Monday, March 31, 2008

My Town Monday: The Star of India, San Diego


Guest Blogger Alert! Thank you Cameron Williams for writing today's My Town Monday's post.


There’s not much that the United States can say, “We have the oldest one.” When you consider buildings, documents, artifacts… just about everything we have is considered in its infancy by comparison. At least in California, we consider a house built in the early 1900s to be ancient.


The Star of India, docked in San Diego and owned by the S.D. Maritime Museum, is the oldest active sailing ship in the world. It was built in 1863 and still sails in San Diego harbor at least once each year. We can just ignore the fact that it was actually built in the Isle of Man. After all, it has been an “American” for a vast majority of its life.



The Star of India was originally named the Euterpe after the Greek goddess of music, and circumnavigated the globe 21 times before being sold by a London firm to Americans in 1898.



Now, I wouldn’t be writing about this ship unless I had some sort of personal connection. I may not have ever sailed on this ship, but I have spent the night on it… twice. For the past eight years, I have taken my fifth grade students on a field trip to the Maritime Museum, and it always includes a tour of the Star of India.


We do an overnight on a different ship now, but several years ago we did the Star. Students acted as sailors in the 1870s transporting bat guano (truly). They raised the sails, swabbed the deck, prepared the food, hauled cargo with a block and tackle, searched for rats in the bilge, and even served their night watch time in the middle of the night.


There are many port towns around the country that do similar living history field trips aboard ships, but how many can claim the oldest active sailing ship? Not to mention perfect weather all year, beautiful sunsets…


Click here for the S.D. Maritime Museum.

Cameron Williams, fifth grade teacher extraordinaire, was born and bred in San Diego. He attended elementary school here AND high school AND college. Which pretty much makes him a San Diego afficiando. Also, he's been teaching for about TEN years. Which makes him an expert on all sorts of stuff. Like fractions and spelling and how to deal with difficult parents. (I so am not one!)

Thank you, Cameron for today's post. Please come back and visit again. As in, how about every day until I hand this next book in?

Cam has a great class website which has even won awards. Click here to see it.


My Town Monday is the brainchild of the brilliant (I used it again, Travis!) Travis Erwin. Visit Travis' blog for a list of participants.

19 comments:

Mrs. Annie said...

This makes me wish I was in 5th grade again. Or at least that I still had a 5th grader in the house. Truly a great field trip and a great post!

Lana Gramlich said...

Very interesting. What a lovely ship!

Bina said...

How fascinating! To spend the night and day on a REAL ship, and the OLDEST one to boot! Those 5th graders probably don't know how lucky they are!

Michele said...

Wow, I've seen the Star of India many times docked in S.D., but I had no idea she was the oldest sailing ship and that the living history field trips were offered aboard her! How cool. Thanks so much for the great post!

Mary Ann (Moanna) said...

Beautiful ship. Thank you for the link to the class web site. I especially enjoyed looking at the various Superstar of the Week sharing videos. I was a substitute teacher for a year, until I tired of being eaten for lunch [grins], so have enormous respect for teachers.

Barrie said...

I went on this amazing field trip (although on the Californian, not the Star) the year Child #2 had Mr. Williams.

As Child #2 swished by me while he swabbed the deck, he muttered, "I'm not tricked, Mom. We're doing chores."

That said, he had a great time! As did I!

Travis Erwin said...

What a cool field trip. And I think it is great that you had a guest blogger and fellow San Diegoan (?) do a post. I might give that a whirl myself on a future edition, just to add a new perspective.

Patti said...

who doesn't love a ship?! and i love that the only thing separating your two monday posts is a fried egg.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

How wonderful! I can't believe how much history I am learning on these My Town Monday posts. this is just great.

Terrie

J.K. Mahal said...

I love the Star of India. I used to go there as a kid. No overnight fieldtrips, though. Drat!

I love My Town Monday! :)

Jen

Laura said...

Oh what a cool school trip...what an amazing adventure!!! Thanks for sharing.

alex keto said...

Star of India beats the other name hands down.

That sounds really great for the students to get a taste of a real sailing ship.

WordVixen said...

That is a gorgeous ship! Even more impressive that it's not a replica.

The Anti-Wife said...

How fun to be a kid and get to have that experience.

lyzzydee said...

We had a look on The Mayflower replica when it was in Whitby last year, I am amazed at just how small the living/working area is!! Greatr post

rochambeau said...

Thank you for featuring Cameron Williams today. He is a cool teacher. His class is lucky to have him!!

Becky Levine said...

My son's fifth-grade class did this up in the San Francisco Bay. Probably the best experience in his entire elementary years. He came back so happily exhausted, it was great.

I heard the chaperones were only allowed to utter one word--"No," and only if someone was doing something unsafe. One Mom said she had to stand there watching the galley crew toss HANDFULS of salt into the dinner and not make a peep. I didn't volunteer, not because of the salt, but because I get seasick looking at aquarium cases. :)

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Great post! Mr. Williams sounds like an awesome teacher. I wish we'd had a field trip as cool as that when I was in 5th grade!

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