"S" is for Special Seacoast Ships
By John Hirtle, Beach News Staff
Beach News, Thursday, August 11, 2005
[The following article is courtesy of Beach News]
Scores of ships have set forth from the Seacoast’s shipyards over the centuries. A handful have achieved lasting fame. The frigate Alliance was built on the shores of the Merrimack River near today’s I-95, and wound up as the longest-serving vessel in the Continental Navy before the creation of the U.S. Navy.
The Newburyport-built clipper ship Dreadnought was among the fastest of her day on her trans-Atlantic runs.
During the Revolutionary War, John Paul Jones, the "Father of the U.S. Navy" sailed for Europe on the Portsmouth-built warship Ranger, before he took command of the Bonhomme Richard and defeated the HMS Serapis in a famed battle.
The U.S.S. Kearsarge, a Portsmouth build steam frigate sailed on to defeat the notorious Confederate commerce raider Alabama off the coast of France during the Civil War.
In 1939, the new Portsmouth-built submarine U.S.S. Squalus sank off the Seacoast. Her crew was the first submarine crew to be successfully rescued with a diving bell, and she was later raised and returned to service.
During World War Two, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard broke world records in submarine construction time and quality. Despite consisting of only 2% of the U.S. fleet, these submarines helped sink 98% of Japan’s merchant and warship fleets. One of them, the U.S.S. Archerfish, sank the Japanese super-carrier Shinano, the largest warship ever lost in combat. Another Portsmouth-built submarine, the U.S.S. Finback, would rescue a certain navy aviator named George H.W. Bush, who would go on to become the 41st President of the United States - and father of President George W. Bush.
Of all the Seacoast-built ships, only the U.S.S. Albacore can be visited locally. Situated on land off the Market Street Extension in Portsmouth NH, she is now open to the public. Built as an experimental submarine, she influenced the hull designs of all submarines which followed her into the oceans depths.
Salisbury Beach, a great place to spend a sunny summer day.
The Sands, where you’re sure to have an entertaining evening.
Seabrook Greyhound Park, where you can see live racing.
Smith & Gilmore, which will take you out for a fine day of fishing.
Surf Sweet Candy, a place to satisfy your sweet tooth.