GREENVILLE, Maine — The 98-year-old steamship Katahdin will get the repairs it needs.
The Piscataquis County Economic Council announced that the “Kate,” as the steamship is affectionately known to locals, was awarded a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development for repairs.
The grant will be matched with $195,000 from the Moosehead Marine Museum, which owns the Katahdin.
The Kate will be dry-docked this fall to have its keel and hull repaired at a cost of $495,000.
“The restoration of the Katahdin represents an exciting opportunity to ensure that the Kate will be ready for many more years of service as it enters a second century of sailing,” said Jim Castonguay, executive director of the Moosehead Marine Museum, in a statement. “We are grateful to the strong community support we have received and the trust placed in us that the monies will be wisely used.”
Greenville residents will be asked to accept the grant during the town meeting June 4. The project will not cost taxpayers any money.
“This was fantastic and well-deserved news,” said Greenville Town Manager Gary Lamb in a statement. “The Kate is an anchor for our destination tourism in Greenville.”
Lamb said the Katahdin is a “huge economic engine” for the town.
“One of the surveys the Chamber did said that the first reason people come here is to see a moose. The second or third reason is to take a ride on the Kate. It’s such a wonderful piece of history,” Lamb said last month.
The Katahdin was built in pieces by Bath Iron Works in 1913 and brought up to Greenville the next year by train.
It was first used as a way to get supplies up and down Moosehead Lake. From 1938 to 1975, it was used to boom logs.
In 1975, the ship faced sinking or burning to put it out of commission, but University of Southern Maine professor Richard “Duke” McKiel helped keep the ship alive.
“Rather than sink the boat or burn it, a bunch of people up here got together and decided to save the Katahdin for history and use it as a pleasure boat, a tour boat,” Castonguay said in March.
Last year, 7,300 people from 18 countries toured Moosehead Lake on the Katahdin.