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The Steamship Portland | Sign
Sign A large late 19th century painted wooden advertising sign for the Steamship Portland that made regularly scheduled runs between Boston, Massachusetts and Saint John, New Brunswick with stops in between to Portland, Bangor, Calais and Eastport, Maine. The sign measures 47 inches in length by 15 inches in width and is constructed of vertical tongue and groove wood boards with an outer edge frame wood moulding. The Steamship Portland was built in 1889 as a wooden-hulled side-wheel steamship by the New England Shipbuilding Company of Bath, Maine for the Portland Steam Packet Company of Portland. The steamship was 291 feet in length by 42 feet in breadth. It had a passenger capacity of up to 800 with a crew of 65. On November 27, 1898, the steamship was lost some 40 miles off of Boston on the Stellwagen Bank in a storm-of-the-century. All lives were lost including 63 crew members and 129 or 130 passengers. This storm become known as the Portland Gale in honor of the steamship. The steamship is often called "The Titanic of New England" due to its long-unknown location, the large loss of life, and its luxurious design. Not until over a century later, in 2002, was the wreck of the steamship located. Since then, numerous underwater explorations have been undertaken to document the well preserved steamship and the steamship is now protected as part of the Stellwegan Bank National Marine Sanctuary and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Tides Institute acquired the sign at auction in Boston. There is a similar sign for the Steamship Portland in the collections of the Maine Historical Society.