany frame and transom. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase at the opening reception of “Water, Wood & Wind: Regional Craft on the Piscataqua.”



The lucky winner will be revealed onAugust 23at WLHH during the closing ceremonies of the Round Island Regatta.


About Wentworth Lear Historic Houses

Wentworth Lear Historic Houses is comprised of boththe Wentworth-Gardner House and the adjacent Tobias Lear House.Bothhomes date from the mid-1700s and are located at 50 Mechanic Street in the South End neighborhood of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. House tours are offered to the public,Thursdaythrough Monday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. through October and begin on the steps of the Wentworth-Gardner House every half hour. WLHH is dedicated to preserving and enhancing its structures, collections, and grounds, and contributing to the vitality of the community through education and outreach. For information,


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