What’s the Story on the 4th of July Mayflower Ship?

Taking a break after the champagne christening champagne of the ship is the Mayflower float committee. Front row, left to right: Kathy Herman, Carolyn Roudabush, Dick Vogel, Sis Vogel, Jo Bolton, Suzanne Schwengels, Nancy Agnew, Harriet Adelberg. Back row, left to right: Dan Agnew, Jeananne Schild, Lyle Roudabush, Bonnie Buntz, Greg Buntz, Debi Olson, Darwin Kinne, Don Schild, Gene Herman, John Noer. Still working on the waves in the background is Dottie Blazek.

Since the 4thof July Parade in Grinnell (IA), locals have asked for background information about the replica Mayflower ship featured in the Parade.  The ship is, of course, the namesake of The Mayflower Community, honoring the roots of the founding of our country with the founding of this senior living and healthcare community in 1950.

Some years ago a Styrofoam replica of the ship—much smaller than last Thursday’s 14-foot long model—was built and entered in a 4thof July Parade.  Mounted on a base built by long-time Mayflower resident, Art Heimann, the Styrofoam piece was pulled on a small trailer.  For a few years that worked.  Then, the Styrofoam began to break apart and duct-tape repairs could not be hidden.

So, for a few more years, the ship was displayed on the east end of the Mayflower skywalk in front of the Fireside Room.  The model decay continued to the point that the ship had to be destroyed a few years ago.

After last year’s 4thof July Parade, a group of Mayflower residents came together, driven by the desire to do something even bigger and better this year.  The idea of building a ship replica was hatched.  Mayor Dan Agnew offered his shop for the project and Darwin Kinne, Lyle Roudabush, and Dick Vogel stepped up to assist Dan.

The building project took parts of four months. Mounted on a trailer, the partially-finished ship was moved to the front of Mayflower’s Health Center, 600 Park Street, on the morning of the 4thof July.  There the three 16-foot masts were erected and wrapped with sailcloth sewn by Sis Vogel with assistance from Nancy Agnew, Carolyn Roudabush, and Suzanne Schwengels.  When the ship was ready, the builders and helpers celebrated with a minimal amount of champagne, the last portions of which were poured on the bow of the ship for christening.  (They were afraid to break the whole bottle on the bow…after all the ship is not sea-worthy AND that would be a waste of good champagne!)

Voila!  They ship was floated off to line up for the parade.  The photos below capture some of this excitement.


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