Cora F. Cressey

Cora F. Cressey

Painting of the Cora F. Cressey by Solon Badger
Location Keene Narrows, Bremen, Maine
Coordinates 43°59′4″N 69°24′54″W / 43.98444°N 69.41500°W / 43.98444; -69.41500Coordinates: 43°59′4″N 69°24′54″W / 43.98444°N 69.41500°W / 43.98444; -69.41500
Area 0.1 acres (0.040 ha)
Built 1902 (1902)
Architect Percy and Small Shipyard
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP April 18, 1990

The Cora F. Cressey was a five masted wooden-hulled freight schooner operating in the coasting trade along the east coast of the United States. Built in 1902, she served in that trade until 1928. After serving for a time as a floating nightclub, her hulk was towed to the Keene Narrows in Bremen, Maine, where it was scuttled to serve as a breakwater for a lobster operation. Despite its deteriorating condition, the hulk is, at 273 feet (83 m) in length, one of the largest surviving wooden hulls in the United States. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.[1]


Cora F. Cressey was built in 1902 at the Percy and Small Shipyard (now the campus of the Maine Maritime Museum) in Bath, Maine. As built, she was a five-masted schooner, 273 feet (83 m) long, with a beam of 45.4 feet (13.8 m) and a hold depth of 27.9 feet (8.5 m). The hull was not diagonally braced, but did have iron belts that provided additional strength. She had a registered capacity of 2499 gross tons and 2089 net tons. She was fitted with two decks and had a typical crew complement of eleven. She had a steam engine that was used for the raising of anchors and sails, but carried no onboard propulsive power.[2]

Operational history

Cora F. Cressey was primarily engaged in transporting coal from southern ports to northern ports along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Her high bow is credited with helping her survive a gale in 1924 that caused the sinking of the Wyoming, the largest schooner ever built. She continued service until 1928, and in 1929 she was converted for use as a floating nightclub in Boston.[2] During her period as a floating club she was also towed to Gloucester, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island.

In 1938 her masts were removed, and she was purchased by the owner of a lobster pound in Bremen, Maine. She was towed to the Keene Narrows, between the mainland and Oar Island, and partially filled with sand. The attempt to adapt here for use as a pound included cutting holes in her hull in an unsuccessful bid to improve circulation within it, and she ended up acting as a breakwater for lobster pens set between her and the shore. In 1988, a 40-foot (12 m) section of her hull fell off. Portions of her fixtures and equipment were removed prior to her use as a breakwater, and survive as display items at the Maine Maritime Museum.[2]


Cora F. Cressey's hull is one of the largest surviving wooden hulls in the United States. Wooden ships of this size suffered from structural problems (due to the limitations of the construction materials), were often leaky, and could not withstand the stresses of fast sailing, despite having has many as seven masts. The latter issue placed them at a competitive disadvantage with steam-powered vessels, which could make passage more reliably than wind-powered schooners. There are no known surviving six- or seven-masted wooden schooner hulls.[2]

See also


  1. 1 2 National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "NRHP nomination for Cora F. Cressey" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2016-03-19.

External links

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