July 2012
In This Issue
Nautical Knots
Expanded Tours
View from the Bow: Events Calendar
View from the Stern: Franklin County in the Civil War
Volunteer Spotlight: Mark Parsley
Restoration of the Golden Ball
Paddlewheeler Plans
The Popham Building

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Welcome Aboard!

We are proud to introduce the newest member of our crew, James Anderson Floyd, who is 3 months old today.   He is the son of museum Founder George K. Floyd and Research & Education Director Augusta R. West.  James' maritime roots in Franklin County go back six generations to the riverboat captain Samuel Augustus Floyd, who first came to Apalachicola in the 1840s.

Staff Contacts



Research & Education Director



Operations Manager



Or call the museum at
(850) 653-2500

Feeling knotty


Volunteer Mike Vroegop's nautical knot tying class


Special thanks to Mike Vroegop for conducting a nautical knot tying class this month! 


Mike is a Captain with 28 years on the Tallahassee Fire Department.  He is a member of their Tactical Rescue Team, which utilizes ropes in some of their technical rescues.  


He began sailing as a teen in Miami, his hometown, on small sloops and later, Hobie catamarans in Biscayne Bay.  Mike's wife Robin is also a sailing enthusiast and valued museum volunteer.



Mike lends his expertise to the crew. 


A ship-shape cleat knot.


Mike and museum founder George Floyd demonstrate proper technique.



Crew member Michael Anderson ties one on.


Learning the ropes.

Photos of the Golden Ball



  Our second Herreshoff boat, generously donated by Jaime Canfield.

Note the leeboard, which provides stability to this shallow-drafted vessel.  Drawing less than 3 feet, she can get into estuarine and near shore waters that other boats of her size can't.

Captain James Canfield aboard Golden Ball.
Jaime's ideas for combining youth sail training with environmental education are inspiring. Golden Ball
will be a "floating classroom."



Stern view. We can't wait to get her sailing once again!



Expanded Tours!


In addition to our working waterfront and estuary tours, we have added new tours to St. Vincent Island, Little St. George Island, and new routes on our eco-tour.


We have also developed guides that detail the flora, fauna, and historic sites along the way. 


Captian Wes Hagler, our Certified Green Guide, reports that River Eco Tours, Out Island Excursions, and Sunset Cruises are still providing plenty of photographic opportunities. Birds and turtles have been out even in the heat of the day along with alligators from time to time. 


His favorite birds to watch have been the Swallow Tailed Kites and Ospreys when they are hunting and fishing respectively. Egrets, Herons, Kingfishers, Wood Peckers, and Mississippi Kites have also been dependable subjects. 


Our tours have provided recreation and education to hundreds of visitors and local residents. 


The Starfish Enterprise is equipped with tables, comfortable seating, and restroom.  Feel free to bring a picnic lunch, drinks, or snacks to enjoy on your cruise.  


Advance reservations are required by calling 
or booking online.


Join Our List


Heritage sets sail


Our flagship vessel is once again available for sailing excursions in Apalachicola Bay. Enjoy a half day, full day, or custom overnight charter.







View from the Bow: Events Calendar


Locals Go Free! 

Saturday, July 28


Attention, Franklin County Residents! Enjoy free trips and free museum admission on this special locals appreciation day! Choose from:


8 a.m.  Excursion to St. Vincent Island

1 p.m.  Estuary Eco-Tour

8 p.m.  Sunset Cruise


Pre-register by calling 850-653-2500, or stop by the gift shop to reserve your seat. Spaces are limited!  Bring your Franklin County driver's license or other proof of residency.



Maritime Archaeology in Northwest Florida

Friday, August 17 at 7 pm


Jason Burns, Maritime Project Manager at Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc., will be our featured speaker. Burns' work has included submerged cultural resources management and public education, 19th century merchant fleets, and their transition from sail to steam, and the expansion of world commerce by shipping nations after 1850. Join us for a shrimp boil on the docks following the presentation. Free.


