Friday, January 18, 2019

Kittery Trading Post

Our in-laws had told us that we should visit Kittery Trading Post when we arrived in Maine.  It is a fascinating store that you can best think of as an independently owned precursor to stores like Bass Pro and Cabela's.

1938: Philip (Bing) Adams purchases Kittery Trading Post on Route One in Kittery, Maine from Frank Haskell for the sum of $4,000.00.

The store was originally purchased by the family that still runs it back in 1938 and was a gas station and small one-room building.  It has since grown into a much larger establishment this is fun to walk around.  You can read more about the history of the store on their website's history page.

Outside we browsed through the bargain tent for a bit.

Inside I was excited to see a penny machine.  I enjoy adding new smashed pennies to my collection.
We bought this sticker to decorate our ice chest.
 I always enjoy seeing taxidermy specimens, especially if it is an animal I can't see that close up in the wild like a moose.
 I of course had to check out the book section.
 I thought this display was rather clever to show off waterproof paper.
 They didn't have a huge selection of books, but it was fun to look through them.
 I enjoyed seeing a short history presented on this sign by the cashiers.
These photographs of the store over the years were also interesting to see.

If you drive to Maine along the coast from Massachusetts it is well worth taking a few minutes to stop by Kittery Trading Post and stretching your legs.  You might even find something interesting to buy.  The above and other pictures I took can be found in this album.

~Matt

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

After we finished up touring the Charlestown Navy Yard we headed out of town.  Salem Maritime Naval Historic Site on our short list of parks to visit but realized that we might not have time to visit the next morning as we had originally planned, so we decided to see if we could visit in the evening before going back to our campground.

Established on March 17, 1938 as the first National Historic Site in the United States, the site consists of nine acres of land and twelve historic structures along the Salem waterfront, as well as a downtown visitor center. The site includes the Custom House, Public Stores, Scale House, Hawkes House, Derby House, West India Good Store, Pedricks Store House, a lighthouse and three historic wharves.
--from Salem Maratime NHS website

We first visited the main information center in town.
Inside were a few nautical exhibits.
This is a model of the brig Leander, which was built in Salem.
The kids had fun with the photo prop.
 We left the visitor center and headed out to the ocean-side portion of the park on foot.
 This statue in the middle of town was "erected by the followers of very reverend Theobald Mathew Apostle of Temperance."
 Our first stop was at the Waite and Peirce store, which also serves as a second visitor center for the park.  Due to the lateness of the day we also knew we'd better hit the store before it closed while we would have longer to wander around outside.  The original Waite and Peirce were a merchant outfit that commissioned the original of the ship Friendship that is usually docked at the park (sadly it wasn't in port the day we visited).
The park consists of a series of several buildings and three wharves jutting into the water.
The wharves were once busy commercial areas bustling with ships and cargoes being loaded and unloaded.
This store house (originally located elsewhere) was first built in 1770.
This is where the Friendship of Salem normally moors.
The older kids and I walked all the way to the end of Derby Wharf.

 Once we got out there we could take a closer look at Derby Light.
The lighthouse was built in 1871.   It isn't much to look at compared to other iconic structures, but it was fun to take the walk all the way to the end of the wharf.

Once we walked back we crossed the street to look at the Custom House.  Nathaniel Hawthorne was actually posted here from 1846 to 1849 as the port's surveyor and we have this posting to blame for the genesis of his novel The Scarlet Letter.
Inside this impressive building were the offices of United States Customs Service collectors, inspectors, and other officials.  It was here that ship's captains and owners paid duties on imported goods and conducted other business.  Before the passage of the Federal Income Tax Act of 1913, customs duties on ship's cargoes provided most of the money to run the Federal Government.  Between 1789 and 1840, duties collected here earned the Treasury more than $20 million--a substantial amount in those days.
--from exhibit signage

Next to the Custom House is the Hawkes House, built in 1780.
Next to the Hawkes House is the Derby House, the oldest brick house in town that dates from 1762.
Behind the Derby House we found a garden area.

There were many beautiful blooms to be discovered.
Behind the Custom house was the Public Stores building used to store goods destined for another port or awaiting payment of duties.
The sites of several other structures were visible behind this area as we continued walking away from the ocean and closer to our car.
As I recall we got back just a few minutes before our paid parking expired--or maybe parking in the later afternoon/early evening was free and we'd ended up in that time period.  Either way we wasted no time but packed up and headed back to the campsite as we had a good drive the next day as we headed north into Maine.  All of my pictures from this site are visible in this album.

~Matt

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Boston National Historical Park - USS Cassin Young

The second ship that we visited at the Charlestown Shipyard was the USS Cassin Young, a ship from a period much later than the USS Constitution.  It wasn't the first World War II ship that I'd visited as I got to go aboard the German U-boat U-505 back in 2007 (though sadly no pictures were allowed) and spent several hours aboard the USS Wisconsin at Nauticus.  The Cassin Young is a destroyer built in 1943.

Built for speed and capability, USS Cassin Young engaged in seven Pacific battles in World War II, survived two Kamikaze hits, and served another full decade beyond her expected lifetime. Built in 1943 in San Pedro, California, she is one of 175 Fletcher-class destroyers built during World War II. Here in Charlestown, this navy yard built dozens of similar ships during the war. In the 1950s, Cassin Young and many other destroyers received regular repairs and modernization in Charlestown.
--from Boston NHS website

While nowhere near as big as the Wisconsin had been there was still plenty to explore aboard the Cassin Young.

A number of torpedoes were stored above deck, ready to be launched when necessary against an enemy vessel.
Anti-aircraft guns like these 40 mm ones were essential, especially in the Pacific theater.  "Each gun mount had two barrels, and each barrel could fire 160 rounds per minute..."  Ships wanted as many options as possible when faced by suicide plane (kamikaze) attacks.
The equipment in the galley (the ship's kitchen) was large as it was designed to be able to feed quite a few people.

This was the Combat Information Center (CIC) was the hub of the ship's operations.

"Information collected by visual means and by radar, sonar, and radio was assembled and evaluated here and then relayed to the appropriate combat stations on the ship or to neighboring vessels."

While the ship was in port this was the captain's cabin.
This might have been the officer's mess.
Not all areas of the ship were open to tour.
The anti-submarine homing torpedo (Mk32) was developed after World War II as a weapon against increasingly high-speed submarines.  This torpedo was self-propelled and actively sought out its target by detecting noise made by a submarine.  The MK32 torpedo's fins were wider than its body,a nd so it could not be launched from tubes.  Instead they were "thrown" over the side by a launch system.  The Cassin Young carried one launcher with three torpedoes on each side of her deck.
--from exhibit signage

Shells for the big 5 inch guns.
The five inch guns were the ship's largest weapons, but by no means its only means of attack.
These 20mm anti-aircraft guns provided a final line of defense against attacks.  They were apparently all removed during a modernization of the ship in 1952 at the Charlestown Navy Yards and must have been put back later when it was prepared as a Museum ship.
 Depth charges were explosive charges used to attack submerged submarines.

After leaving the Cassin Young we headed back to see one more part of the shipyard.  First were these flags showing the flags used during the Barbary War and the War of 1812.

Behind the flags was a now-empty, but once bustling dry dock.

This dry dock was first used by the USS Constitution in 1833.

The dry dock worked on a similar principle as a lock on a canal.  The interior was flooded, the ship was brought inside, and then the water was gradually pumped out until the vessel could be fully supported without the water.

This was the caisson at the ocean end of the dry dock.

You can view these pictures and more from the ship yards in this album.

~Matt