home of the Marco Polo


Imagine what this narrow bay at the mouth of Marsh Creek would have looked like 150 years ago. Imagine away the train tracks, the smoke stacks, the silt. Imagine the golden age of sail, a sea of masts, a tide of longshoremen. Imagine long piers, and the rough bones of new ships being built, one rib at a time. Imagine the Marco Polo, launched on the 17th of April, 1851 from the yard of James Smith at Marsh Creek. She was a clipper, with stout planking of tamarack, pitch pine, and oak and three tall masts. She was the biggest ship the yard had built, and when she was launched, she got stuck in the mud for two weeks. Imagine this ship, free to ply her trade across the seas, sailing across the North Atlantic to Liverpool, England in just fifteen days. She was the first ship to circumnavigate the world in less than six months, travelling from Liverpool to Melbourne, Australia, and back in 5 months and 24 days in 1852. She was the fastest ship in the world. And she was built right here.

Taken on July 12, 2010

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