July 1, 2011 will mark the centennial of the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship, docked at International Park in Toledo.
In celebration, the Boyer, wearing her original Shenango Furnace Co. livery, will be rechristened to her original namesake, Col James M. Schoonmaker, by James M. Schoonmaker II and his wife Treecie, at the exact moment his mother Gretchen V. Schoonmaker christened the vessel 100 years earlier.
Also in attendance for the rechristening will be William P. Snyder III, grandson of the vessel’s original owner William P. Snyder, who was best friends with the colonel and thus named his flagship after him.
The christening will officially mark the beginning of the three-day Centennial Celebration and the downtown Toledo Fourth of July festivities that will include a visit from the Privateer Schooner LYNX, an historic Toledo Club boxing event aboard the ship and the annual Red White Kaboom fireworks presentation, sponsored by The Blade.
In preparation for the celebration, a major restoration project is underway on the vessel, which will be the future centerpiece of the National Great Lakes Maritime Museum in Toledo. The Boyer project will mark the first major step toward the national museum’s creation, and demonstrates the a firm commitment by the Great Lakes Historical Society to the Toledo region, according to Carla Firestone, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority communications director.
The renovation began in February, when Precision Environmental of Cleveland, Ohio began utilizing the $200,000 U.S. EPA RLF Cleanup grant awarded to the City of Toledo last year.
The next phase began in April, when P&W Painting Contractors, in conjunction with Painters Local 7, began sandblasting and repainting the ship above the waterline.
Two major material sponsors for the project include PPG Marine Coatings, which will be donating nearly all of the coatings needed to complete the priming and top-coating of the vessel, and Harsco Inc., which will be donating all 130 tons of Black Beauty sandblasting media. Other sponsors include Warner Petroleum, Geo. Gradel Co., Seaway Scaffolding and Samsel Supply.
The James M. Schoonmaker Foundation and Great Lakes Historical Society will underwrite all associated expenses with the renovation process.
James M. Schoonmaker II, grandson of the vessel's original namesake, has donated $100,000 to the restoration effort through the James M. Schoonmaker Foundation.