44-foot boat from 19th century found under New Jersey home

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Friday, May 27, 2016

HIGHLANDS, New Jersey -- Workers raising a waterfront home in New Jersey made a nautical discovery: a 44-foot wooden boat from the 19th century.

The 12-foot wide vessel, its rudder fully intact, was found beneath Eileen Scanlon's Highlands bungalow on Wednesday, the Asbury Park Press reported. The boat likely was used to transport coal and other good along local waterways, and pieces of coal were found scattered along the floor.

Rumors of the vessel's existence had circulated for years. Scanlon got a peek of what looked like a rudder through the home's crawlspace shortly after buying it in 2010, but she didn't anticipate the size and scope of the boat. It's built from 3-inch-thick wooden plants and is held together with 18-inch iron nails.

Scanlon temporarily stopped construction under the house and called Russell Card of the Historical Society of Highlands.

"It was beyond amazing," Card said. "I've heard about it before and the first time I ever saw it was yesterday. I never realized it was so big. I was amazed at the craftsmanship of it."

The property was once a dock of sorts and people used to roll boats on wheels to get to and from the water, said Card, who believes someone left the boat and built the home around it.

The boat will be destroyed, but Scanlon plans to place the bow in her garden.