A Sticky Situation: The Turpentine Industry in North Florida 

Saturday, September 1 at 7 pm 


Barbara Hines, Outreach Coordinator for the Florida Public Archaeology Network, will be presenting on the turpentine and naval stores industry in this region. Hines is a Registered Professional Archaeologist who specializes in historic archaeology, 19th and early 20th century. Her interests include the turpentine and lumber industry, specifically focusing on the social aspects of "camp life." Join us for a social event on the docks after the lecture.  Free.



doryView from the Stern


Franklin County in the Civil War


 It was the summer of 1861 when Union forces closed the port of Apalachicola, establishing the blockade with the USS Montgomery. The strategic importance of the port was threefold: the major industrial center at Columbus, Georgia, was positioned at the head of the navigable portion of the Chattahoochee River; the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River System was used to ship cotton from the tri-state area, fueling the southern economy; and Apalachicola was the third largest port on the gulf coast, with ties to international markets.   


Although no major battles were fought here, Franklin County has stories to tell about this fascinating period of history. We are currently in the process of acquiring both authentic artifacts and reproduction items for an exhibit about the presence of both sides of the conflict here. See the Volunteer Spotlight on Mark Parsley for more details on this exciting project.


doryVolunteer Spotlight


Mark Parsley 


Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, Mark Parsley was surrounded by Civil War era historical sites.  So it was natural for him to become a history buff and avid Civil War artifact collector. Luckily for us, Mark and his wife Natalie, who live in Union Springs, Alabama, bought a second home in Apalachicola's historic district earlier this year.

They fell in love with the area's amazing history, architectural preservation, and conservation ethic.  


In his native state, the Chesapeake Bay oyster industry has suffered.  A combination of over-harvesting, disease, poor water quality, and sedimentation has caused a drastic decline in the number of oysters.  This led to not only an economic loss, but also a loss of heritage. In fact, Mark says oyster tongs can be found in area antique stores as novelty items.  But in Apalachicola Bay they remain everyday tools of the trade.  Mark admires the sense of stewardship that protects our seafood industry from unsustainable practices and preserves this part of our heritage.  He notes that working waterfronts, which in many places have been replaced by development, are one of Franklin County's notable, living links to our heritage. 


Mark's passion for history led him to visit the museum several months ago.  He is now a valued volunteer, taking a lead role in developing our upcoming Civil War exhibit.


The exhibit will expand the breadth of our educational displays to more fully cover the area's maritime history.  It will showcase artifacts relevant to the blockade and occupation of Apalachicola.  These will come from three different sources. We recently partnered with the Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia, where the director has graciously offered to both donate and loan some very interesting artifacts; Mark plans to loan items from his personal collection, including an authentic sailor's canvas ditty bag; and Mark will purchase artifacts on the museum's behalf, utilizing his more than three decades of experience with the acquisition of such items.  He is currently searching for artifacts such as weapons and uniforms. Both authentic artifacts and reproduction items will be used to bring stories to life about the presence of both sides of the conflict in Franklin County. We are grateful for Mark's dedication and contagious enthusiasm. 


The museum is also organizing the first annual "Apalachicola Civil War Living History Weekend," scheduled for next spring, which will include demonstrations and re-enactments depicting historic events and elements of both military and civilian life here during the war. These will be held at multiple locations throughout Apalachicola, through a partnership of several organizations.


Wooden Boat Restoration
Golden Ball Arrives in Apalachicola 
The Golden Ball is a shallow-draft leeboard ketch designed by the renowned naval architect L. Francis Herreshoff, and built in 1962.  Herreshoff (1890-1972) is remembered for his classic yachts with graceful lines. His legacy includes designing for the Navy during World War I in addition to his racing and cruising yachts.  He also designed kayaks, canoes, and other small craft, and was the author of numerous articles and books, including The Complete Cruiser.

We first learned of the Golden Ball almost a year ago when her former owner, Jaime Cainfield, visited Apalachicola. Jaime had found the vessel in a classified ad in the back pages of Wooden Boat Magazine in 2003 and dreamed of turning her into a mobile classroom. He used the vessel for a youth sailing and education program at the Cortez Maritime Museum in Sarasota, Florida, but with the program no longer active and the vessel in need of substantial restoration work, Jaime approached us about donating her to the museum.


As our second Herreshoff boat, Golden Ball will complement the museum fleet well, as the slightly smaller, more agile counterpart to our flagship Heritage. She measures 46 feet overall, 40 feet, 9 inches on the waterline.  With a draft of just 2 feet, she is ideal for the shallow waters of Apalachicola Bay.  In fact, she was specifically designed for sailing on Florida's west coast. Golden Ball will be used for sail training and excursions throughout the coastal communities of Franklin County.


