In 1787, the Columbia Rediviva set sail from Boston, Mass., and when returned three years later, it became the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe. When Walt Disney asked Joe Fowler, the construction supervisor of Disneyland and a former Naval admiral, to suggest a second ship that could accompany the Mark Twain Steamboat on the Rivers of America, it was the Columbia Rediviva he recommended.
Working with architect Ray Wallace, Fowler consulted maritime museums and the Libaray of Congress to design a historically accurate replica of the ship, which was a typical 18th century merchant vessel. Portions of the 110-foot ship were pre-built in San Perdo, Ca. then delivered to the dry dock harbor on the Rivers of America for assembly. Armed with 10 cannons and two deck-mounted swivel guns, the ship is suitably armed to ward off any pirates it might encounter during its 15-minute voyage.
The Sailing Ship Columbia set sail for the first time on June 14, 1958. In 1964, the crew quarters were added below decks, giving Guests a chance to see how sailors of the 1790s lived while on the open sea. The dry dock, where refurbishments on the "big boats" is completed and the Columbia makes port when not in use, became known as Fowler's Harbor.
On my first day as a Cast Member, 12-12-81, the Mark Twain was my attraction as skipper...Dr Lee