Thursday, March 15, 2007

Only Woman-Built Boat on Long Island

It is Women’s History Month and the perfect time to honor one of my
most elusive female ancestors, my great grandmother, Lois Green. I
have never been certain that was her name, as my grandfather
spelled his name Greene, and he listed her on his social security
application as Lula Morangue.

She evaded the census and her family for most of her life, or so the
story goes. I have one small scrap of her colorful life, the following
piece of a newspaper article and the photo of her boat building
achievement. I’m sure when I finish searching for her I will find her
line goes directly back to Noah.

Let me introduce you to Mrs. Green’s ark.

April 11, 1936
Society Page
Newspaper Unknown

Built By A Woman, Home Made Cruiser Was Launched Today
At Freeport

Boat Started Last July in Gladiola Bed, Is Complete

A streamlined double cabin cruiser, built in Mrs. Lois Green’s back
yard at South Bay avenue and Cedar street, Freeport, largely by
Mrs. Green, for her son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. E.M.
Green, was slid into Freeport Bay at Lake’s shipyard this morning.

Early on July 1 of last year, Mrs. Green started building the boat.
In those early preparations she was assisted by her son and a friend.

Only Woman Builder

Yachtsmen, ship builders, cameramen and writers visited the back
yard to see the boat a woman was building, the only woman-built
boat on Long Island according to their knowledge. They agree the
cruiser is a remarkable piece of craftsmanship.

Besides the labors of an experienced boat builder, who assisted
Mrs. Green last summer, the boat has been mainly built by
Mrs. Green, her son, and a friend, Ben Armstrong.

She is proud of her achievement, but explains she became a bit
bored with the trying details completed in her home during the
winter, such as polishing, painting and assembling a thousand
knick knacks that went into the cruiser.

But it was a lovely job and lots of fun, built out of doors
practically in a gladiola’s bed,” she says.

Mahogany Planking

Constructed of mahogany, the ____ foot cruiser is an impressive
sight in white hull and pea-green topside. Four bunks in the cabin
will be covered with beige and green checked upholstery.

In telling of the kitchen which has both an alcohol and coal
cookstove, and a monel fitted sink, Mrs. Green went into raptures.

“I’d like to have a little, new house, like this boat – so dainty and
compact,” she said. The colors of beige and green are carried out in the

Although the name of “LoElla” a contraction of Mrs. Green’s first
name Lois and the name of her daughter-in-law, Ella has been
suggested for the boat Mrs. Green... (the rest of the newspaper article
is unable to be read).

While we don’t have the rest of the newspaper article to tell us what
my great grandmother thought about that name, the photograph
shows that the cruiser was registered as “Dream, Freeport, N.Y.” Lois
is the woman wearing the very 1930's turban.

So, Lois Green, this story is a tribute to you and your amazing
accomplishment. I am proud to have you as an ancestor and to
acknowledge your place in our family history.

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Blogger Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

A very interesting story. Your comment that she evaded her family for most of her life is very intriguing. I hope you'll share more about her in the future as you learn more.

March 16, 2007 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

The stories of Lois Green have not always been kind. They are the type of family lore that you must be certain of before you plant your ancestral foot in your mouth.

March 16, 2007 at 3:35 PM  

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