The fishing boat Florence represents the evolution from sail to engine power of small inshore fishing boats, a transition which was firmly established by 1910, and is a vessel type which drags a conical net across the bottom to gather fish. That method originated in Europe, and was first adopted by the larger fishing schooners of Massachusetts, the “eastern-rigged draggers” which carried a large wheelhouse aft and a large working deck amidships. Along the southern shore of Connecticut, smaller fishing boats were adapted for dragging: the broad aft deck for working, a small pilot house forward, known as the “western rig.” In summertime, the draggers were engaged in swordfishing, a favorite fishery of the crews.
Florence was built in 1926, just down the Mystic River below the drawbridge, by Franklin G. Post, a man familiar with boat construction and engine design and installation. Her first engine was a 65 h.p. 6-cylinder standard model by Lathrop, a company which also was located on the Mystic River. She was acquired by the Museum in 1982 and has been completely restored to her original configuration, including below deck accommodations. She is powered by the Gray Marine 6-71 which served much of her working life.
Plans for the Florence and many of the Post draggers are available in the Museum’s Ships Plans department.