Frozen on the River in 1918
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive

1918 ferry detailSeacoastNH.com Presents
Historic Portsmouth #449

And you think you're frozen? February 11, 1918 was a record breaker. We've seen images of this famous day in this column before when the Piscataqua River turned into a sheet of ice. But this image offers an excellent close-up of the ice-jammed ferry on the Kittery side. (Continued below)

 

Remember, this was five years before the Memorial Bridge opened connecting traffic from Portsmouth to Maine. Technically the river was not frozen. The ice sheet formed when floating chunks of ice from Great Bay collided with the outgoing tide. But Portsmouth was not alone. A New York newspaper from February 11 reported that a relief ship sent out from Woods Hole at Cape Cod was also imprisoned in ice floes. In Penobscot Bay a government steamer smashed through the ice to bring supplies to islanders stranded at Vinalhaven, Maine, while in the Monongahela River, an avalanche of trapped ice reported to be 10 miles long and 30 feet high threatened Pennsylvania residents. History was also made in Stamford Connecticut when publisher Louis Kennedy successfully drove his 3,000 pound automobile across the frozen bay to the Stamford Lighthouse and back two times. (Photo courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum)

Ferry frozen in Piscataqua River 1918 / Portsmouth Athenaeum

CLOSE-UP DETAILS

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