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c.1815 Venetian “Love” Gondola-Oldest In the WorldGo Back
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If that date of 1815 is correct, Hammargren’s gondola is easily the oldest in the world. The current confirmed holder of that title is on display at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Va., and dates to the mid-1800s.
“Most gondolas don’t make it past 20 or 25 years,” said Greg Mohr, president of the Gondola Society of America. “Most of the oldest ones aren’t in Venice. When a gondola is brought somewhere else, it becomes exotic, and it gets preserved. In Venice, when a gondola gets old, you just buy a new one.”
“I would say it is probably one of the three oldest gondolas in the world and almost definitely one of the 10 oldest in the world. I can’t say for certain because we can not pedigree the boat.”
Hammargren purchased the boat from the Harrah’s collection. Much of that collection has become the National Automobile Museum in Reno. The gondola came with a sign, which hangs next to it still, that identified it as an 1815 Venetian gondola.
This item originates from famous collector Dr. Lonnie Hammargren. Hammargren is a longtime Las Vegas resident since 1969. He was the Lt. Governor of Nevada from 1995-99 and was a candidate for Governor of Nevada in 1998. His eastside home was featured three times on Robin Leach’s: Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. It was also featured on the Travel Channel’s show Vegas VIP Homes and a HGTV show, What’s With That House? It has since become a museum to Las Vegas past. It is usually open for tours on Nevada Day with 8000 attending the Centennial Celebration in 2005.