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Why Polly Lasted as Long as She Did

The view from an observer in 1913

In considering the great age of the Polly we must not lose sight of the fact that the shipwrights of a century ago, like the house-joiners, built well, hewing their timbers and fastening the ends with loving care. In those days the personality of the man went into his hand-wrought work. Then, too, lumber was plenty, and the ships, like the houses of our New England ancestors, contained beams from three to four times as large as we put into similar construction to-day. Of all this the Polly is still a living witness, and further, with her clean run, high-pooped stern, the break and quarter-deck, and with her round, apple-shaped bows, she may be considered as representing the first definite expression of the marine architecture of the American Republic. Thus in preserving and memorializing the Polly, we are doing honor to those early builders, who, though classed as artisans, were animated with the true spirit of the fine arts. It was their handiwork, of which this little vessel is the sole survivor, that was destined soon to make our merchant fleet the marvel of the world.
From *History of the City of Belfast in the State of Maine, Volume II, 1875-1900, by Joseph Williamson (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 1913)

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