From the Maritime Museum of San Diego:
On October 12, 1982 the Nautical Heritage Society was founded by Steve & Jula Christman as a non-profit organization to educate citizens about the importance of the coastal marine environment to our quality of life by providing “at sea” experience working in the marine environment. The noted naval architect Melbourne Smith was commissioned to develop plans for a suitable sail training vessel and the process of raising 2.5 million dollars to build and outfit the ship began. While searching for a suitable design, information was discovered at the U. S. Coast Guard archives in New London, Connecticut about the vessel C. W. Lawrence.
Inspiration for the Californian
In April 1790 Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton asked Congress to create a Revenue Marine Service to protect and ensure collection of revenues arising from customs fees and tariffs. At that time there was no income tax and the collection of these amounts were one of the ways the new federal government could raise the money required to “provide for the common defense and promote general welfare”. On Aug. 4, 1790 Congress passed Hamilton’s Revenue Cutter Bill creating the U. S. Revenue Cutter Service with the construction of 10 ships. In 1915 the U. S. Lifesaving Service was joined with the Revenue Cutter Service to create a new agency, the U. S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard celebrates August 4, 1790 as its birthday.
In 1848 construction of seven new Revenue Cutters was authorized. One of these, the C. W. Lawrence, would become the inspiration for the Californian.