Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Barque Carrie L Smith

I consider today's photograph one of the most evocative in the Annapolis Heritage Society's archival collection. I base this opinion not simply on my personal reaction to the dramatic scene which unfolded at the end of the Annapolis Royal ferry slip but from the reaction of visitors who have seen this image in display. When they see this image, visitors will almost always make some sort of comment and ask what happened. There is almost always a look of concern for the crew of the vessel. The image just seems to call out for an explanation.

The subject of the photograph is the barque Carrie L Smith, 598 tons. Around 1900, she was making her way into the Annapolis Royal harbour after having taken on a half load of lumber in Bear River. When she reached Annapolis Royal she was to tie up and take on the other half of her cargo. Unfortunately, the wind had other plans. Making her way through a crowded harbour, she was caught by a strong wind and pushed onto the town's ferry slip. From the direction the bow is facing (back out toward the Digby Gut), the barque was apparently able to tack around before she was caught by the wind. To anyone who has spent time on this section of Annapolis Royal's waterfront, you can easily understand how a large vessel could be driven ashore by the winds.

Now, what happened? While the image looks fairly dire, the Carrie L Smith was able to free herself on the next tide. When she was afloat, the vessel made its way back to Bear River for some much needed repairs. Still in service in 1902, the Annapolis Spectator reported that the Carrie L. Smith had transported a load of lumber to Buenos Aires and took a load of wool from there to Boston.

The remains of the ferry slip can be seen on the Annapolis Royal waterfront directly in front of the O'Dell House Museum. While you can see some timbers which once made up the slip, you will not find the remains of a wooden barque.

All for now,
RGS

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