“SHIPS, EXPLORERS and the WORLD TRADE CENTER” is an exhibition open to the public February 2-28, 2010, curated by Margaret Stocker, Trustee, India House Foundation, and hosted by India House Inc., One Hanover Square, New York City. Over 2009 the India House Foundation has sponsored research and conservation of objects found on the site of the World Trade Center prior to 2001 to separate facts from fictions surrounding some of New York's oldest maritime relics.

Ships and explorers have come to the Hudson River for 400 years.  In 1916 the burnt timbers of what some believe is a 17th-century ship's keel were discovered on the site of the future World Trade Center. An ancient anchor and a Dutch cannon were recovered there in 1967. These maritime relics are exhibited together in February 2010, along with a model of a new ship that commemorates the World Trade Center and honors America's maritime heritage.

The exhibit began as an effort to prove the keel was part of the TIJGER, which burned in 1613. We will be using the most current technology to test the wood for date and origin. Featured is the ‘Tunnel Forman' James A. Kelly's documentation (including photographs and an early silent film) of his discovery of the keel during an IRT excavation in 1916. Because Kelly's Papers were split up in the 1980s this exhibit's task is to reassemble them for a second look. New research also adds to Kelly's "proof."

The exhibit has second theme.  Since the keel, anchor and cannon are all artifacts found on the site of the future World Trade Center, they tell the story of that part of Lower Manhattan being an anchorage as early as 1639.  What was once a shallow inlet with a sandy beach on the Hudson River may be the site of the first trade between the Dutch and Native Americans.  We encourage scholars to help search for Dutch maps that show a waterway called 'Old Wreck Brook.

A third theme is the site of the World Trade Center itself.  "The Greatest Skyscraper of Them All" was the title of an article by J. D. Radcliff in the Christian Science Monitor, May 17, 1973.  Conceived as "a world supermarket for importers and exporters, where the sale of anything from anywhere can be negotiated" he called the complex "a U.N of trade."  What architect Minoru Yamasaki termed "...the first building of the 21st century" might also have been the site of the first habitations built by Westerners on Manhattan.  

 The land at One Hanover Square was owned in 1673 by Peter Stuyvesant's nephew and New Amsterdam's secretary, Nicholas Bayard. The India House was established in 1914 to merge the interests of U.S. Government and business to encourage trade between New York and 'The Indies' to open the door to trade with China The India House was a prototype for the World Trade Center, The India House was itself based on 17th century "corporations" such as the Dutch East India Company. Henry Hudson's mandate, sailing for the Dutch East India Company in 1609, was to find a viable sea route to 'The Indies.'


Open to the public weekdays February 2-28, 11 to 3:30 and by appointment

* Ship ‘TIJGER' Keel

The charred remains of the bow of a ship excavated in 1916, and long thought to be the keel of Dutch trader Adrian Block's Ship TIJGER, which burned in Manhattan in 1613-14.

(Courtesy Museum of the City of New York)

* Black and white documentary film footage of the 1916 excavation of the Ship ‘TIJGER' keel.

(Courtesy Brooklyn College Archives)

* 1954 Radio Program: Dramatization of Adrian Block's place in the history of Manhattan, 1613 , March 4, 1954 educational broadcast, “Historic Heritage of Old New York” with James A. Kelly.

(Courtesy WNYC New York Public Radio/New York City Municipal Archives)

* Manhattan Company Water Pipe, circa 1800, unearthed in 1967 at World Trade Center.

Section of pine log water pipe installed underground in Lower Manhattan to bring fresh water to New York City by the company and bank established by Aaron Burr.

(Courtesy Brooklyn College Archives)

* The ‘World Trade Center Anchor'

Discovered in 1967 during excavation for the building of the World Trade Center, survivor of the 1993 terror attack; this ancient 11-foot anchor lay buried in mud nearby the Ship ‘TIJGER' keel for more than 300 years.

(Courtesy National Maritime Historical Society)

* USS NEW YORK – Ship Model and Film of the United States Navy's newest ship, with 7 and 1/2 tons of World Trade Center Steel forged into its bow, to be commissioned in New York Harbor November 7, 2009.

(Courtesy INTREPID Sea, Air and Space Museum/USS NEW YORK Commissioning Committee)

* World Trade Center Steel recovered after the September 11, 2001, acts of terrorism.

(Courtesy National September 11 Memorial and Museum/ Port Authority of NY and NJ)


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