From the Governor Herrick Dredge to TAPESTRY...
All historical notes are the best of our understanding...legend.
More than a century has passed since the construction of the Cape Cod Canal came to
life as an artificial waterway traversing the narrow neck of and that joins Cape Co to
mainland Massachusetts. One can only imagine the engineering capability required to
complete such an endeavor, yet that was only one element of the massive undertaking
during the long haul of digging the isthmus from Buzzards Bay to Cape Cod Bay.
When progressing slower than originally planned in 1912, two large dredges, named the
Governor Warfield and the Governor Herrick, were added to the fleet dredges and steam
shovels employed. Built in Sagamore and assembled in Buzzards Bay each of these
behemoth dredges wielded 10-cubic yard dippers, were powered by 13 separate steam
engines, and were able to remove nearly 100,000 cubic yards of materials a month.
The steel was prefabricated by the American Locomotive Company at Paterson, N.J., and
was powered by 13 separate steam engines-operating a 10-cubic yard dipper for soft
material and an 8-yards box for boulders.
When the time came for the Governor Herrick to be launched on Palm Sunday, March 31,
1912, a few feet from the canal, one of the ways sank a bit and the Herrick slid down and
got stuck on the canal bank.
A week later she was finally nudged into the waterway and her superstructure was
In July the Herrick was moved west to start her mission digging toward the Governor
Warfield (which was launched in August). With steam shovels digging a channel ahead
of the two dredges, the two dredges started excavating with other dredges coming up
behind each one – work which would culminate in the two dredges being within sight of
each other in the spring of 1914.
The final barrier (Foleys Dyke) was breached on July Fourth (on the 27th anniversary of
the town of Sandwich) after which the two dredges worked to deepen the budding Canal
before its official opening on July 29, 1914. It was a month after the opening of the Kiel
Canal in Germany (June) and before the Panama Canal (August) – and these two Cape-
built dredges made the difference.
The attached photo taken in 1914 depicts the Governor Herrick removing the final barrier,
located at station 234 in preparation for the Canal's opening on July 29, 1914.
Many tides have come and gone since the days of building the Cape Cod Canal and for
many of them the Governor Herrick made its way up and down the east coast attaching
itself to significant engineering efforts from New York City to Boston.
However, it was beached for years along the shores of Woods Hole, MA, where it
remained until the mid 1990's when a previous owner realized it had the potential to be
more than memory of bygone industrial digs. Remarkably, he believed it could become a
From there, the historical dredge was brought back to life through a series of esthetic
and structural fixes that led to its revival in this entirely different capacity...one that
provides warmth and comfort.
Now docked and floating peacefully, it exists as a cozy and one-of-a-kind home called
50 Amp Electric
One red 900 gal. fuel tank (West side)
One red 900 gal. Water tank (Center)
One Grey 900 gal. Waste tank(West side )
Two White 50 gal. Grey water tanks( West side above waste tank).
30 gal. Water boiler. East center
One green circulating pump for domestic water. (Located on Bench. Set @ 40psi)
Air handling unit suspended from ceiling serves forced hot air heating and air conditioning.
(Heat works off coil heated from domestic hot water from boiler.)