Email This Page to a FriendVoyaging Thru Time: Photographs from Penobscot Marine Museum, Part 2
January 9, 2018
Camden Public Library, each year, displays photos from Penobscot Marine Museum‘s archives that show what mid-coast Maine’s waterfront was like in years’ past. The latest exhibit gives a glimpse into the Ed Coffin collection: 30 albums of images he collected since moving to Owls Head over 65 years ago and donated last fall to PMM. The show runs to the end of April and if you can get to Camden, don’t miss it. But if you can’t make it, here’s a sampling graciously made available to OffCenterHarbor by the museum. (Scanning and cataloging of the Coffin collection is ongoing, so it’s not yet online. But many others are, and to view them, check here.)
The stories that go with these photos are important, so if you have information to add, by all means do so. Just leave a reply (in the space at the bottom of this page) and we’ll see that it gets back to PMM where the staff there can digest and post it.
Icy Harbor, Rockport, Maine. Four-masted schooner WINFRED S. SCHUSTER, her sails bent on and covered, is about to be towed through the ice of Rockport’s harbor in the winter of 1904. On shore in the foreground, dump carts loaded with quarried limerock stand by to feed the kilns below them. Lined up across the harbor are ice houses used to store ice cut from Lily Pond.(LB2013.21.151)
Quarry to Kiln, Rockport, Maine. A narrow-gauge railroad ran between quarry and kiln for transporting limerock to the waterfront where it was heated over a wood fire to create the lime used to make plaster and mortar. Rockport Railroad’s steam engine “Joe Shepherd” stands by while its carts are dumped to feed one of the kilns. (LB2013.21.160)
Ice Shipping, Rockport, Maine. A hillside location allows gravity to help in moving blocks of ice downward from the ice houses that store them to the schooners that will carry them westward. c1904. (LB2013.21.161)
Rescue, Rockport, Maine. Schooners used to winter in Rockport in the 1890s, and one of them appears from her coating of ice to have sunk and is in the process of being rescued. It’s low tide, a towline has been rigged, and the men standing on the harbor ice look ready to spring into action. (LB2013.21.173)
Wartime Construction, Camden, Maine. The first of two barges built in Camden for WWII, named PINE TREE #1, just prior to christening by Eleanor Roosevelt. James P. Stevens superintended her construction. Another wartime vessel, the APc on ways at left, was overseen by Rockland Boat Shop’s Axel Gronros. Four were built. (LB2013.21.183)
Large Cargo. Marine salvage expert Capt. John I. Snow of Rockland had charge of moving this 40’ x 45’ Federal-style house by barge from Phippsburg where it was built in 1806 to Rockport where it is being unloaded to become the summer residence of Donald Dodge at Deadman’s Point. (LB2013.21.213)
First Six-Masted Schooner. The 320’ coal schooner GEORGE W. WELLS, launched from Camden’s Holly M. Bean yard (now Wayfarer Marine) on August 4, 1900, has been fitted out and lies to her anchors, ready for sea. The WELLS was the first schooner to carry six masts; as if that weren’t enough, managing owner John Crowley commissioned the steel-hulled seven-master THOMAS W. LAWSON a year later. (LB2013.21.264)
Ladies’ Day Out. Returning from an easy day sail, or posing aboard for the camera before they set sail? Who knows? But both the ladies and the boat look handsome. Things may change when the afternoon wind comes up. (LB2013.21.271)
Shipyard Work, Rockland, Maine. I.L. Snow Shipyard (now Rockland Marine) in 1913 with the steamers NORUMBEGA and CORINNA being worked on and the 150’ 3-masted coasting schooner TARRATINE under construction. (LB2013.21.337)
Tragic Voyage, Provincetown, Massachusetts. Bound for Boston from Jamaica with a load of wood aboard, the 3-masted schooner ALBERT L. BUTLER fell victim to the same November gale that took down the steamer PORTLAND and was later named after her. Here she lies in shambles on the beach off Provincetown, MA. Three of the BUTLER’S crewmembers froze to death after they climbed the rigging in an attempt to save themselves. (LB2013.21.339)
Drifting Ashore, Ormond Beach, Florida. The three-masted schooner NATHAN F. COBB was both built and owned in Rockland. Launched in 1890, this 167-footer was only six years old when she came ashore at Ormond Beach, Florida—after drifting for four days. She’d departed Brunswick, Georgia, with a load of lumber and railroad ties, but a northeast storm laid her over on her beam ends, and to right her, the crew had to cut away her masts. (LB2013.21.346)
Haul Out, Camden, Maine., Where Wayfarer Marine’s Travelift now operates, the Camden Yacht Building & Railway Co. used to have two railways, one of them with enough capacity to handle vessels like the 465-ton schooner WILLIAM MASON. Next to her is one of the island steamers hauled out on the yard’s smaller railway. (LB2013.21.347)
Launch Day, Rockland, Maine., With her scrollwork complete but the cabins and wheelhouse only in frame and her machinery yet to be installed, the steamer MONHEGAN splashes down the ways from Rockland’s Cobb-Butler Shipyard, May 30th, 1903. This 128-footer, the first steamer built here amid a string of big wooden schooners, ended her days in Providence, wrecked there by the Hurricane of 1938. (LB2013.21.360)
Bringing in the Wood, Rockland, Maine., In the 1870s and ‘80s, Rockland was all about wood, the great bulk of it brought in by water to fuel the city’s lime kilns. Timber wharves lined the waterfront and generally jutted out only far enough for high tide use. Here at David Gay’s Lermond’s Cove wharf, the tide is out and both vessels lying to it are hard aground. Across from them at the Crockett’s Point kilns, however, there’s more water depth and those vessels remain afloat. Instead of lime kilns, the FMC biopolymer plant now occupies that spot, and the Maine State ferries pass its wharves daily on their way to and from Vinalhaven and North Haven. (LB2013.21.368)
Then and Now, Stockton, Springs, Maine., This is what Stockton Harbor looked like in 1906, with three long new loading wharves jutting out from Cape Jellison’s western shore and fed by Bangor & Aroostoock’s rail lines. Potatoes, paper and lumber went out from this bustling terminal by schooner, and coal arrived. Unlike the upriver port of Bangor, this was useable year round. A November 8th fire in 1924 put an end to the fast-diminishing operation, leveling it, and today the site—with condos, a launching ramp, and town dock—is unrecognizable. (LB2013.21.372)
Please remember, if you know anything more about what’s in these photos, be sure to make a comment. Your stories, recollections, and specifics will help us all to better understand what’s shown.
Prints of these and many more can be ordered from Penobscot Marine Museum. All are made from high-resolution scans which are adjusted for contrast and tone. They are printed individually onto Museo Fine Art paper with archival pigment inks and packaged with a backing board in a protective sleeve. We recommend going all the way with a glorious 16″ x 20″ print for $60.00, but smaller ones are available as well: 8″ x 10″ for $25.00 or 11″ x 14″ for $45.00. Click here to order.
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