"G" is for Gundalow

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Visitor's ABC's

By John Hirtle, Beach News Staff

Beach News, Thursday, June 23, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of Beach News]
Each year, the Beach News is proud to feature an unique ongoing series of articles concerning interesting facts about the region's places and history. This year, we will be doing a virtual visitor's ABCs of the Seacoast region.

TRAVELING HISTORY -- While not as graceful as a tall ship, the gundalow harkens back to those bygone days of sail. Her 'cargo' of granite blocks in her deck is intended to help prevent the wooden hull from 'hogging' or warping in the water. Shown in the photo, is the Gundalow, moored in front of the Wentworth-Gardner House in Portsmouth. The orangy house on the left (behind the barn) was the home of Tobias Lear, who was George Washington's secretary; the steeple in the distance is the Children's Museum of Portsmouth.
[Beach News Photo by John Hirtle]

Gundalows were once as important to the Seacoast Area as tractor-trailer trucks and trains are today. Large, barge-like vessels with a sail, they plied the coastal waterways, rivers, and bays transporting people and goods.

Invented during Colonial times, these sturdy shallow-draft vessels were vital to the area’s economy. Taking advantage of the flood tides, a gundalow could be floated deep into the marshlands, where it would be landed as the tide went out. Here, it could unload cargo (if there was a settlement or customer nearby) or in most cases, pick up cargo such as hay from the marshes, mast trees and milled lumber from settlements in Dover and along Great Bay. Then as the tide came back in, the vessel would be refloated, and would take advantage of the turning tide and wind to leave it’s landing spot for it’s next destination, where the cargo would be unloaded.

Competition from the railroads, trucks and powered transport spelled the demise of the gundalow, which completely vanished from local waters by the 1930s. However, a modern reproduction now sails in local waters, the Captain Edward H. Adams. Built at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, the vessel was launched in 1982 and sails the old trade routes as an educational vessel.

"G" is also for:
Gold Leaf Tobacconist,
a specialty tobacco shop.
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