Camden: A View of the Shipbuilding Port and Mt. Battie in 1886


Beautiful Camden, Maine, is a show stopping New England town that displays the evidence of being tastefully preserved by those custodians responsible for maintaining its charm. An essential purpose in this painting was to feature the H.M. Bean Shipbuilding Yard which awarded Camden a hallowed reputation for producing some of the finest schooners ever built. As years went by in the days of merchant sail the schooners produced there got bigger and bigger and looked more and more spectacular on the ways.

Framed against Mt. Battie at a time when it was virtually bare of trees, this view takes in the town of Camden to the left, as a small schooner reduces sail as she reaches up harbor to her mooring. A familiar sight in Camden harbor at the time was the tug “Bismark” which rests at her berth adjacent to the two railways of the repair yard, seen with one of the cradles dismantled for repair. To the right, the four masted centerboard schooner “King Phillip” is being prepared for its launch on September 15th 1886. She was of 1163.65 tons net register, 226 ft. long on deck, 42.5 ft. beam and 20 ft. depth of hold. Lower masts, made of hard pine in four pieces were 97 ft. long, topmasts of spruce 53 ft. long.

The largest vessel built in Camden to that date, an article in the Rockland Free Press, Oct. 13th, 1886 read: “Lots of splendid vessels have had their first dip into Penobscot waters and the best of these is the King Phillip – the pet of her captain and the pride of Camden.”

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