About the Savannah


The Savannah was one of the great fleet of cargo schooners which, from the early 1800's to early 1900's carried most of the American coastwise commerce. Vessels which were rigged with square sails to take advantage of the trade winds could not maneuver as readily in crowded waters or against head winds. Consequently schooners rigged with so-called "fore and aft" sails replaced them, and became the standard of the American coastwise trade. As the original two-masted schooners increased in size, they were given more masts, culminating in six-masters, and even one seven-master, until they were driven off the seas by steamers in the early 1900's. The Savannah was designed by Joseph Dyer for the lumber trade between Florida, Georgia, and New York, and was built by David Clark for Henry Parsons and others.

Construction of the Savannah

This is a photo of builders constructing the ceiling of the schooner Savannah.

This is a photo of builders standing standing on the starboard side of the schooner Savannah during construction.

Important People in the Life of the Ship

Joseph Dyer - Designer
David Clark - Builder

Additional Resources

Books in our collection about Maine Schooners

Windjammers of the Main coast
A passage in time : along the coast of Maine by schooner
The global schooner : origins, development, design & construction 1695-1845
Wooden boats : in pursuit of the perfect craft at an American boatyard

Selected Websites

Schooner Savannah and builders, David Clark shipyard, Kennebunkport, 1901
Photograph of the construction of the schooner Savannah, specifically "installing the ceiling."
Photograph of the builders standing on the starboard side of the schooner Savannah
Sea Dragon's Schooner Links
If you are on campus, you can read more about the shipping industry in American History Online
If you are on campus, you can read more about American shipbuilding in American History Online.

Links to other Schooners in the Addison Collection