The museum, which has only a Web site and two fervent founders,
made a huge leap closer to reality yesterday when a Texas-based
oil company announced it would donate a waterfront plot in
Greenpoint for the museum's future site.
"We were a museum without a home, but not without a purpose,"
said co-founder Janice Lauletta-Weinmann.
Since New York State officially recognized the museum in
1996, Janice and husband George Weinmann have traveled to
schools to teach children the history of the famed Civil War
But all along they've pined for a piece of land on the Bushwick
inlet in Greenpoint - near where the Monitor was constructed
and launched in 1862 - to be the permanent home for a Monitor
That they finally got their wish after approaching Motiva
Enterprises five years ago, a Houston-based refining company
affiliated with Shell, seemed almost too good to be true to
"This is a Christmas miracle; who would think we'd get this
waterfront property for free?" said Lauletta-Weinmann, who
added that a Monitor museum in Greenpoint has been her dream
The Civil War buff has already received the property deed
for an acre of land on the East River shore near Quay St.
in Greenpoint, which is the Monitor's original launch site.
Motiva spokesman Shawn Frederick said his company was motivated
by a desire to respect the inlet's historical significance.
Besides, he said, the property wasn't being utilized, anyway.
"I would imagine any waterfront property is worth considerable
value, but we've been inspired by the Greenpoint Monitor Museum's
commitment to preserve the history of the Monitor," said Frederick.
The Monitor is famous for a grueling March 1862 battle with
the Confederate ship Virginia - both were armor-plated ships
- and the battle marked a change in maritime warfare thereafter.
The Monitor came to rest 16 miles off the North Carolina
coast on Dec 31, 1862, after a fierce storm - a spot later
designated the Monitor Sanctuary.
Lauletta-Weinmann said she expects that artifacts recovered
from the ship will be displayed in the museum. As to how much
money the museum will cost to build, she said that would be
"We're not looking for anything grandiose," she said. "Just
something we can honor the men who served on the Monitor."
Originally published on December 23, 2003