USS Water Witch replica demolished at the National Civil War Naval Museum

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A sad day for ship lovers as a Columbus landmark comes down.

The USS Water Witch replica, which has stood guard over Victory Drive at the National Civil War Naval Museum, has ended its 11-year sentry.

Holly Wait, executive director at the museum, told WRBL News 3 the Water Witch was built with untreated lumber. Over the years, the wood has become completely waterlogged. Even after $100,000 in repairs over the years, the ship, she says, is unsalvageable.

“It wasn’t built as well as they hoped,” Wait said. “It hasn’t been safe for visitors to be on it for twelve to fifteen months.”

Waits says the decision to demolish the Water Witch was not an easy decision to make. She also thanked the people who donated to have the replica built.

Waits says the museum is working with a local architect to reimagine the space. Though we do not yet know what will go in the location or when, Waits says it will fit the theme of Port Columbus and be a welcoming space for visitors.

“There will be something else there,” Waits says, “but it won’t be tomorrow.”

The USS Water Witch was a wood-hulled gunboat in U.S. Naval service from 1853 until it was captured by the Confederate Navy in 1864 and subsequently scuttled.

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