D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - There are only a handful of master boat builders in the Gulf States region who are capable of working on historic vessels. One of them is Bill Holland, of D'Iberville.
A classic wooden boat named the Governor Stone embodies 137 years of maritime heritage. The boat, built in Pascagoula in 1877, was originally used as a cargo freighter working the Gulf of Mexico.
It is a national landmark.
The Governor Stone is in a boatyard in D'Iberville after an accident shredded the stern near her home port in St. Andrews, FL, just outside of Panama City.
"The damage was done. No one there could do the repair work. They removed the shaft and the wheel and towed it from Panama City over here," said Holland.
The Governor Stone is in the capable hands of a master boat builder. Holland and his crew have been working on the historic boat over the last few months, making repairs to the wooden planks and the engine.
Holland originally restored this boat in 1989. The organization Friends of the Governor Stone owns the boat today, and they rely on Holland's knowledge and craftsmanship whenever it needs repairs.
The wooden planks on this job are put in a steam box. That's the only way to curve the wood to meet the design of the boat.
In just a few days, the Governor Stone will be seaworthy. She'll be back in the Gulf of Mexico where she belongs, serving as a floating museum.
"She has been around the Gulf Coast for many years. We're trying to keep her doing that for many more," Holland said.