She has been placed just down Water Street from the AMM on the grounds of the Popham building for repair, where she will serve as a demonstration project in partnership with the City of Apalachicola and the Florida Communities Trust Stan Mayfield Working Waterfront Program. Museum staff and volunteers will begin a replacement of planks below waterline in the fall and winter months after completion of efforts on Jean Mary.  We are excited to have the Golden Ball as part of our fleet and hope that Jaime will remain involved and assist us in our educational sail programs.  We are grateful for his passion and stewardship in wanting to preserve this original, classic Herreshoff boat.  


Check out volunteer Robin Vroegop's videos on the arrival of Golden Ball, Part I and Part II. To get involved in the project, stop by the museum or email us.


Jaime Canfield with Golden Ball under sail.

Plans for a Paddlewheeler


Returning a paddlewheeler to the Apalachicola River and surrounding coastal waters has been part of our vision since the museum's refounding in 2007.  Paddlewheelers were first used on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River System to transport cotton from growers to international markets beginning in the early 1800s. They also carried passengers, mail, merchandise, produce, fertilizer, oysters, and other goods up and down the river, stopping at landings along the way.  The river was  the corridor of travel and trade for approximately a century, until railroad lines became more prevalent. As we revive commercial river travel, passengers will be able to experience this historic mode of travel first hand, and will have the opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of the area in a unique way.

 We began searching in earnest last year as our dock, which was specially designed with a 3 x5 railing system and support struts to accommodate this type of heavy steel vessel, was completed.  We had begun designing our own paddlewheeler with naval architect Kevin Kerwin and had a public forum as a planning session.  We conducted a survey of attendees on the types of amenities and trips they would be interested in.  As excitement continued to build in early May, we were presented with the opportunity to acquire an antique paddlewheeler, the Jean Mary.  

 The Jean Mary is a modern riverboat built to recreate the elegance and romance of the bygone era of intercoastal and river passagemaking. A prominent southern family commissioned the design by respected naval architect Jack Hargrave of Fort Lauderdale.  Designed to be an authentic reproduction steam powered vessel, she was constructed in Birmingham and launched in 1983 as Patty Gordon


We recently received the design drawings from the Hargrave Company, and they can be viewed on our website The nearly one hundred pages of engineering drawings and sketches include details of how to actually construct the steam engine power plant and compulsion system.   

The salon.


Her gracious accommodations include six luxurious staterooms with private baths, a gorgeous mahogany paneled salon featuring a working fireplace, elevator access to the upper deck for magnificent views, and a dining room with authentic touches such as brass hardware, antique chandeliers, and hardwood floors.  The Texas Deck offers seating for large groups. Click here to see video of this opulent vessel.


From trophies to tragedy


She logged many miles traversing the inland waterways of the Mississippi and went on to become a coastal cruiser, traveling to many steamboat regattas and events. We uncovered trophies, plaques, and award certificates from as far away as Charleston, South Carolina and Texas, thus demonstrating her ability to handle coastal waters. Along the way, her steam power plant was converted to a diesel hydraulic system, and she came to reside at the the St. Augustine-Jacksonville, Florida area, where she ran commercial charters.  Then, famed actress Debbie Reynolds fell in love with the boat and arranged for her to be acquired by the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum and transported to California. 


Then tragedy struck, and the elegant paddlewheeler sank at her slip during a storm in 6 feet of water. Quickly hauled out, she was recovered and her operational systems were largely repaired. But from there on she languished at a dock at Green Cove Springs on the St. Johns River. 


Then a miraculous thing happened, when Ken Klein, long time museum volunteer and master captain, happened to notice her at the docks and saw the opportunity. Ken did the initial diligence to determine ownership and current status of the vessel. When we first found her, she was a pitiful sight, where the signs of neglect were everywhere. With the info provided by Ken, we contacted the owner, Todd Fisher, son of Debbie Reynolds, and CEO of the Hollywood Museum.  


We felt that the Jean Mary could be recovered with the diligent crew at the AMM, and with the encouragement of Todd Fisher, things began to rapidly fall into place for a charitable contribution of the vessel to the AMM.   The title was transferred through U.S. Coast Guard paperwork in late April. We retained the services of a marine surveyor, identified by Ken Klein, in Jacksonville, who began to help us coordinate our haul out and renovation efforts to prepare her for travel to Apalachicola.


