Biggest little whaling ship

The Lagoda model is housed in the classical hall of the Whaling Museum's Bourne Building, in New Bedford. (Photos by David Brussat)

The Lagoda model (partial view at left) is housed in the classical hall of the Whaling Museum’s Bourne Building, in New Bedford. (Photos by David Brussat)

The Lagoda, at 89 feet in length and on display in the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s central Bourne Building, has been described variously as the largest model whaling ship and the largest model ship in the world. It was built in 1916 to 50 percent scale. In 1826, the original Lagoda was named for Russia’s Lake Ladoga, but workmen transposed the letters on the ship’s stern and seamen felt that recarving them would be bad luck. The ship and a host of whaling lore decorate Bourne Hall, whose classical mahogany trimmings, with columns and balustrades bedecking its full height and length, is as much worth viewing as the ship itself. The museum was founded in 1903.

Billy and I luxuriated in the Logada yesterday and left the museum with regret but a lot more to see someday – including the Harbor View Terrace, which overlooks the historic district from the fifth floor of the museum’s new addition, the Wattles Jacobs Education Center. The lovely addition is itself worth the trip. Designed by the Mount Vernon Group, it fits into the Whaling Historic District with grace, thus forcefully rebutting conventional methods of adding to (or subtracting from, really) historic districts.




















About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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2 Responses to Biggest little whaling ship

  1. David: you might be interested in the half size model of a fishing schooner in Provincetown, now in the town library. It takes up the whole room on the second floor. Exactly like this post’s boat. Google it for images. John


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