“Seas” the day! The tall ship Providence, which is a reproduction of the original Providence, the first ship authorized to serve in the Continental Navy, arrived in Old Town late Monday night.
Visitors can now step aboard and learn about 18th-century life on the sea. Weekly sails, tours, craft brew cruises, private tours, and charters will take place on the ship. The ship also has a temporary Visitor Center, located at 1 Cameron Street, that provides a dynamic and interactive experience for visitors to learn about the birth of the U.S. Navy.
The original Providence was a merchant ship called Katy. Later, when it became evident to the Continental Congress that they needed a Continental Navy, they authorized the purchase of Katy and another ship to start the fleet. They didn’t know, however, that Katy was on a secret mission for General George Washington at the time, searching for gunpowder in Bermuda. After returning from its mission, Katy sailed to Philadelphia and was renamed Providence. Providence went on to serve in the Continental Navy for four years and was one of the most renowned ships in the Revolutionary War. For pop culture fans, this replication of Providence has also made its silver screen debut, appearing in blockbusters including the Pirates of the Caribbean.
“We are delighted to bring Providence to Alexandria. Providence will entertain, educate, and serve as an economic development vehicle for the city,” said Clair Sassin, executive director of the Tall Ship Providence Foundation. “We are looking forward to welcoming city residents and tourists alike aboard the ship.”
Providence has already become a staple in the local community. The Alexandria Seaport Foundation is thrilled to give two of their apprentices an immersive opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the crew. One apprentice is a graduate who has been working on the restoration of the ship, working and learning alongside the Providence’s shipwright for more than a year. Alexandria Seaport Executive Director Kathy Seifert says these apprenticeships have been, “a wonderful experience for them on so many levels.”