The Friendship of Salem

It looks like our little heat wave will be over by tomorrow; in any case it is generally cool and breezy aboard the Friendship of Salem on Derby Wharf in Salem Harbor, which is where I’ll be for Summer Sipping aboard the Friendship, the occasionally/annual fundraiser for Salem’s venerable preservation organization, Historic Salem, Incorporated.  Few things are more pleasurable than drinking on deck with friends.

The twentieth-century Friendship  is a reconstruction of the three-masted, 342-ton East Indiaman bearing the same name built in 1797.  The original Friendship completed 15 voyages, to ports all over the world, before her capture by the British in the War of 1812 on the return voyage from Russia.  The new Friendship sailed into Salem Harbor in 1998, as part of  the Salem Maritime National Historic Site’s general policy to make Derby Wharf  look (and feel) more historically accurate and active.  A replica rigging shed and the Pedrick Store House have since followed.  Here are two views of the ship, the first taken from the shade and shelter of the rigging shed on a blistering 100-degree Friday:

The builders of the new Friendship had lots of visual evidence to guide them:  an 1804 model made by a member of the original ship’s crew and several contemporary paintings, all in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum.

The Friendship Homeward Bound, George Ropes, Jr., 1805. Peabody Essex Museum

The Friendship of Salem, Guiseppe Fedi. Peabody Essex Museum

Once the new Friendship arrived in Salem, it was as if it had always been there; everyone really misses it when it is not docked at the wharf.  It just seems to belong in Salem, which is one reason I find the images below both compelling and rather jolting. The first photographs show the Friendship in full sail just outside Newport, leading the 2007  Tall Ships Rhode Island Parade of Sail, while the last two views place the ship in waters familiar to me:  the Seacoast area of southern Maine/New Hampshire near where I grew up.  The first is by Kittery Point photographer Barbara Ingersoll and the last shot shows the Friendship sailing under the 1914 Memorial Bridge that links Maine and New Hampshire, which (since it’s all about preservation) was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Places List in 2009.


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