Boston Tea Party Ships

boston harbor engraving
1768 engraving by Paul Revere, Boston Public Library.

The Beaver, Eleanor and Dartmouth…

To fully tell and understand the story of the Boston Tea Party, a flotilla of all three ships is necessary. With only the Beaver at the site of the museum for so many years, many people have the impression there was only one ship that was off-loaded during the Boston Tea Party. The new Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum will illuminate the importance and the significance of this historic event with replicas of all three ships involved. On the night of the Boston Tea Party, three ships that had sailed from London carrying cargoes of British East India Company tea were moored in Boston Harbor. The vessels were built in America and owned by Americans. The Beaver and the Dartmouth were whalers, and the Eleanor was a full rigged ship.

Historical accounts record that no damage was done to any of the ships.

The Boston Tea Party Ships’ Arrival

The Dartmouth arrived in Boston on November 28, 1773, the Eleanor on December 2, and the last to arrive was the Beaver, which came into port on December 15. Each of the three ships carried more than one hundred chests of British East India Company tea.

Destruction of the Tea

340 chests of British East India Company Tea, weighing over 92,000 pounds, were dumped overboard the night of December 16, 1773. All of the chests were smashed open with axes and the tea dumped into Boston Harbor. The cargo was worth more than $1,700,000 dollars in today’s money. Historical accounts record that no damage was done to any of the ships except a broken lock which was replaced the next day. The event was witnessed by thousands, and the implications and impact of this action were enormous, ultimately leading to the sparking of the American Revolution.

Leon working on rebuilding the Beaver.
Leon working on rebuilding the Beaver.
The Restoration Process Begins

We are restoring and retrofitting the full rigged ship Eleanor and the brig Beaver at the Gloucester Marine Railways located on Rocky Neck in Gloucester, Massachusetts. While we redesign the 103 year-old replica Beaver, we are also recreating the Eleanor. Both masterpieces will be historically correct ships of the 1770’s and will be an invaluable part of The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. We are also creating drawings of the Dartmouth, which will be newly constructed from the keel up.