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    Provincetown History Snippets: What is The Portland Gale?

    Portland Gale Provincetown
    April 20, 2018

    On Saturday, November 26, 1898, New England was struck by a gale that killed over 200 persons and wrecked or sank at least 140 major vessels. The best-known victim of the gale was the coastal steamer Portland that gave the storm its name, lost off Cape Cod with 191 people aboard.

    Winds were clocked at up to 72 mph in Boston, and were stronger on Cape Cod. The coastline was littered with the wrecks and wreckage of dozens of vessels smashed or sunk by the fierce winds and seas. In Provincetown harbor over 30 vessels were blown ashore or sunk. Damage on Cape Cod was the worst; telegraph lines were brought down, railways washed out, and even the low scrub trees were blown away.

    The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum has a number of artifacts from the Portland, including furniture; the collection is unfortunately not on display at this time, with no plans for a public viewing.

    Image: Three-masted schooner Albert L. Butler, wrecked on Peaked Hill bars.

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