The Day The S/S Iroquis Ran Aground In Bar Harbor
Way back when in your grandmother's day, there were two steamships owned by the New York and Miami Steamship Corporation, they were S/S Iroquois and S/S Shawnee. On a very foggy morning in July something happened to one of them, something that is now legendary.
It was early in the morning on July 13th 1936, a little over three years before the start of World War II, and the S/S Iroquois was loaded with sleepy passengers who had just spent the day and night prior enjoying all that Bar Harbor had to offer at the time. Much like it is now, the tourists from all over had enjoyed a lobster dinner, music and dancing, and a good night's sleep within the luxury suites aboard the steamer S/S Iroquois, a passenger liner 408 feet long and 62 feet wide with twin steam driven turbines capable of driving the ship up to 19 knots.
The ship departed that morning for New York City with Captain Walter Hammond at the helm, but as it made it's way from the mainland and into a very foggy Mount Desert Narrows it came to an abrupt and very loud stop as it's stern rammed into the rocky shoreline of Bald Porcupine Island.
Things didn't look all that bad at first but then the tide went out, and there sat the S/S Iroquois beached high above the gravel.
Local Bar Harbor photographer Sewall Wesley Brown, a legend in his own right, took the photograph below that shows the bewildered passengers and crew looking out over the stern, probably wondering what would happen next.
Eventually the S/S Iroquois was pulled out by the USS Owl, a minesweeper based in New York City. The S/S Iroquois would later become the USS Solace, a U.S. Navy hospital ship that just happened to be at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7th, 1941, and it's crew treated thousands of patients.