With the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic almost on us (April 15), our minds turn to a sad shipwreck much closer to home.
One of the most notable Maine-related shipwrecks was the sinking of the SS Portland in November 1898. In the late 19th century, steamship travel was still an important means of transportation for passengers and freight along the coast of New England, providing quick and efficient travel between many coastal cities.
The Portland, which served a regular route between Portand and Boston, sank in a severe early winter storm. While the sole passenger list went down with the ship, officials determined that 192 passengers and crew were lost. Portland’s African-American community was particularly hard-hit: at least thirty crew members and passengers were from this small but vibrant community.
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