Recently, I wrote about building vessels in Camden and the people it took to build them. Investors took a chance and the vessels may have lasted 20 year or more or encountered storms or disasters, meeting their demise in a few short years.
The Annie L. Henderson was built in the H.M. Bean Yard, where Wayfarer Maine is today, and she was launched in 1880. The vessel was 140 feet in length, with a beam of 32 feet and her gross tonnage was 428. Her official number was 105899 and she was a three-masted schooner.
Her life was long, as she was refitted 25 years after being built and considered in good shape. Horace Stone, managing owner of the vessel, held 44 shares and the other 20 were sold to Bangor people. Total cost of the sale was $9,000.
They sailed the schooner up the Penobscot River Aug. 31, 1906, docking at the Bacon and Robinson wharf, securing her lines and all was well. So they thought.
The shovelers and trimmers were in the hold the following morning when an explosion happened and flames came pouring out of the shed. Wind swept the flames to the rigging and sails of the Annie L. The vessel could not be moved because a barge had been tied up across her jib boom. Then the burning coal shed fell on her deck.
Two fire alarms were rung in, but reported in different locations. Annie L, all ablaze set herself free and went across the Penobscot River, setting fires on the Brewer side. The tug Bismark chased her fast and furious. When they finally caught her they towed her to the flats near the railroad yard and she burned for hours. The losses on both sides of the river from all the fires were great, but Annie L. was insured for only $500.
That was one wild event and the demise of Annie L. Henderson.
Barbara F. Dyer has lived in Camden all of her life, so far.
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