Page 46 - Port of Baltimore - January/February 2018
P. 46

Levin J. Marvel Was a Fixture in TBaltimore Before Tragic End
his 1950 image from a busy come just five years later. The 125-foot pier in Baltimore Harbor vessel was a fixture in the harbor. shows two freighters looming For half a century, the Marvel, as she over a three-masted “ram” was known, had hauled pine from the schooner, the Levin J. Marvel Carolinas to Baltimore and returned with
— a vessel whose tragic end would bags of fertilizer, among other cargo.
As trucks and trains became the more economical choice for shipping cargoes up and down the bay, schooner owners looked for other uses for them.
The Marvel was converted to a passenger cruise boat, taking visitors
for trips on the Chesapeake. In August 1955, the vessel, now in poor repair,
set forth for a weeklong voyage with
a crew and passengers numbering 23. The new owner John Meckling, a World War II Coast Guard vet with little sea time, was at the helm. As the ship sailed south, Hurricane Connie spun up high winds and seas, tearing the old sails and battering the leaking and rotting hull.
The captain ultimately made the fatal error of turning for shore along Holland Point below the West River.
He encountered no safe haven and was pummeled by 10-foot seas. Doomed, he gave orders to abandon ship and the vessel rolled over. Meckling managed to get some of the passengers to a duck blind and some made it to shore, but in the end, 16 people lost their lives that day.
It was one of the most deadly shipwrecks on the Chesapeake. 􏰀
This image is from the archive of A. Aubrey Bodine (1906–1970). During his nearly 50-year career as a Baltimore Sun photographer, Bodine captured the city with an artist’s eye. His fine art work is known worldwide. Bodine’s work is available for viewing and prints and books may be purchased at
[44] The Port of Baltimore ■ January/February 2018

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