Wavertree | 1885 Cargo Ship and Flagship of the Museum Fleet

Historic Ship | Open Wed – Sun 11am – 5pm* | Click here to Buy Tickets*

The 1885 ship Wavertree has a well-documented and fascinating history. Built in Southampton, Great Britain, she circled the globe four times in her career, carrying a wide variety of cargoes. The ship called on New York in 1896, no doubt one of hundreds like her berthed in the city. In 1910, after twenty-five years of sailing, she was caught in a Cape Horn storm that tore down her masts and ended her career as a cargo ship. She was salvaged and used as a floating warehouse and then a sand barge in South America, where the waterfront workers referred to her as “el gran Valero,” the great sailing ship, because even without her masts she was obviously a great windjammer. She was saved by the Seaport Museum in 1968 and towed to New York to become the iconic centerpiece of the “Street of Ships” at South Street. Wavertree, built of riveted wrought iron, is an archetype of the sailing cargo ships of the latter half of the 19th century that, during the “age of sail,” lined South Street by the dozens, creating a forest of masts from the Battery to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Historic ships tours of Wavertree are included with regular museum admission. Click the “Tickets and Admissions” button below to buy tickets for your next visit to the seaport.

2015-16 Restoration

Realizing Wavertree‘s symbolism of New York’s History, the Museum was awarded a 13-million dollar, city-funded grant for her unprecedented restoration in 2015. This provided the necessary means for her restoration including the completion of her masts, yards, and rigging, the installation of her ‘tweendeck, and the refitting of her iron-hull. This restoration marks the beginning of the next chapter of her life as the flagship of the South Street Seaport Museum.

Speaking in glowing terms of the project, the Museum’s director Captain Jonathan Boulware said, “No city in the US has ever undertaken a comparable municipally-funded restoration of a sailing ship. With the restoration of Wavertree, New York pays due respect to its maritime heritage, engages current New Yorkers in their waterways, and lays the groundwork for educational programming that will inform future generations. Wavertree is the very type of ship that made New York New York. Wavertree is our city’s ship and we’re thrilled to welcome her back to the Museum, back to the Street of Ships.”

Wavertree as an Event Space

Wavertree is the perfect setting for your next event and features two open decks and accommodations for food service and audio/video hookups. This historic ship provides a memorable setting with unparalleled views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline, and is ideal for any special occasion – large or small. Ask us about concerts, fundraisers, cocktail parties and more. Click “Events” below to get in touch with our event specialists to learn more.