Have you heard the one about a train, a schooner, and a drawbridge?

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Train Disaster 1904
Locomotive poised above the Laurel River after crashing through a drawbridge and plunged into the river, 1904, Laurel, Delaware. Photograph by Albert H. Waller.

What’s going on here? Its definitely not your typical maritime photograph.

It’s a curious story. I came across the photograph quite by accident. It was filed under Golden Gate. On the morning of June 20, 1904, the schooner Golden Gate just happened to be passing under the drawbridge at Laurel, Delaware, when this locomotive broke through and plunged 50 feet into the Laurel River.   Read more

More Irma Bentley photos

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of35 Irma Bentley program 1983 (1)

These two photographs show just how important it is to catalog our old institutional photographs.  Awhile back I posted on Fun Fact Friday about our figurehead Irma Bentley, that we discovered was carved in the likeness of Mrs. Irma (Bentley) Murray as a young girl.  More can be read about that here.  Our wonderful volunteer, Melissa, has since finished cataloging the photographs, and as I was thumbing though them I found a folder marked “Irma Bentley Program”.  Apparently, when Irma visited the museum in 1983, she talked to a group of students about shipbuilding and figureheads, as pictured in the first image.  The second image shows Irma with her great-granddaughter.

It is a blast going through these old photographs!

Fun Fact Friday – Irma Bentley

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Back in 1935, the museum purchased a lot of figureheads, including a three quarter length figure of a girl with a carved knotted rope around her waist.  Like the other figureheads, her story was unknown until a chance visitor happened upon her in the late 1930’s.

Upon visiting our museum, Mrs. H.L. Shaw recognized this figurehead as one that had been on a ship built in 1908 by her father, George Edward Bentley, of Port Greville, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.  The ship was named Irma Bentley after George’s daughter who was a welcome companion on sailing trips as she did not get sea sick.  The figurehead was carved by an Alfred Nichols and was modeled after young Irma.   Read more