Lucy Chase’s Nomination of USS Constitution and Museum Wins 2019 National GCA Medal

Lucy Chase with Commander Nathaniel R. Shick, Commander of the USS Constitution
Lucy Chase with Commander Nathaniel R. Shick, Commander of the USS Constitution

Congratulations to Lucy Chase, who, on behalf the the Little Compton Garden Club, nominated the USS Constitution and Museum for the 2019 GCA Historic Preservation Medal. Her carefully researched proposal won the award. Here is the GCA press release :



The Historic Preservation Medal is awarded for outstanding work in the field of preservation and/or restoration of historic gardens or buildings of national importance. The Medal for Historic Preservation was designed in 1973 by Joseph Kiselewski of New York City and presented and endowed by Mrs. John Leddy-Jones, Founders Garden Club of Dallas, and Mrs. Leonard Kirby, Jupiter Island Garden Club. Previous recipients include Dr. William Seale, Jr. (2004), J. Reid Williamson (2006), Peter J. Hatch (2011), and The Garden Conservancy (2012).

The USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned US Navy warship afloat, is a stirring symbol of both American naval courage and important historic preservation. America’s Ship of State embodies the American spirit and the American dream—never give up, never give in, and never forget who you are.

Launched in 1797, the Constitution was built from live oak, red cedar, white oak, pitch pine, and locust from Maine, South Carolina, and Georgia. Soon after, the first and only federal tree farm was established to provide a renewable source of live oak timber for construction of ships. In 1976 the 25,000 acre “Constitution Grove” was dedicated to supply white oak for the ship’s repair.

With over 40 engagements during the War of 1812, she earned lasting fame and the title “Old Ironsides.” Threatened with retirement the Constitution was saved many times, including in 1830, when Oliver Wendell Holmes’ famous poem “Old Ironsides” raised a storm of protest nationwide, and in 1989 when Charleston, South Carolina donated live oak trees felled by Hurricane Hugo.

Serving as more than a warship, the Constitution carried noted botanists such as José Correia da Serra to America. She later transported artwork and industrial displays to the 1878 Paris Exposition. Each year the ship and her crew welcome more than 500,000 guests and interact with over a million people worldwide.

The USS Constitution Museum, established in 1976, ensures that the stories of the Constitution and those who shaped her history remain relevant and inspire our nation.  

Proposed by Little Compton Garden Club, Zone 1