Built in 1895, the C.A. Thayer was part of a mighty fleet of sailing schooners that carried lumber along the Pacific coast. A century later, the Thayer was still afloat, but just barely. To save the National Historic Landmark ship and her history – and continue her latest incarnation as a hands-on teaching tool for kids in the Bay Area – the National Park Service began a project unprecedented in the history of modern maritime preservation. After a laser scan documented the hull’s shape, workers carefully dismantled the 156-foot long ship by hand to expose the rotted “ribs” underneath. And then they re-built her, piece-by-piece. Back at her Hyde Street Pier home, the Thayer is now structurally sound and watertight and being readied to sail once again. Park superintendent Kate Richardson can’t wait. “We have preserved a vital piece of American history and breathed life back into the hopes and dreams of those who lived on, for, and by the sea,” says Richardson. “Thayer is a legacy of opportunity and independence that I am proud to pass along to future generations.”
Today, the National Park Service preserves more than 27,000 historic structures in national parks as tangible reminders of our nation’s past – making America’s Best Idea even better.