I. Heidenheim, built in 1917, was part of a grouping of four identical “spoon bowed” schooners. The schooner was built by the legendary Biloxi boat builder, Jacob “Jacky Jack” Covacevich, at the Biloxi Shipyard and Box Factory (owned by Francis Brander). The other schooners in the grouping were H.E. Gumbel, Anna Eve and L. Goldman. A builder’s half model of these vessels is part of the National Watercraft Collection of the Smithsonian’s American History Museum.
Despite the aesthetic beauty and characteristic speed, schooners like I. Heidenheim were built as working vessels, used to harvest the cash crop and backbone of Biloxi’s economy, seafood. One of the schooner’s early pilots was Peter Martin Skrmetta. The schooners dimensions were as follows: length 54.5 feet, breadth 18.8 feet, depth 4.4 feet. It weighed 28 gross tons.
I. Heidenheim like H.E. Gumbel was a participant and frequent winner in many of Biloxi’s early 20th century boat races, known as the Biloxi Regattas.