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A tragic end for the hard-working sardine carrier Jacob Pike

By The Editors

Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

Jacob Pike, for over half a century an iconic sight along the Maine coast, is shown here under way near Rockland, Maine, on July 18, 1978. The sardine carrier, which outlasted many of her sisterships built during the post-war herring boom in Maine, fell victim to the winter storms that ravaged the coast in January, 2024.

Built at the Newbert and Wallace Yard in Thomaston and launched in 1949, the 83-foot sardine carrier was owned by the Holmes Packing Company. In the 1950s, sardines were a big business for Maine. According to an article posted by the Island Institute’s Working Waterfront, in 1950 there were 46 active canneries employing more than 10,000 people. Jacob Pike was one of the first to have refrigeration and a modern electrical system. As the industry declined, she remained a working vessel, carrying fish and lobster bait.

In 2007 she was purchased by the Penobscot Marine Museum with plans of turning her into a floating museum. Those hopes fell through though, and she was put back to work for several more years. In the end, awaiting repairs by a new owner, she sank in the New Meadows River off Harpswell.

This photo is from the Everett L. “Red” Boutilier Collection at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport. You can search the museum’s extensive photo collections online at

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