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Gallery: Beached Boats and Shipwrecks No Coastal Strangers

For centuries storms have claimed Swampscott boats.

For centuries storms have taken a toll on Swampscott boats and claimed lives offshore.

A week ago at least three of about 18 boats that it had ripped from mooring lines in and around Swampscott Harbor.

Owners and most received limited damage.

Potent storms, whether tropical, hurricanes or nor'easters, have for centuries beached boats and wreaked havoc with local mariners.

Swampscott resident Robert Powell sent us photographs that show what a storm did to local craft less than 10 years ago.

The photographs show boats pitched on rocks and crashed below the fish pier.

These sights were familiar a week ago after a south wind blew into Swampscott Harbor.

Other storms in the past half century or so have also left their mark on Swampscott.

Local historian Lou Gallo says back-to-back storms in 1954 felled hundreds of trees in Swampscott.

"The boats took a back seat to the trees," he said.

Hurricane Carol arrived Aug. 31, 1954, followed less than two weeks later by Hurricane Edna.

Some 500 trees were toppled. Many were elms and had Dutch elm disease and had stood on Puritan Road, he said.

The trees were cut up and dumped at the sand and gravel quarry where they were burned, Gallo said.

In the early 1960s — Gallo believes it was Hurricane Donna in 1960 — a storm threw a famous local sailboat on to the rocks at the western end of Fisherman's Beach.

George Boston built the 30-foot ketch Fiddler's Green on his lawn at his home on Paradise Road, Gallo said.

His goal was to sail the boat around the world. He did not make it all the way around the world, and, years later, disappeared in a boat in the Bermuda Triangle, Gallo said.

But in the early 1960s storm the Fiddler's Green broke from its Swampscott Harbor mooring and crashed on Fisherman's Beach.

The masts leaned over Humphrey Street blocking traffic, the local historian said.

The most famous shipwreck in Swampscott was the Tedesco but there have been others including the Lucia Porter in 1915 and the Fred Bliss in 1869.

Jan. 18, 1857, the bark Tedesco of Portland, Maine wrecked in waters behind what is now Marian Court College after the ship struck a boulder.

The boat's cargo was sherry wine, salt and raisins.

All 12 aboard, the crew and captain, were lost, Gallo said. Their bodies came ashore at Whale Beach.

The crew is buried at the Swampscott Cemetery.

According to the book Storms and Shipwrecks of New England, the Tedesco was lost when a blizzard swept the coast after an unusually calm day.  

"The day had been so clam that fisherman returning to shore had left their dories only a little above the high water mark, the book states. "In the morning splinters remained."

Today, you can find what is believed to be one of two Tedesco anchors near Fisherman's beach.

The anchor is a memorial to Swampscott mariners who lost their lives at sea and is in the park above Fisherman's Beach near the boulder dedicated to Marine Corps Lieutenant General John C. Chaisson.

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