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Published: Thursday, 8/21/2003

Scout shines on museum ship

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The doors are off for the time being as he and some friends labor to strip away years of paint and the effects of weather and age to bring back the stateroom's aura.

By the end of the month, Scott hopes to have the doors back in place for a room that once carried privileged passengers on trips to Great Lakes ports.

He said the work is rewarding in part because he can sometimes think of what the ship must have looked like and the impression it made as it plied its route.

What is now a museum ship docked at International Park, was launched in 1911 and traveled the Great Lakes until it was retired in 1980. It was been docked and open for tours at the park since July, 1987.

Edward Goyette, executive director of the ship, said Scott's work in the stateroom, which is part of his Eagle Scout project, “is getting back 90 years of maritime history.''

One of the requirements to attaining an Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America is to plan and carry through a community service project.

Mr. Goyette said that those who traveled as passengers, weren't members of a ticket-buying public but “were invited guests.''

They likely were friends or were connected in some way to those who ran the companies that owned the 617-foot ship.

The junior at Sylvania Southview High School and some of his friends have been laboring in the room, with its adjoining bathroom, for a couple of weeks and probably will be there until the end of the month.

He figured there probably are seven coats of paint on some areas “and there are so many small fittings and spaces'' that it will take plenty of labor to return the room to its original state.

He took the doors home and said he went through 5.5 gallons of stripper to get down to the original wood.

The Fry youth pointed to paint spattered on an original oak locker and dresser, a built-in mirror, which needs new silvering, and then scraped paint from the porthole frame to show the gleaming brass underneath.

“I can't figure out why anyone would paint over brass,'' he said.

Even with portholes and the door open, there wasn't much air movement during a hot day recently while he and Southview classmates John Owed and Kris Godwin scraped away at the accumulation of paint that covered the stateroom's earlier luster.

Although it's hard work, he said he has a general interest in history and it's nice to know that he is restoring a portion of it.

The project came about after his father learned of the need for funds and volunteers for the ship.

“I contacted Mr. Goyette and the more I thought about it I decided this is what I'd like to do for my Eagle project,” he said.



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