Rally Aims to Save Historic Ship The Shawnee

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There's a rally in front of the Ferris Wheel at the Balboa Fun Zone Saturday afternoon to save the Shawnee.

That's not Shawnee, as in American Indians, but The Shawnee, an old wooden ship that a fellow named Dennis Holland has been restoring for years in front of his Newport Beach home, something the city has asked him to stop doing.

To give this story its due, we have to back up, way up, to 1916, when the family that the city of Fontana was named after had the ship built in Boston. It later passed through the Panama Canal before settling in California, took third place in the first TransPac race to Tahiti in 1924, and was put into serving patrolling the Golden State's coastline during World War II.

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Photo by Jamaica Rose/SaveShawnee.com
Dennis Hollard gives a tour of The Shawnee restoration to the grandson of previous owner Allen Adler, Danny.
Over that time, The Shawnee passed owners, and it had fallen into disrepair by the time the man who owned it since 1954, Allen Adler, died 10 years ago. Half sunk in her mooring already, maritime officials discussed finishing the job for her.

Enter Holland, who had built The Pilgrim of Newport in his backyard. That ship, which is docked by the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, now goes by The Spirit of Dana Point. With the City of Newport Beach's blessing, Holland years ago moved The Shawnee to his home to begin restoration. Unable to afford workmen, he's been doing the massive job mostly himself.

Fast forward to the present day, and neighborhood complaints have mounted about The Shawnee being an eyesore and reducing property values. The City Council recently informed Holland he has until April 30 to move the project, or he'll face fines that can reach $1,000 a day and possibly jail time. You don't even want to know what they do to boat restorers behind bars in Newps.

And so, we come to Saturday's 3 p.m. rally aimed at building support to let Holland finish re-building The Shawnee. Next up after that is a planned appearance at Tuesday's 7 p.m. City Council meeting.

Here's the Save The Shawnee Facebook page. For more on the conflict, check out this ripping Newport Beach Independent overview. Also take a look at YouTube videos here and here.

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8 comments
Shanghai Brown
Shanghai Brown

The Shawnee is a rare, historic wooden ship.  I know a lot of shallow OC suburbanites that live in McMansions I consider horrific eyesores and blights upon the landscape, can't stand seeing something that doesn't look like it was perfectly molded out of plastic in their neighbor's yard, but I consider them to be the ones with a problem, not someone like Dennis Holland, who is a talented shipwright (a rare talent that should be supported, not fined and bullied).Dennis has battled cancer and that's slowed him down on the restoration.  Newport Beach is imposing a permit on him after the fact, when he really should be grandfathered in, especially for a historic vessel).The City of Newport Beach should support Holland's restoration as a way to resolve this situation and get the Shawnee back in the water.  Oh, and Jeff, Holland has the oldest house on the street.  In other words, he's lived there longer than the folks in the McMansion complaining about the wooden ship that's probably been there since before they built their suburboshack.

909Jeff
909Jeff

You can see it on Google earth and street view... Its pretty effing ugly and go figure he has the shittiest house on the street.  Even in the IE we have city ordinances that make it illegal for your RV or Boat visible from the street.  Mostly to keep cousin skeeter and his family of miscreants from living in the front yard...  

909Jeff
909Jeff

And?  Just because you have lived their longer doesn't give you license to have a huge ass runned down boat next to your house or a barn with broken windows or a pile of chopped wood in your front yard or dead grass.... All that tells me is he has no respect for his neighbors. I'm an original owner in my subdivision... bought brand new from the builder.  Does that give me more rights than someone that moved in last week?  Didint think so. 

Edit to include I admire his tenacity to overcome his illness and work on this boat and I would love to see it restored and in the water.. But at some point it has become a problem for the neighborhood and he should probably work on it elsewhere. But I haven't lived in NB for 16 years so who am I to judge..

mitch young
mitch young

C'mon Jeff, don't tease us like that -- give us a link!

mitch young
mitch young

Is that his woodpile, or the neighbors.

I'm not much for rallying -- but I wonder if he is looking for some volunteer help. I'm no marine architect, but I can plane boards or pound nails or whatever.

mitch young
mitch young

Oh, I guess that's his woodpile--and barn.

Look if the city approved the barn, and that goddawful pseudo-craftsman meets Irvine tract home two doors down, I think they have way bigger problems keeping 'the character of the neighborhood' than that old boat.

mitch young
mitch young

Thanks, Brougham.

Actually I don't think it's that bad -- it's not like it's blocking anyone's view. The guy right next door might have cause to complain about sunlight being blocked -- but it looks like he has some junky woodpile in the front yard. Actually, it's kind of cool to see old OC neighborhoods, without anal CCR's and local 'Bobbi Dooley's' around.

And why oh why can't current tract home architects emulate the mid-Century ones who designed these low slug ranch homes-- and produce simple, elegant houses instead of the beige monsters with 4 or six useless -- and misaligned -- gables.

But I digress. The city should give him 6 months or a year to show some real progress or get the think out of there. It looks like a good hull from your link -- unlike from the picture above. Be a shame to see in turned into kindling. 

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