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The United States Brig Niagara was adopted on April 29, 1988. The restored United States Brig Niagara shall be the official flagship of Pennsylvania and its home port shall be Erie, Pennsylvania.
The Niagara, under Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, was decisive in the War of 1812. On September 10, 1813, it defeated a British squadron
in the Battle of Lake Eric. The Niagara is displayed in Erie.
Erie, Pennsylvania takes great pride as the home of the US Brig Niagara. This reconstruction of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's flagship in the battle of Lake Erie was completed in the summer of 1990, and since then Niagara has embarked on an ambitious program of sailing and historic interpretation. As an ambassador of Erie and the State of Pennsylvania, Niagara has visited numerous ports on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Seaboard giving thousands of visitors an opportunity to share in this unique piece of history. When in port, Niagara is open for guided tours and has an active daysailing program.
After the War of 1812, Niagara was scuttled in Misery Bay within Erie Harbor. In 1913, the wreck of Niagara was brought up, and a ship was reconstructed
upon her keel and a few other salvageable timbers.
Between 1933 and 1943, another complete reconstruction took place with the ship being placed on a permanent cradle out of the water. Masts and rigging were installed in 1963. By the mid 1980's, time had again taken its toll against the ship. The Niagara was closed to the public due to severe deterioration. In 1988, ship builder Melbourne Smith built a fourth Niagara. The present Niagara incorporates some original timber in non-structural areas.
|The Niagara is a squared-rigged, two-masted warship originally armed with eighteen carronades and two long guns. On the berthing deck were sleeping quarters for the officers and crew, storerooms, sail bin, and a wood stove. Magazines for shot and gunpowder were stored in the hold below deck.|
|Sparred Length||198 feet|
|Hull Length (along rail cap)||123 feet|
|Hull Length (at load water line)||110 feet, 8 inches|
|Molded Beam||32 feet|
|Draft at Sternpost||10 feet, 6 inches|
|Displacement||297 long tons|
|Tons Burthen (old measure)||492 60/95 tons|
|Mast Heights : Foremast (above water line)||113 feet, 4 inches|
|Mast Heights : Mainmast (above water line)||118 feet, 4 inches|
|Armament (1813)||18 /32 Pound Carronades
2 /12 Pound Long Guns
|Armament (1998)||4 /32 Pound Carronades|
|Crew (1813)||155 Officers and Men|
|Crew (1998)||40 Officers and Sailors
20 Professional 20 Volunteers
|Boats||2 Cutters, 1 Yawl Boat|
The History of Niagara -- Learn something about the Battle of Lake Erie and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.
US Brig Niagara
Erie Maritime Museum
Bayview Commons Building
150 East Front Street in Erie, PA 16507
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
No. 1071 Session of 1987
INTRODUCED BY DOMBROWSKI, CAPPABIANCA, BOYES, MERRY AND BOWSER,APRIL 7, 1987
SENATOR WENGER, STATE GOVERNMENT, IN SENATE, AS AMENDED, MARCH 22, 1988
Imposing powers and duties on the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission with respect to the observance of naval and maritime history celebrations; ESTABLISHING AN OFFICIAL ARBORETUM OF PENNSYLVANIA; establishing an official flagship for the Commonwealth; and providing for interagency cooperation. The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Flagship of Pennsylvania Act.
12 Section 2. Findings and declaration of policy.
It is hereby determined and declared as a matter of legislative finding and policy that:
(1) Section 2801-A of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as The Administrative Code of 1929, designates the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission as the official agency of the Commonwealth for the conservation of Pennsylvania's historic heritage.
(2) The commission holds in trust the UNITED STATES BRIGNIAGARA at Erie, Pennsylvania. One of only three existing early 19th century fighting ships of the United States Navy, the UNITED STATES BRIG NIAGARA is the only remaining ship of its type from the War of 1812.
(3) The UNITED STATES BRIG NIAGARA serves today as a memorial to the Americans who built and sailed a squadron of warships so that the United States would remain free of foreign domination. On September 10, 1813, this American squadron of nine small ships, six of them constructed in the settlement of Erie, defeated a six-ship British squadron in the Battle of Lake Erie. This victory in the War of 1812 removed the British threat to the Northwest Territory, opened supply lines and raised morale throughout an apprehensive anddivided nation.