The good will and kindness which began with Ken Klein and continued with the charitable donation by Todd Fisher and the Motion Picture Museum continues to manifest with the enthusiasm and philanthropic support of everyone who is touched by this restoration project. As our marine surveyor was looking for haul out locations, he came across another charitable spirit in the form of Bronson Lamb, a longtime operator of St. Johns Boat Yard and other maritime facilities on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville. Bronson provided free usage of his tow boat, which transported the Jean Mary to his facility, and haul out and stowage on his 200 ton marine rail at cost. Bronson has enthusiastically assisted with renovation efforts and helped coordinate among museum staff, surveyor, and renovation contractors who will be performing a thorough renovation of the steel framed and hull and tankage and paddlewheel elements of the boat. 


In late May, a crew of seven from the AMM, including staff and volunteers, travelled for a three day work project to begin the renovation of cabin and wooden structures throughout the vessel. We also visited the Hargrave Yacht design team in Ft. Lauderdale to coordinate the digital scanning of the original design documents.


Future plans


Our marine surveyor is preparing a bid request package. We expect 6-8 firms to compete for the work, which will begin in the coming weeks, to complete the steel components. Once the steel work is underway we will be continuing our efforts on the electronics, mechanical, and woodwork and cabin and plumbing systems. We are hopeful that all key elements to allow passage from Jacksonville to Apalachicola will be completed by September, whereupon the Jean Mary will make passage from the St. Johns Boat Yard to the AMM docks.  The passage will go down the east coast Intercontinental Waterway, across the Lake Okechobee waterway, then up the west coast passage to Tarpon Springs. Once there, we will await calm weather to allow passage across the open gulf into Apalachicola.

The upper decks will provide excellent scenic views.

Upon arrival in Apalachicola, the Jean Mary, once known as Patty Gordon, will accept her third and final name, the Samuel A. Floyd, in honor of one of the original riverboat captains and entrepreneurs on the river system and great-grandfather of museum founder George Kirvin Floyd.


The Samuel A. Floyd will be kept at the museum docks while undergoing renovation of cabin and woodwork, etc. before making a grand opening to the public in the spring of 2013. After all renovations are complete, we plan to establish standing passenger service along the coastal waters and upriver on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Rivers to the maritime museum location at Chattahoochee and on to Columbus, Georgia, historic sister city of Apalachicola.


Donors and Sponsors


We would like to give thanks to many individuals and companies who have helped make this dream a reality: 


  • Ken Klein, who through some form of magic and miracle found the Jean Mary, or should we say, the Jean Mary found him so she could find her new home and return to her former beauty:
  • Todd Fisher, who from the first moments of our conversation, was an abundance of knowledge and enthusiastic support for the Jean Mary to find her home in Apalach. Todd, an electrical engineer by training, and staff from the Hollywood museum, restored the electrical systems after the sinking. He guided Ken and the surveyor through firing up the engines in the early days of Ken's due diligence, and has offered much counsel throughout the early stages of our planning of renovation efforts.
  • Bronson Lamb, who generously provided use of his tow boat for transport of the Jean Mary to his boatyard, along with haul out services and storage.
  • Hollywood Printing, who performed the digital scanning of the design drawings at cost.
  • Robert Monaco, who volunteered on our initial work crew.



The Popham Building

Local residents of Apalachicola may have noticed that the roof and siding of the historic Popham building have been repaired as our first efforts of a more complete renovation program that will support maritime trades in Apalachicola. 


Constructed in the late 1920s, the Popham Oyster Factory was a two-story oyster packing facility owned by William Lee Popham, oyster entrepreneur and first developer of St. George Island.  The facility and adjoining lot, where the Golden Ball will be restored, were both purchased with a grant from the Florida Communities Trust to support working waterfront programs. 


Our immediate plans, after getting a certificate of occupancy from Franklin County, are to make the building a facility for the display of traditional maritime craft of the  coastal areas surrounding Apalachicola.  In 2009, we commissioned a study by an historic renovation architect to prepare for a full renovation of the facility. The study suggested that the facility be moved to the lot next door, and have concrete supports installed.  This ambitious project would cost almost $750,000, and although will not be initiated anytime soon, we expect to be able to use the facility for displays. 


Ultimately it will house a wooden boat building facility as part of the historic working waterfront. The top floor may be used as a classroom and administrative office.