Cape Ann Museum unveils the Gloucester fishing schooner Elsie April 9th


Elsie 2

Cape Ann Museum unveils the Gloucester fishing schooner Elsie
The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present the unveiling and launching of model maker Erik Ronnberg’s latest masterpiece, the Gloucester fishing schooner Elsie, on Saturday, April 9 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. This program, which includes a talk by Ronnberg and a reception, is free with admission, reservations are required. To make a reservation or for more information, please call Jeanette Smith at 978-283-0455, x11 or email

The schooner Elsie was built in 1910 at the Arthur D. Story shipyard in Essex, Massachusetts.  She was “smart, able and beautiful,” a proud member of Gloucester’s once famous salt fishing fleet and a contender in the International Fishermen’s Races of 1921.  Elsie was designed by Captain Thomas McManus and built for the Atlantic Maritime Company of Gloucester and Boston.  On her maiden trip she landed over 280,000 pounds of salt cod in Gloucester.  In 1916, Elsie was sold to the Gorton-Pew Company for whom she continued to be a top producer.  After a short stint under Canadian ownership, in 1921 the vessel was taken over by Frank C. Pearce Company and brought back to Gloucester.  It was under the ownership of Pearce that Elsie, with Captain Marty Welch in command, challenged the Canadian fishing schooner Bluenose in the International Fishermen’s Races of 1921.  Elsie had earned the right to represent Gloucester in the Race by out sailing four other local schooners.   Despite gallant efforts in the two races which were held off the coast of Nova Scotia that year, Elsie lost to the Bluenose. The Elsie was lost in January 1935 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  

Erik Ronnberg, one of the finest ship model makers in the country, made this model of the fishing schooner Elsie for descendants of the Pearce family.  It shows the Elsie under full sail with ten dories on its deck.  Crewmen are depicted aloft and working on the deck, engaged in the everyday activities associated with the cod fisheries.  The model is in the scale of 3/8 inch equals one foot;  it took Ronnberg 1800 hours, or approximately eight months to complete.  At the unveiling on April 9th,  Ronnberg will give an overview of the history of the vessel, the research that preceded construction of the model and the actual model making process.  His remarks will be followed by a reception.  The model will remain on display at the Cape Ann Museum through the early summer.
For additional information on the launching of the schooner Elsie and this special program, please visit the Cape Ann Museum’s website at or call 978-283-0455.

The Cape Ann Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Museum is closed during the month of February, on Mondays, and on major holidays. Admission is $8.00 adults, $6.00 Cape Ann residents, seniors and students. Children under 12 and Museum members are free. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information please call: (978) 283-0455. Additional information can be found online at

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4 thoughts on “Cape Ann Museum unveils the Gloucester fishing schooner Elsie April 9th

  1. Have you ever heard of the Governor Foss and Captain Fred Thompson??? The Florence??? The Alden????? I understand Capt. Thompson was quite well known and respected as a Captain……and his schooners were launched from Essex, Ma…..If you have any info???? Thank you!!!


  2. Erik Ronnberg has created a masterpiece with his depiction of Elsie under full sail!

    My grandfather was Capt. Martin L. “Marty” Welch, and although he sailed out of Gloucester for many decades, he was performing at his finest during the glorioius 1920 and bittersweet 1921 International Fishermen’s Races.

    As a young lad in Gloucester, I heard all about the fierce battles between Esperanto and Delawana, and Elsie and Bluenose. It taught me that in life you win some and you lose some; yet if you are wise, you just keep keepin’ on. Capt. Marty did just that!

    Torrey A. Welch
    Rocklin, CA

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My mother told me about going down to the dock in Boston and seeing the Elsie in the late 1920’s. It was captained for a while by William James Forbes. The mention of Elsie always brings a warm feeling to me when I see her in photographs or models of her. My Great Grandfather was William James Forbes.


  4. My mother always spoke of seeing the Elsie when she was around Boston in the late 1920’s. Elsie was captained for awhile by William James Forbes, one of the youngest men in the industry to hold Captain’s papers. the name Elsie brings a special warmth to me when I see photographs and models of her. William James Forbes is my mother’s Grandfather.


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