In what may seem like a fitting gesture, an investment management firm named after one of the Founding Fathers is helping preserve a relic of the War of 1812.
The Hancock Timber Resource Group, a subsidiary of John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., Boston, is donating oak trees to restore the U.S.S. Constitution, the 198-year-old warship also known as "Old Ironsides." The ship, a historic monument and the last stop in Boston's Freedom Trail, has approximately 1 million visitors every year.
Hancock will donate rare, 100-year-old oaks to renovate the ship's hull. The firm located trees through its forestry industry contacts and acquired them from the city of Mobile, Ala., where they had been judged to be irreparably damaged. The first 40-ton truckload arrived in Boston June 30. Hancock recently acquired a property in southeast Georgia which contains 2,000 oak trees and the firm said it will donate all of those that qualify for the reconstruction.
The Constitution is expected to remain in drydock until November and will be back at its berth in Boston in March. It will mark the 200th anniversary of its launching in 1997.