1898The Portland Gale struck the coast.Events & Anniversaries, Natural Disasters

“No Survivors.” Gloucester Daily Times. November 28, 1898.
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With enormous storm surges and hurricane-force winds, the Portland Gale destroyed shorefront homes and infrastructure, killed more than 400 people and sank 150 vessels, most notably the coastal passenger steamship SS Portland, for which the storm was ultimately named. The ship is often called “The Titanic of New England” due to its long-unknown location, the large loss of life, and its luxurious design. The wreck was the first of the sanctuary shipwrecks to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To this day it is not known exactly how many passengers were aboard or who they all were. The only passenger list was aboard the vessel. As a result of this tragedy, ships would thereafter leave a passenger manifest ashore. However, it is known that the crew of the ship included 19 African American members of Portland’s Abyssinian Meeting House. This human loss was a contributing factor in the closure of that church several years later and dealt a significant blow to Portland’s Black community.

In Gloucester, trains stopped running, telephone and telegraph service was interrupted, buildings and summer cottages were damaged, and 27 vessels broke from their moorings, with 14 of them going ashore.

"No Survivors." Gloucester Daily Times. November 28, 1898. “Steamship Portland | Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.” https://stellwagen.noaa.gov/maritime/portland.html. National Archives. “The Final Voyage of the Portland,” https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2006/winter/portland.html.
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