Archive for October 10th, 2009


Fulford Place, the summer home of wealthy Brockville business man George Taylor Fulford, was the subject of a September post, Pink Pills for Pale People. Construction of Fulford Place was completed in 1901. In 1904, Fulford purchased a 126 foot (38m) luxury steam yacht, which was moored at the base of the cliff, south of Fulford Place, in the St. Lawrence River. Above, the vessel is shown at the Pusey and Jones Shipyard, and below, in her heyday, on the St. Lawrence.

Magedoma In its heyday

The yacht was built in 1901 at the Pusey and Jones Shipyard in Wilmington, Delaware. Its first owner was Michigan lumber mogul Charles Canfield, who named the yacht Cangarda, a combination of his name and that of his wife Belle Gardner. When Fulford purchased the yacht, he rechristened it The Magedoma, after his family (MAry, GEorge, DOrothy, MArtha).


Fulford wasn’t able to enjoy his yacht for long as he died in a car accident in 1905. The yacht was retained by his family, and many guests were entertained on the yacht, including several Prime Ministers and, in 1927, the Prince of Wales, Duke of Kent and the British Prime Minister. During World War II, the family loaned the ship to the Royal Canadian Navy for use as a training vessel. It was returned to them in 1947 heavily damaged, and with $13 000 in lieu of repairs, reportedly not enough to restore the yacht to its former condition. The yacht was sold shortly thereafter. Pictured above is the deck house, built with Cuban mahogany.


The yacht fell into slow decline. In the 1980s, an attempt was made to restore her by Richard Readly, who fully dismantled the vessel, sent its seven steam engines to England for restoration, and preserved and stored the beautiful wood interior. However, after Readly fell ill, he was forced to abandon the project. The Magedoma reached her nadir when she sank at a Boston pier in 1999.


Fortunately, The Magedoma was rescued and refloated. She was subsequently restored by Tri-Coastal Marine of Richmond, California. Her restoration, which was completed between 2004 and 2008, was overseen by current owner Jeff Rutherford. Her original hull was beyond repair. It was laser-scanned, and a new hull was exactingly constructed using modern welding techniques.


The original machinery was restored and reinstalled. However, the existing coal boiler was replaced with an oil-fired one. Much of the original Cuban mahogany interior was also reinstalled.


At some point in her history, the yacht’s original name, Cangarda, was also restored. After years of work, the ship was ready to return to the water.


The Cangarda now calls Mystic, Connecticut, her home port. The historic vessel is the last surviving American-built steam yacht in the U.S., and one of only three of its type left in the world. For the first time in her long history, the yacht can be viewed by the public. For part of the year, the Cangarda is on exhibit at Mystic Seaport, the Museum of America and the Sea.


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