History of the Lotus
The keel on Lotus was laid down in 1917 and the boat was completed in 1918, in Rocky River, Ohio. Designed by the naval architect William Hand Jr. in 1916, and christened with the name of Miss Gloucester, she was designed as a pleasure yacht for sailing on the Great Lakes.
In 1922, the ship was sold to Steven Comstock of Newark, NY. He moved the ship to Sodus Bay, on Lake Ontario, and renamed her Lotus, after the wild water lilies [disambiguation needed] that grew in the bay.
Lotus was sold again in 1938, to Dick Todd and Ken Cooley. They renamed her again, this time to Dickens, a combination of their first names.
In 1943, Ezra Hale and his partners bought the ship and changed her name back to Lotus. Ezra Hale and John Trahey donated Lotus to the Otetiana Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 1971, specifying that Sea Explorer Ship (now Sea Scout Ship) 303 be the ones to use it. The Sea Explorer Ship 303 had begun in 1965, and used a variety of power cruisers before the Lotus was donated.
Unfortunately, it was difficult to keep up with the required maintenance and by 1991 Lotus needed serious restoration. With the support of sponsors the Webster Kiwanis, the money was raised for a restoration, soliciting donations from individuals and corporations. A matching funds grant was also received from New York state, which brought the total amount of money raised to $150,000.
Lotus is sailed each summer by members of Sea Scout Ship 303 around all of Lake Ontario. Lotus visits many harbor festivals, and reenactments each year including Alexandria Bay Pirate Week, Oswego Harborfest, and reenactments in Sacketts Harbor.
Lotus has also participated several times in Operation Sail.