By Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

BOSTON (CBS) – A couple of men from Key West, Florida are charting a new course for the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum that will reopen as a new and bigger attraction on the Congress Street Bridge next year.

Ed Swift and Chris Breeland, co-owners of Historic Tours of America, first came to Boston on April 1, 1984 planning their first expansion of their trolley tours first started in Key West to handle the tourist traffic and give information about historic sights. Breeland, the CEO, calls himself “the Chief Conductor.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.

Swift who had made a trip to scout out the city for possible expansion got an unexpected upgrade to the Concierge Floor at the Park Plaza Hotel with its food and wine amenities. He took an immediate liking for Boston.

“This is the place we have to be,” he said to his partner in a telephone call and so they brought Old Town Trolleys to Boston as the city’s first on-and-off tourism vehicle.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe’s interview with Mayor Menino

After a fire caused by lightning ruined the original Tea Party site 10 years ago, loans were finally secured from the city and Convention Center to rebuild and a press event to mark the official start of construction was held on Tuesday morning. It was another major event for the Seaport District on Boston Harbor.

The new Tea Party Museum will be a three ship attraction on the Congress site near the place where Bostonians dumped chests of tea in the harbor in 1773 to protest taxes by the British.

In addition to going on board the ships, tourists and school groups will watch historical videos of the period and of course buy souvenirs. The new site will also be available to rent out for private functions.

When you travel overseas, the three things most asked about Boston are Harvard, MIT and the Boston Tea Party.

The new Tea Party exhibit will be a for-profit institution. It will be anchored at the entrance to the Fort Point Channel flanked by the Children’s Museum and The InterContinental Hotel that will soon have kayaking and other water sports available.

Historic Tours of America is also the official tour company of the Red Sox. With Fenway Park celebrating its 100th anniversary next year and the new Tea Party Museum opening, 2012 is looking like a winner for a couple of guys from Key West, Florida.

  1. Nick Beaver says:

    Maybe the contractors that are building this museum should pay their bills. I have been waiting on over $250,000 for months for work I did on this project. They seem to not even care that the small guys who made this project happen are getting the shaft.

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