Maps, Ships and Architecture

The 2011 Spirit of Elissa Award

2011 Spirit of Elissa Award

2011 Spirit of Elissa Award


2011 Spirit of Elissa Award:

Charting a Course for the Future

Honoring F. Carrington Weems II

Presented by:

Galveston Historical Foundation

April 2, 2011 at 6:00 p.m.

Ashton Villa, 2328 Broadway

Galveston, Texas


For a video of this presentation, please click here.  The transcript of the video can be seen below:

Jamie White, is privileged to be the Director of Elissa, the prettiest three-masted barque on the planet, as well as Director of the Texas Seaport Museum.

W. Dwayne Jones, GHF Executive Director, introduces the foundation as “their roots tracing back to the 1870s, but reorganized back in 1954, mainly for the purposes of acquiring and owning property.  What we have been doing since the 1950s is we have owned a number of important properties in the City of Galveston, but maybe the acquisition of Elissa is the 1970s was one of the biggest steps for the organization to ever take.”

elissa earlyRobert Lynch, “The Elissa made two calls to the port of Galveston, and at that time, The Galveston Historical Foundation’s Peter Brink thought it would be a great idea to have a working ship here to tie into The Strand. In 1979, the Elissa arrived in Galveston.   I couldn’t believe what we had bought.  The ship had been converted over the years and at this point was a smuggling ship and she has been changed to such a point that unless you knew what you were looking at you would have never realized she was a sailing vessel.  (Fig 1: 1918: The Elissa as Gustaf).   Years, and many of millions of dollars later, the ship was finally restored and that was only due to the fact that many foundations throughout Galveston, Houston, and the State of Texas contributed the funds to make it happen.  And, it wouldn’t have happened without all of those people who came forward with their time and money.  And it’s very much like Carrington stepped forward to help with the development and the restoration and the funding and everything that makes the Elissa worthwhile.”

elissa girlW. Dwayne Jones expressed their excitement about being able to recognize Carrington Weems with the “Spirit of Elissa Award.”  He adds, “What is the Spirit of Elissa?  It is someone who brings a great entire vision and spirit to us, to the foundation, to the Texas Seaport Museum and to Elissa.  And, we really feel like Carrington was a really great choice this year because Carrington began with us around the same time I became Executive Director, about 4.5 years ago.  He came on very early and very quickly to help form the Elissa Maritime Society.  But, it wasn’t just his vision for the society, which would be there to support Elissa long into the future.  It was also his commitment to help us raise funds, to see the organization really focus on Elissa and on the Texas Seaport Museum, and all of the vision that he has as an individual person.  We are happy to honor Carrington; we think he is a terrific choice.  After you hear all of the wonderful things about him tonight, you will understand why he was chosen.”

William “Bill” Broussard reports from the office of F. Carrington Weems, “if you look around is really quite a maritime museum.”  Carrington, “Galveston is a wonderful city.  I saw on one of the tapes the other day that when you cross that causeway, you are in a different world.  You are in an incredibly beautiful historic small town.  I just love going there.  And, that’s really one of the reasons that I’ve gotten so interested in GHF.  And, of course, my interest in nautical things, maritime history, maritime objects, brings me to the interest I have in Elissa.

Bill Broussard:  “You said you started with an interest in maps because maps told you so much about the period and so much about the ships that sailed.  Can you tell me something about your map collection?  About it’s size and importance?”

Carrington Weems: “Well the map collection is reasonably unique.  It is certainly one the largest in Texas.  There were over 320 maps.  There are now 270 maps.  I had to sell a few of the maps to buy the ships.  I actually call the map collection, “The America of the Gulf.”

Bill and Carrington both thank each other for taking the time to meet.  Bill also thanks Carrington for everything he has ever done for GHF, for his contributions to Galveston and for being his friend for the last eight years.

Carrington Weems: “Since it was founded, The Elissa Maritime Society has been very popularly received.  And, I want to mention to all of the people who might be [reading] this that membership is open, and we have room for others, and would like to have some of you join the Elissa Maritime Society because it is a very distinguished organization and it is a lot of fun.”

Elissa Recently

Elissa Recently

Jamie White explains, “The Elissa as we know her today she delivers cargo, we have school groups coming aboard and learning about the maritime heritage of Galveston.  We have the Elissa as a vehicle for volunteers to come and learn skills and learn how to sail a 19th century sailing ship.  We have students from A&M just down the way that are in partnership with us learning about heritage and about ships in the sea.  And, all of this gets back to the fact that a ship is never finished until it has sunk.  It is an ongoing work.  Unlike us, I understand we replace all of our cells every seven years, a ship doesn’t have that ability.  Instead, they rely on us as stewards to care for them and ensure that they are here for future generations and I think that’s the thing that I really enjoy about working on the Elissa and for Galveston Historical Foundation is being a part of that continuum that started on a riverbank in Aberdeen in 1877 and is continuing to this day.

Robert Lynch adds, “Carrington, you truly do have the Spirit of Elissa and she appreciates everything that you do as well as all of GHF, The City of Galveston, and the State of Texas for The Tall Ship of Texas.  Again, many thanks for all that you have done.”


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