Coaster II was sold?

To the Journal editor:

Among the least publicized actions to have taken place in the fall of 2018 was the sale of our historic schooner, the Coaster II. Those of us when visited its mooring at the western end of the main pier at the Mattson Lower Harbor Park knew that it was for sale because owner Captain Niko Economides is very ill and needs money for medical treatment. Niko’s son, Captain Thanos Economides, is no longer available to handle the vessel and its tours. The asking price was around $125,000, however, the final sale price was $75,000, according to Niko. It was purchased by a Las Vegas casino and will be hauled there sometime in the spring of 2019.

As I began to tell folks of the sale, most wanted to know why there wasn’t widespread notice given by Fred Stonehouse, the director of the Maritime Museum and current mayor of Marquette. Many individuals and local organizations expressed disbelief, saying that they could have raised the money to purchase the vessel in a matter of weeks. Folks at the Yacht Club said that they could have worked with other organizations to purchase it and continued to moor it at the pier, or in front of their property if only they had know about its final sale.

The Coaster II is a one-of-a-kind vessel and listed on the Registry of Historic Places. It’s a replica of a 19th century coasting schooner. It’s a shame that it will end up inside a casino, or worse yet, in a small pond just outside the entrance of that casino.

This seems to be another example that shows that our elected officials don’t seem to realize that Marquette is one of the great maritime cities on Lake Superior, and that they should be acquiring, maintaining and making available for public viewing any and all artifacts of that historic past.