On Saturday, December 11, 2010, at 1:00 p.m., there will be a special event at Sohier Park in York, Maine. It’s not a Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses event, but I thought you’d like to know about it.
December 11 marks the 300th anniversary of one of the best known shipwrecks in New England history — the wreck in a winter storm of the English ship Nottingham Galley at Boon Island, about eight miles off the coast of York. The wreck was front page news of its day. The harrowing tale of the ten men who survived for more than three weeks on the island. — and the four who died — became the basis of Kenneth Roberts’ popular novel Boon Island, published in 1956. The small, barren island is now home to New England’s tallest lighthouse, built in 1855. Cannons and other artifacts from the Nottingham Galley wreck were recovered in 1995.
We invite you to join the Old York Historical Society for an observance of the Nottingham Galley shipwreck. We will gather outside at 1:00 p.m. at Sohier Park, near the famous Nubble Lighthouse. Speakers will include Richard Bowen, progeam coordinator for the Old York Historical Society, Bob Trapani, executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation, and me. The shipwreck will be recounted, and excerpts will be read from the novel Boon Island. The preservation of Boon Island Lighthouse by the American Lighthouse Foundation will also be discussed.