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Updated: March 19, 2024

Restoration of Moosehead's historic steamship Katahdin a step closer with federal funding

Courtesy / Moosehead Marine Museum The Moosehead Marine Museum will receive $500,000 in federal funds to be used for the restoration of the historic Katahdin steamship, seen here on Moosehead Lake.

The Moosehead Marine Museum will receive $500,000 in federal funds to be used for the restoration of the Katahdin, the historic steamship that offers visitors excursions on Moosehead Lake.

The Katahdin, affectionately known as the Kate, transports 8,500 passengers a year, but the century-old vessel is showing its years. 

The funds will go toward Moosehead Marine Museum's “Keep Kate Cruising” campaign to restore the 109-year-old historic steamship. With the funding, the campaign has raised 78% of a goal of $2 million.

Restoration of the Katahdin is being done in phases, with work scheduled for the off-season.

This winter, the Shipyard at Boothbay Harbor, which is part of Bristol Marine, has been replacing the upper deck and plans to have the boat ready for the summer cruising season. Last year, the shipyard replaced the upper aft fantail deck. The next phase will involve replacement of the "green rail" and side decking. 

Rather than the 250-foot steamship being transported to Boothbay, the shipwrights instead come to Greenville, working under a temporary plastic structure with the vessel still in the water.

The Shipyard at Boothbay Harbor has managed restoration of a number of iconic vessels, including the Maine Maritime Academy's Bowdoin and the 1894 Ernestina-Morrissey, the official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

Katahdin funding

Funds for the Katahdin restoration have been raised from individuals, businesses, foundations and now the public. 

The recent funding was secured by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, as one of the funding priorities in the FY 2024 federal budget for historic rehabilitation projects in the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill.

“We are grateful for the support of Senators Collins and King and for their recognition of the importance of this beloved icon of our region,” said Liz McKeil, the museum's executive director.

“As vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee," Collins wrote in informing the museum, "I championed funding in this bill to support federal programs that invest in communities in Maine and throughout the country. This funding will help to ensure that Maine’s rich history can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Courtesy / Moosehead Marine Museum
The steamship Katahdin at Rockwood Dock in Greenville.

Ranging from $25 for kids to $50 for adults, tickets for the Moosehead Marine Museum include a ride on the Katahdin and admission to exhibits that includes 2,000 artifacts, photographs and items of memorabilia from the lake's shipping history.

The museum is already booking trips on the Katahdin starting June 14.

The Moosehead Marine Museum’s mission is to preserve and operate the Katahdin as a “living museum” for the benefit of the community, region and future generations.  

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