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Work starts on new Alexandria waterfront ‘Maritime Heritage Center’ celebrating the Age of Sail

Work has started on a new waterfront destination: the permanent home for the Tall Ship Providence.

A release from Maurisa Potts, founder and CEO of Spotted MP Marketing and Public Relations, said construction is starting this month along the waterfront on infrastructure to support the Senator John Warner Maritime Heritage Center, a floating maritime center being built in Baltimore.

Later in the month, Potts said the center will be floated down the river from Baltimore to Alexandria where it will be permanently installed at Waterfront Park (1A Prince Street).

“The Maritime Heritage Center will feature a hundred-foot-long floating dock where Providence will tie up, and two cottages, which will house our Education Center, Naval History Theater, Ticket Office and Gift Shop,” Potts said.

The Providence, built in 1976, has been a regular feature along Alexandria’s waterfront since 2019, and while docked at the maritime center it will host historical tours, public sailing events, private charters and more.

Additional amenities, like public bathrooms and side piers for other boats, were cut from the project back in 2021.

The release is shared below:

Alexandria and the region will soon celebrate the arrival of the Senator John Warner Maritime Heritage Center, Home Port of Tall Ship Providence. The Ship is a reproduction of the original Providence, the first ship authorized by the Continental Congress to serve in the Continental Navy. The 18th-century reproduction, will have a new home on Old Town’s waterfront in Waterfront Park. The Maritime Heritage Center is currently being constructed in Baltimore at Cianbro, a marine construction company. Members of the Tall Ship Providence Foundation Board of Directors, recently visited the construction location of where the Maritime Museum is being constructed.

Waterside construction and preparation will kick off the first week in April and will include land side work ranging from installing utilities, demolition of existing pilings, and pier installation. In mid-to-late April, the Maritime Heritage Center will float down the river from Baltimore to Old Town Alexandria, where it will be permanently installed at Waterfront Park. The Maritime Heritage Center will feature a hundred-foot-long floating dock where Providence will tie up, and two cottages, which will house our Education Center, Naval History Theater, Ticket Office and Gift Shop.

Providence was built for the American Bicentennial celebration in 1976 and has appeared in a number of tall ship festivals and several movies, including two of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. The Tall Ship Providence Foundation was founded in August of 2017 to purchase and restore the ship and serve as a floating museum. The ship made its debut in Old Town Alexandria in 2019. The Foundation plans to open for tours mid-June during Alexandria’s Portside Festival. Once open, Providence will offer historical tours, public sails, specialty sails, private charters and venue rentals.

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