Saturday, September 27, 2014
The Portland Gale
I usually feature buildings and sites lost to current memory, but Boston's long life as a seaport (as opposed to the non-seaport 'Seaport District') leaves us a remarkable history of lost ships to explore. The Portland Gale of 1898 - named for an eponymous lost passenger steamer - was one of the great Nor'easters of Boston's history. The great Perfect Storm of its day came up the coast, reaching New England on November 26. Warned to stay in port, the Captain of the Portland decided to go to sea, confident that he could outrun the storm. Somewhere off Cape Cod, the Portland went down, with the loss of 192 lives.
One hundred and fifty ships were wrecked along the New England coast, and four hundred lives were lost. Please note: As a result of the recent Superstorm Sandy, an estimated two hundred and sixty eight people died.
I was reminded of the Portland Gale by a mention in David Traxel's 1898: The Birth of the American Century. He describes how, while at the Boston dock, a mother cat carried her kittens one by one off the Portland and into a shed. Hmmm....
The Portland Gale Blog