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"As the sun just peeks over the mountains to the east, the ship Benjamin F. Packard passes through the Golden Gate and into San Francisco Bay.
 
Built in Maine in 1883, the Benjamin F. Packard was a type of vessel known as a Down Easter. Named for their place of building, down east where sufficient stands of timber still stood near the shipyards, these last of the wooden square-rigged ships were larger with more cargo capacity than their predecessors, the clipper ships. They were able to carry sail longer thanks to their rugged construction and were capable of very credible passage times. These attributes made them a commercially viable option particularly on the long and rough Cape Horn passages until they were supplanted by steam around the end of the century.
The Benjamin F. Packard had a long and varied life and was a regular visitor to San Francisco, having been built for the trade around Cape Horn to the west coast. Her first few years, the Packard was under the management of her builders, Goss, Sawyer & Packard of Bath Maine. In 1887, the managing ownership was purchased by Arthur Sewall & Company also of Bath, under whose management she remained for the rest of her Cape Horn career. In 1909, she was sold to the Northwest Fisheries Co. of Port Townsend, Washington for the salmon packing business. With this change she sailed north each year for the season until 1924 when she was sold and made the voyage back to New York once again, this time under tow with a load of lumber. After her return to the east coast, with several changes of ownership and continued deterioration, she eventually became one of the centerpieces at the amusement park Rye Playland, being used, ignominiously, as a ‘pirate ship’ for years. In 1939, she was dismantled and towed to the dumping grounds of Eaton’s Neck, NY and sunk. Fortunately, prior to this, her main cabin was dismantled and saved and is now on exhibit at Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut.

"Sunrise in the Golden Gate: Benjamin F. Packard"

$750.00Price
  • Christopher Blossom

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