Shipwreck! The Wanby Hits The Rocks in Kennebunkport, Maine 100 Years Ago This Week
At 10:30 in the morning on March 9, 1921, the ship, The Wanby hit the rocks off Walker's Point in Kennebunkport. The groan of the 3991-ton British ship being dragged across the rocks could be heard from Kennebunkport all the to Cape Porpoise, three miles away! Schools from around the area closed for the day so kids could watch the Coast Guard try and salvage the ship, to no avail.
Luckily, no one was hurt in the shipwreck. In fact, things ended up pretty good for the crew. The Kennebunkport Historical Society wrote on their Facebook Page this week:
"Captain David Simpson ordered his crew ashore. The sailors bunked with hospitable local families who filled every minute of their stay with dances in their honor, clam digs, day trips to Portland, etc. Four cases of real Scotch whiskey salvaged from the Wandby were consumed during the interim. Tears of friendship were shed all around when the crew was sent back to England three weeks later."
I love how Mainers made the crew feel so welcome! The useless ship was gutted for parts but the hull still remains to this day and is visited by shipwreck hunters every year. Did you know there are about 700 known shipwrecks in the Gulf of Maine?
Big thanks to the Kennebunkport Historical Society for commemorating this historic day. One other interesting historical note on this. The only person who witnessed the shipwreck was William Goodwin, the caretaker at the George H Walker estate. Goodwin went on to become the caretaker of a President! Goodwin described the sound of the shipwreck as "a boiler factory falling down two flights of stairs." Amazing!