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Military


Swinemunde

One well-defended point was Swinemunde, at the mouth of the Oder, and the Seagate of Stettin. Here the military looked after the batteries, though the minefields were under naval supervision. Swinemiinde is situated on the island of Usedom, at the entrance of the channel of Swine, which connects the Grosse Haff with the Baltic.

At the Peace of Westphalia Stettin was given over to Sweden, and by that of Stockholm, 1720, transferred to Prussia. All ships to and from Stettin passed Swinemunde, and, till the early 19th Century, the entrance was obstructed by a bar, so that ships drawing more than seven feet water could not pass it; and large vessels were obliged to discharge part of their cargoes inio lighters before they could proceed to Stettin ; and those which were going to sea had to complete their cargoes after crossing the bar.

To remedy this inconvenience, which was more and more felt as the trade of Stettin increased, it was resolved to construct two great moles, and thoroughly deepen the entrance. This great work was commenced in 1817, and happily completed in six years, so that now, as Hrschelmann states, the largest merchantmen could proceed direct to Stettin without unloading any part of their cargoes. Nearly 1000 ships annually enter the river in the 1840s.

Swinemunde was a pleasant town, with nearly 4000 inhabitants, who were for the most part fishermen, pilots, and sailors. The pilots formed a distinct guild under a commander: they had a watchtower on the coast, and were bound to look out for and announce the arrival of ships, as well as to bring them into the harbor. The town has a considerable trade, and many merchantmen were built here. It had become of late years a much frequented waiering-place.

Swinemunde, of 3500 Inhab., acquired importance from the improvements made in its harbor, which rendered it the outport of Stettin. The entrance to it was unluckily very shallow, but extensive moles and works had been erected, and dredging machines were constantly employed in deepening the bed of the Oder to remedy this defect, and it was capable of admitting vessels drawing 18 or 19 ft. water to unload their cargoes, and in securing a depth of 12 to 16 ft. even up as far as Stettin.

By the late 1860s ships coming from the northward must bring the new lighthouse (250 feet high) to bear S. by E. per compass, and run in. At a distance of about one English mile from the East Pierhead, or the old light-house, the captain will see a buoy, chequered black and white (the outermost one), which may be passed on either bide. Here both beacons bearing S.S.E. should be in one. Keep this direction; both beacons, the first on the Eastmoole and that standing on shore, in one, and run for the harbour. About a cable's length from the old light-house is a black buoy, which is to be left on the larboard side. The channel goes along the Eastmoole, from which you have to keep off, according to circumstances, a distance of a couple of ship lengths, always leaving the white buoys to starboard, and the black ones to larboard. In heavy gales of wind, when it is impossible for the pilots to go to sea, the pilot-boat will remain at the first beacon of direction on the Eastmoole, where a red flag will be hoisted. When stormy easterly winds are blowing, vessels must be prepared to carry heavy sail, as the current with this wind runs very strong to the westward. The common depth of water in and before the harbour is 22 feet In the Roads, as well as in the harbor, there is good anchorage. The common river depth to Stettin was 14 feet.

Swinemunde, a town of Prussia, in Pomerania, on the East coast of the island of Usedom, on the middle mouth of the Oder, or rather of the lagoon, or half, which receives it previously to its falling into the sea. The Population was 6,452 in 1861. By the mid-1860s Swinemunde was the outport of Stettin ; all vessels destined for the latter, that drew more than 7 or 8 ft. water, being obliged to load and unload by means of lighters at Swinemnde. Formerly there were not more than 7 ft, water over the bar at the river's mouth ; but it has recently been so much improved by dredging, and the construction of piers, that vessels drawing from 19 to 21 ft, water came to the quays of Swinemunde, and its port was the best on the whole S. coast of the Baltic.

About one mile from the town, and separated from it by a wood, lie the Sea Baths of Swinemunde, consisting of a Bath-house and an Assembly-room (Gesellschaftshaus), in which there is a daily table-d'hte, dinner at one. Visitors usually lodge at the inns in the town. Distinct spots, separated by considerable intervals, are marked out on the sea-shore as bathing-places for ladies and gentlemen. At the one extremity men are allowed to bathe without bathing-machines or covered cabinets ; at the opposite end the females enjoy the same privileges ; and between these remote spots are ranged bathing-machines for either sex.

HERINGSDORF, AHLBECK, and SWINEMUNDE lie close together on the northern coast of the island of USEDOM, one of the two islands at the mouth of the Oder, to the north of Stettin. These places have a broad level beach of fine white sand, constituting a natural promenade that connects them. Heringsdorf is considered the most fashionable seaside resort on the Baltic, and has therefore sometimes been called the ' Ostend of the Baltic.' It had fine villas and hotels well suited to such a place, but, unlike Ostend, it can boast of shady woodland (beech, oak, pine) close to the sea. Swinemunde consisted of two portions - a harbor portion along the Swine, and a coast portion facing the Baltic ; between the two is a beautiful forest of beech. In 1896 muriated mineral springs were discovered in this wood, and a fine bathing establishment has been erected close to the harbor portion of the town, with arrangements for brine baths (Soolbader), moor baths, and a swimming bath of sea-water, etc.




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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:54:50 ZULU