It seems we Mainers have been showing our unique hospitality to people from away for a long, long time. Case in point: the Shipwreck of the Wanby. It seems Maine is not just a great place for a planned vacation, but a pretty good place to be shipwrecked as well.

At 10:30 in the morning on March 9, 1921, the English steam freighter, The Wanby, hit the rocks off Walker's Point in Kennebunkport. The groan of the 3991 ton British ship being dragged across the rocks could be heard from Kennebunkport all the way to Cape Porpoise, three miles away! Schools from around the area closed for the day so kids could watch the Coast Guard try and salvage the ship, to no avail.

Kennebunk Historical Society
Kennebunk Historical Society

Luckily, no one was hurt in the shipwreck. In fact, things ended up pretty good for the crew. The Kennebunkport Historical Society wrote on their Facebook Page this week:

"Captain David Simpson ordered his crew ashore. The sailors bunked with hospitable local families who filled every minute of their stay with dances in their honor, clam digs, day trips to Portland, etc. Four cases of real Scotch whiskey salvaged from the Wandby were consumed during the interim. Tears of friendship were shed all around when the crew was sent back to England three weeks later."

I love how Mainers made the crew feel so welcome! The useless ship was gutted for parts, but the hull still remains to this day and is visited by shipwreck hunters every year. Did you know there are about 700 known shipwrecks in the Gulf of Maine?

The only person who witnessed the shipwreck was William Goodwin, the caretaker at the George H. Walker estate. Goodwin went on to become the caretaker of a President! Goodwin described the sound of the shipwreck as "a boiler factory falling down two flights of stairs." Amazing!

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