(4) The UNITED STATES BRIG NIAGARA is significant because of its service during this engagement as Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's relief flagship after his original flagship LAWRENCE had been disabled. Flying Perry's famous "Don't Give Up The Ship" battle flag, the UNITED STATES BRIGNIAGARA was brought quickly into the line of battle, forcing the surrender of the British squadron. This event, marking the only time in history that an entire British naval squadron was captured, was reported by Perry in his letter which began with the now-famous phrase, "We have met the enemy and they are ours..."
(5) The UNITED STATES BRIG NIAGARA is further significant as being one of six ships constructed at Erie, built largely of native Pennsylvania materials and sailed by Americans from various regions of what was the United States in 1813.
(6) After the War of 1812, the UNITED STATES BRIGNIAGARA remained in Erie as a station ship until 1820 when she was scuttled in Misery Bay to preserve her for possible future use. Her remains were raised in 1913 by a group of Erie citizens and rebuilt for a grand tour of the Great Lakes ports to celebrate the centennial of the Battle of Lake Erie. Since then, the Niagara has remained in Erie and, twice refitted, has become a major tourist attraction in northwestern Pennsylvania.
(7) In 1988, the commission will begin a third restoration which will again return the UNITED STATES BRIG NIAGARA to the waters of the Great Lakes.
Section 3. Establishment of official Flagship of Pennsylvania.
The restored UNITED STATES BRIG NIAGARA is hereby designated the official flagship for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It shall be known as the Flagship of Pennsylvania and its home port will be Erie, Pennsylvania.
Section 4. Powers and duties of commission. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) To cooperate with the Department of Military Affairs, the Unites States Navy and other appropriate organizations in commemorating significant events of our naval and maritime heritage.
(2) To sail the UNITED STATES BRIG NIAGARA, within the means at its command, to various ports of call and commemorative events as the official sailing ambassador forPennsylvania.
(3) To charge whatever fees are necessary to maintain the vessel and to encourage private financial support as appropriate in order to support the UNITED STATES BRIGNIAGARA and its sailing program.
SECTION 5. ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICIAL ARBORETUM OF PENNSYLVANIA. THE MORRIS ARBORETUM OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, WHICH IS ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES, IS LOCATED IN PHILADELPHIA AND MONTGOMERY COUNTIES AND CONSISTS OF 166 ACRES. THE MORRIS ARBORETUM, WHICH HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED AS A UNIQUE
CULTURAL RESOURCE AND IS THE OLDEST, MOST EXTENSIVE CURATED COLLECTION OF TREES AND SHRUBS CULTIVATED FOR SCIENTIFIC AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES FOR STUDY AND PROPAGATION IN THIS COMMONWEALTH, IS HEREBY SELECTED, DESIGNATED AND ADOPTED AS THE OFFICIAL ARBORETUM OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA.
Section 5 6. Cooperation with commission. All Commonwealth agencies and public officials shall cooperate fully with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in support of its naval and maritime history program
19 and, to that end, shall:
(1) Include the commission in any planning efforts for the commemoration of significant events of our naval and maritime history.
(2) Develop plans with the commission which will utilize the UNITED STATES BRIG NIAGARA as the official flagship for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
SECTION 7. ERECTION OF SIGNS. THE DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES SHALL ERECT APPROPRIATE SIGNS DESIGNATING THE MORRIS ARBORETUM OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA AS THE OFFICIAL ARBORETUM OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA.
Section 8. Effective date.
This act shall take effect immediately.
The Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 37, Chapter 7, Section 705.
§ 7.521. Commission of the ''Flagship of Pennsylvania.''
On August 17, 1990, the United States Brig Niagara was placed in Commission as the ''Flagship of Pennsylvania'' and its home port shall be Erie, Pennsylvania. In compliance with this section and 37 Pa.C.S. § 705 (relating to United States Brig Niagara), the Historical and Museum Commission is responsible for the United States Brig Niagara.