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Some bulk cargos still had to be landed in Gloucester, salt for curing fish being the most important. “Salt barks” brought Tortugas salt from the West Indies, and in the 1870s, Italian salt barks began bringing Trapani salt from Sicily. The importation of salt by sailing ships ended with the outbreak of World War I.
Castine made the salt trade one of its main industries, along with fishing. Salt warehouses would store the salt brought from Cadiz and Liverpool. The merchants not only supplied salt to their own vessels, but vessels from a large area. Sometimes as many as 500 fishing boats would be waiting in the harbor to take salt aboard.
Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History (New York: Walker & Co., 2002), 419–20.
Wilson Museum, "The Salt Trade of Castine, Wilson Museum Bulletin (Summer 1977).
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
This view of Gloucester's Inner Harbor shows three square-rigged vessels in the salt trade at anchor. The one at left is a (full-rigged) ship; the other two are barks. By the nature of their cargos, they were known as "salt ships" and "salt barks" respectively. Due to their draft (too deep to unload at wharfside) they were partially unloaded at anchor by "lighters" before being brought to the wharves for final unloading.
– Erik Ronnberg