U.S.S. Constellation, c. 1957
Maryland has a long history of seafaring vessels from the slick merchant clippers to the more robust naval vessels. Among the most famous is the U.S.S. Constellation. Initially conceived as one of the six ships, commonly known as the ‘Six Original Frigates,’authorized by the Naval Act of 1794, The Constellation was a 36-gun frigate.
The Constellation was constructed in Baltimore between 1796 and 1797 under the direction of David Stodder (1748-1806) at his shipyard in Harris Creek in Baltimore’s Fells Point according to a design by Naval Constructor Joshua Humphreys (1751-1838). (David Stodder was a member of Washington Lodge No. 3. and severed as Master of the lodge in 1787 and in 1788. He died in Baltimore on September 30, 1806 and is interned in Westminster Burial Ground, Baltimore, Maryland.) The Constellation was launched on September 7, 1797 and saw her first action during the Quasi War with France at the end of the 18th century. Under the command of Commodore Thomas Truxton (1755-1822), The Constellation captured the French frigates L’ Insurgent and La Vengeance. In 1853 after being decommissioned The Constellation was broken up for scrap with elements of the ship being repurposed in the construction of a new ship named the U.S.S. Constellation in the Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia. The second Constellation saw active service from 1854 until she was decommissioned in 1955. After being decommission from the navy, the second Constellation was moored in Baltimore and later designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963. Confusion between the second Constellation and her predecessor during her subsequent restorations resulted in sections of the ship being rebuilt to resemble the 1797 frigate. However the second Constellation remains the last sail-only warship designed and built by the United States Navy and the only existing intact naval vessel from the American Civil War.
This painting of the Constellation is by Arthur N. Disney, Sr. (1903-1993), a member of Oriental Lodge, No. 158. During his life he loaned a number of his paintings of naval vessels to the White House, Pentagon, and Navy Department. He allowed a number of his paintings of the Constellation to be reproduced as postcards and sold as souvenirs with the proceeds going directly to the conservation and restoration of the ship.