Public Art: Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial
Also Known As: Man at The Wheel statue; Fishermen’s Memorial Cenotaph
Sculptor: © Leonard Craske (1882–1950)
Date Unveiled: 1925
Cast: Gorham Company of Providence, Rhode Island
Description: The 2.4m green bronze statue depicts a fisherman in oilskins gripping the wheel of a ship, leg braced against the wheel column, as he battles a headwind. The fisherman statue faces out to sea and was modeled on a well known Gloucester fisherman, Captain Clayton Morrissey who died of a heart attack in 1936 (fittingly aboard his trawler Nimbus). Engraved at the base of the memorial are the names of over 3,000 souls who lost their lives at sea.
Location: The Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial can be found at South Stacy Boulevard, near the entrance of Stacy Esplanade in Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial To The Gloucester Fisherman, August 23, 1923
They That Go Down To The Sea In Ships
Background: Around 1924 The Gloucester Tercentenary Permanent Memorial Association sponsored a sculpture competition to commemorate Gloucester’s 300th anniversary and to permanently memorialize the thousands of fishermen lost at sea in the first three centuries of Gloucester’s history. The winner was British born sculptor Leonard Craske who had spent long hours aboard fishing schooners studying the lives of fishermen.
Gloucester is America’s oldest seaport. In the early 1700s it became an important shipbuilding town and as a result an important fishing port.
The Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
One of the worst years was in 1879 when a ferocious storm whipped up off the east coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. By the time the wind died down, 249 fishermen and 29 vessels were lost at sea.
The memorial also includes the names of the captain and crew of the Andrea Gail who were lost at sea in 1991, during the “Perfect Storm”. Their story was later made into a book and movie, The Perfect Storm.