Modesty (sloop)

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Modesty on display at the Long Island Maritime Museum in January 2008
Modesty on display at the Long Island Maritime Museum in January 2008
United States
  • Modesty
  • Halrose (1944-1948)[1]
  • Theodore Haupt (1923-1936)
  • David Menegus (1936-1944)
  • William H. Palmer (1944-1948)
  • Dr. Carl Beam (1948-1970)
  • Leo Pagan (1970-1974)
  • Long Island Maritime Museum (1974-present)[1]
Builder: Wood & Chute Shipyard, Greenport, Suffolk County, New York[1]
Cost: $4,000[1]
Launched: July 1923[1]
Refit: Restored 1975-1980[1]
Status: Museum ship since 1974[1]
General characteristics [1]
Type: Shellfish dredging sloop
Length: 35 ft 9 in (10.90 m)
Beam: 12 ft 2 in (3.71 m)
Draft: 2 ft 8 in (0.81 m)
Propulsion: 1 × 2-cycle 16 hp (12 kW) Gafka gasoline engine
Sail plan: Gaff rig
Modesty (south-sider sloop)
Modesty in November 2009
LocationWest Sayville, New York
NRHP reference #01001051
Significant dates
Added to NRHPAugust 7, 2001[2]
Designated NHLAugust 7, 2001[3]

Modesty was an oyster sloop built in 1923 by The Wood and Chute Shipyard of Greenport, Long Island. Modeled after the catboat Honest, which was built in 1892 by Jelle Dykstra on the west bank of Greens Creek, West Sayville, Modesty was built as a gaff-rigged sloop, but retained the extreme beam of a catboat. For auxiliary power, a two-cylinder Gafka gasoline engine was installed.

Modesty was described by oystermen as a true "southsider". She is believed to be the last sailing scallop dredger built on Long Island. A beautiful vessel, a fine sailer and typical of the old oyster sloops, her lines show graceful proportions in hull and rig. She has a wide beam and sits low in the water. Her shallow draft permitted her to operate commercially in the oyster and scallop flats of Long Island's bays and the river estuaries of Connecticut.

The fact that she was even built at the end of the age of sail is due to a law enacted before World War I, which stipulated that only sail power could be used while dredging for scallops. By this time, many boats in the fleet had their centerboards plugged. After working as a scallop dredger in the Peconic Bay until 1936, Modesty moved to Connecticut to finish her working career as an oyster dredger. From the 1948 until 1974 she served as a pleasure yacht for various owners.

When Modesty was acquired by the Long Island Maritime Museum, formerly the Suffolk Marine Museum, in 1976, Theodore Haupt, her first owner was present to receive her colors. After restoration, Modesty was relaunched in 1980 by the Museum. She was christened with a bottle of champagne mixed with water from the Great Peconic Bay and the Great South Bay. A new 1880 penny was placed under the mast along with several pre-1923 coins discovered when the mast was removed during her restoration. Modesty was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001.[1][3] Modesty is berthed next to the 1888 oyster dredging sloop Priscilla and near the 1908 Rudolph Oyster House, both of which are also National Historic Landmarks.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Eshelman, Ralph (May 1, 1994). "Registration Form: Modesty (sloop)". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  2. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  3. ^ a b "Modesty (Sloop)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-11.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°43′21.92″N 73°5′44.72″W / 40.7227556°N 73.0957556°W / 40.7227556; -73.0957556