BATH—The launching of the Wyoming into the Kennebec River on a cold December day in 1909 was a big deal.

Big, because the Wyoming—named for the state where its principal investors lived—was the largest wooden sailing vessel ever built at that time. That time would prove pivotal in maritime history, as shipbuilding shifted to steel over wood.

To mark that history, Maine Maritime Museum is installing the final part of what it is calling an “evocation” of that massive schooner on its grounds. That’s appropriate, said museum Executive Director Amy Lent, because the Wyoming was built on the site of the former Percy & Small yard, whose buildings remain and are part of the museum.

“The idea had been to find a way to represent the largest sailing ship ever built so people could get a sense of the scale of the ship,” Lent recalled.

In 2006, the museum built steel bow and stern sections. This spring, a representation of the vessel’s six masts will be installed, making it the largest outdoor sculpture in New England, according to the museum.

The concept came from Maine sculptors Andreas von Heue and Joe Hemes, who were chosen through a national competition. But even with the six, 120-foot high masts—represented by repurposed galvanized steel light poles—the sculpture is bound to be dwarfed by the picture painted by the vessel’s vital statistics.

The Wyoming’s registered length was 329 feet, but with spars, it was 444-feet long. Construction consumed 2,400 tons of yellow pine, 700 tons of white oak and 300 tons of iron and steel, the latter used in fittings, fastenings and strapping.

The distance from keel to the tip of the topmast measured 177 feet, while the beam was a little over 50 feet. It could reach a top speed of 16 knots.

As impressive as the vessel must have been, its charge was less so. The Wyoming hauled coal from mid-Atlantic ports; 53 trips to Boston, 30 to Portland.

And its end was sudden and tragic. In March 1924, it sank or broke up off Nantucket, taking with it the lives of its 14-man crew.

“Pretty much every ship had a sad end back then,” Lent said. “They were used until they wore out or sank or wrecked.” Some schooners were converted to barge duty, but the Wyoming likely was too large for such a retrofit.

The early 20th century saw the rise of steel ships, which may have spelled the end for vessels like the Wyoming, had it survived longer.

“Steel ships were really coming into prominence,” Lent said. “The shipyards in Maine didn’t convert to steel,” she added, which meant the end of an economic era. The museum grounds now encompass the locations of three shipyards that disappeared with the rise of steel.

Of course, one shipyard just upriver—Bath Iron Works—has some roots in the age of sail. It now is at the cutting edge of the craft, Lent said, just as Percy & Small were when it built the Wyoming.

“Incredible ingenuity,” she suggested must have ruled the design and construction of an unprecedentedly large ship.

A dedication ceremony for the masts is planned for June 1.