The misnomer Raven likely arose from a red, silk banner that flew over the ship showing the Viking symbol of a black raven with its wings outstretched. But the ship’s original name was indeed Viking, and here we have her Christening document as proof!
Captain Magnus Andersen later admitted that another name had been considered. He wrote that “it was proposed to the committee in charge of the ship that we call it the Leif Erikson, but we finally decided not to, as we did not want Americans to think us demonstrating; the Norwegian is modest.”
Jan Thor Sloan
As a Thor whose family originated in Chicago, I love this Norwegian honor- My other Chicago Kaiser Ancestors attended this fair and I have a few momentos. God, I wished I had asked about all of this in the family when I had the chance!
Currently reading The Devil in White City gifted to me by my niece- The 1893 World’s Fair : a new obsession in my life I am also very interested in the affect the later discovery of Viking presence pre Columbus in America had, is having, and will have in our society…!
I remember visiting the Viking in Lincoln Park Zoo as a child, and the lofty wooden shed it was kept in. This was the ultimate in excitement no fanfare, just quiet and cobwebs. I swear you could smell the sea. I remember the dragon head the most. Thanks for making me into a lifelong voyager who’s been obsessed with the sea ever since. Thanks to the Norwegians and Scandinavians in Chicago and Geneva for your foresight and good will.
I had never heard of the Viking Ship, but on my desk I have an original invitation from the Royal Norwegian Commission of the World’s Columbian Exposition to the reception of the Ship in New York Harbor, June 17th, 1893. I found this website in researching the item. This is a great story!
I visited the Viking several times when it was at the Lincoln Park Zoo. My father took pride in telling my siblings and me how our great-grandfather was one of the 13 sailors who sailed this ship to America in order to show the world that it was the Norwegians who discovered America. He never left out the part about how the reproductions of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria had to be towed. Every year I re-read my grandfather’s book about the voyage and their reception in America.