Jennie Flood Kreger

On March 5, l9l9, the Jennie Flood Kreger slid down the ways into Belfast harbor. At 245 feet overall and almost 1844 tons, she was the largest vessel ever built in Belfast and the only five–masted schooner. She was the result of a brief ship building boom at the end of World War I when freight rates soared. The Jennie was built by Mathews Brothers, a Belfast wood products company, whose president, Orlando Frost, personally supervised construction. She was built for Crowell & Thurlow of Boston and commanded by Captain William R. Kreger. The ship was named for Kreger’s wife, Jennie.

The Jennie was described by the Republican Journal newspaper as being “a beauty as she stood on the ways ready to plunge into waters of the Penobscot Bay”. No other Belfast ship had captured local interest and imagination as had the Jennie. It was an event just to visit the ship while under construction and an even greater event on launch day. Crowds of excited on–lookers cheered when she entered the water and once she was safely at anchor a number of lucky people were ferried out by the steamer Golden–Rod for a tour of the ship. It was reported that a “moving picture man” was aboard documenting the excitement and Charles Townsend, a local photographer, captured each phase of the construction and made his photos into postcards for sale. Sadly, the Jennie’s launch ushered in the end of ship building days in Belfast and in 1920 the Blanche C. Pendleton was the last schooner to be built.