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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Michaels in Talbot County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Freedom's Figurehead

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

 
 
Freedom's Figurehead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 24, 2019
1. Freedom's Figurehead Marker
Inscription.  Where did such a big figurehead come from? A big ship? In this case, it was made for a relatively small vessel—the 88-foot schooner yacht, Freedom. Yacht designer John G. Alden never intended for Freedom to have a figurehead when she was built in 1931. But just before World War II, the schooner was given to the U.S. Naval Academy to train midshipmen in sailing. One of the captains of the vessel requested a figurehead, and the Academy's patternmaker, John M. Cook made a big one. After a few years, it was removed because it added 450 pounds to the bow and was vulnerable to damage.

Made c. 1950 by John M. Cook
On loan from the U.S. Naval Academy Museum

"...it was removed and placed in the Naval Academy Museum... Somehow some of the midshipmen entered the Museum where the Freedom figurehead was and rubbed their hands on the large bosoms for luck. One midshipman wrote his mother and told her what he did and the luck he had. Apparently his mother didn't agree. She wrote the Admiral a letter, and the Admiral's orders were, "Move it." So this is the reason the figurehead 'Freedom' is on indefinite
Freedom's Figurehead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 24, 2019
2. Freedom's Figurehead Marker
loan to the Maritime Museum."

From letter by carver John M. Cook to CBMM, 1984

 
Erected by Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
 
Location. 38° 47.233′ N, 76° 13.239′ W. Marker is in St. Michaels, Maryland, in Talbot County. Marker is on Cherry Street just west of Burns Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 304 Mill Street, Saint Michaels MD 21663, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. What's under your feet? (here, next to this marker); Deflecting the Enemy (a few steps from this marker); War in the Chesapeake (a few steps from this marker); Oystering on the Chesapeake (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Freedom's Figurehead (was a few steps from this marker but has been reported permanently removed. ); Navy Point Historic Houses (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Navy Point Historic Houses (was a few steps from this marker but has been reported permanently removed. ); Lost Overboard (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Michaels.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
 
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More. Search the internet for Freedom's Figurehead.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 5, 2019. This page originally submitted on August 25, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 43 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 25, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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