Jane Stevens Lines Details
In 2007 Maine’s First Ship celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Popham colony having constructed the 1/10 scale model of the pinnace Virginia. By 2008 Maine’s First Ship decided that it had neither enough money to complete Virginia, nor a site to construct her. The design was packed away into boxes and the organization mostly disbanded.
Soon thereafter an alternate plan was hatched by several member of the board including the shipwright Rob Stevens and members of the Education Committee including Merry Chapin. MFS would start small by building not the 54 foot pinnace Virginia, but an 18 foot shallop which would have been the ship’s boat. This became the “Shallop Project” run as a summer project by two teachers Ed Varny and Patty Irish, and a boat designer Will West. The construction and media work was done by high school students.
A site was found at the old Bath Freight Shed with the help of owner Howie Fitzpatrick. This was an old warehouse where the train met the ferry across the Kennebec. The building was in very rough condition which holes in the walls, floors, and roof. Work was called off one day because it was raining inside the freight shed. The students set up some displays in one corner to show visitors what they were doing. At the same time, a group lead by architect Wiebke Theadore was trying to save the Bath Freight Shed and make it into a community center. This became the Bath Freight Shed Alliance which in 2017 merged with Maine’s First ship.
This is the design of the shallop Jane Stevens, named after one of the founders of Maine’s First Ship. Will West drew these plans and then worked with the students to build and launch the boat. The Shallop Project was critical in restarting the building of Virginia.