ST. ANDREWS, Fla. (WMBB) — A historic ship that was damaged during Hurricane Michael is finally on its way to being restored.
The 144-year-old Governor Stone was officially moved on Saturday which marks the beginning of a restoration project.
“It has finally happened and we are so excited. It was great watching the neighbors come out to see everybody. We’ve got people from the friend’s group for the Governor Stone, we’ve got the team of Stone Loft and today marks the beginning of the rebuild process,” Friends of the Governor Stone Inc. President Colleen Reilly said.
The historical schooner was moved from Watson Bayou to St. Andrews Elementary School to be rebuilt at the pavilion at the school.
Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc. has spent the last three years raising $150,000 to obtain a $1.5 million dollar FEMA Historical Grant to rebuild the boat.
“It is really exciting because you’ve gotten a national historic landmark like the Governor Stone being rebuilt at a national historic landmark, St Andrews Elementary School, and we are also on the walking tour for the national historic landmark the Panama City Publishing Museum so there’s a lot of history with that,” Reilly said.
Stone Loft will open up certain work days for the community to watch the rebuilding process and even get their hands dirty.
“Pick up a piece of sandpaper, grab a couple of blocks, it’s huge to be part of history especially when the hurricane destroyed it and we didn’t know if we were going to be able to recover it and put it back so that other generations can enjoy it,” Reilly said.
The Governor Stone will turn 145 years old in October they are hoping to have the Governor Stone back in the waters next year.
The ship has been wrecked four different times so this will give it its 5th life.
“Because it’s such an old piece of history, it’s such a beautiful thing that it’s been kept alive this long,” Stone Loft Boat Shop Community Outreach Coordinator Megghan Mcdougall said. “I think it’s very important for children to see things that have outstood the best of time and gone through so many different trials.”
They expect the Governor Stone to take around 18 months to rebuild.