The 320’ coal schooner George W. Wells, launched from Camden’s Holly M. Bean yard (now Wayfarer Marine) on August 4, 1900, has been fitted out and lies to her anchors, ready for sea. Thousands gathered that day to watch as the vessel was christened with a scattering of white roses and the simultaneous release of a flock of white pigeons. The Wells was the first schooner to carry six masts; she lay 325 feet long in the water, was 48 feet at the beam, and weighed 2,970 tons. She was well-appointed for a cargo schooner, and in addition to steam-powered hoists for transferring cargo–often coal or lumber–her amenities included telephone lines between critical centers of operation on board, steam heat, and hot and cold running water. If the Wells weren’t enough, managing owner John Crowley commissioned the steel-hulled seven-master Thomas W. Lawson a year later.

Despite her considerable bulk, the Wells was formidable at sea, handling well and making good speed. She came to grief during a hurricane off Ocracoke, North Carolina, in early September of 1903, not 3 years after her commissioning. A daring rescue attempt by local Life Saving Servicemen brought the entire crew ashore, but the enormous vessel was driven up onto the beach and wrecked.

Camden, ME

Catalog Number LB2013.21.264