Portland (1890)
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Dec. 15, 2014

My folks bought the Blanchard house from Fred Blanchard. I grew up there, now,I'm 72. Fred's wife, Lucy,was part of our family, more so when Fred died. Lucy gave me Captain Hollis Blanchard's hand-carved flute, which I still have. Out in my garage is the old wheel barrel that was owned by the captain's son ,Fred. My brother and I have fond memories of the Blanchard family. We still miss them!

James Robinson

June 29, 2009

Below is an article in one of the area history Fire Department books that I helped put together back in 1999. It tells of Captain Blanchard's family thoughts on the sinking of the Portland Steamer in 1898. Hollis Blanchard's son Fred lived a few house from my house in Westbrook, Maine.

Ken Moody

THE BLANCHARD HOUSE 639 DUCK POND ROAD In the 1920's, Fred Blanchard (son of Hollis Blanchard, Captain of the ill fated steamer PORTLAND which was lost in the gale of 1998) purchased the old Gowen Tavern with a considerable parcel of land. Mr. Blanchard built several houses on this land and sold them off. In the early 1930's he sold the tavern after building a house for himself on a parcel of land not far from the tavern. Fred Blanchard drove a horse and wagon into the 1950's he never owned a motor vehicle.

The tragedy of the PORTLAND bothered him and he refused to discuss it with anyone, including the late author and lecturer Edward Rowe Snow who was well known for his lectures, books and articles on New England. Fred's wife Lucy Blanchard is remembered by local residents as being very vocal in defense of her father-in-law whom felt was unjustly portrayed as being irresponsible and negligent in the loss of the PORTLAND. Lucy Blanchard maintained that years after the tragedy an employee that was working in the offices of the Portland Steam Packet Company in Boston at the time of the tragedy told her that Captain Hollis Blanchard was pressured by company officials into taking the PORTLAND out to sea against his better judgment as in the words of his bosses; "There are a lot of important people who expect to be in Portland tomorrow morning and we don't want to disappoint them." The Blanchards are long gone yet the house still stands as a part of the interesting history of this area.

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