PORT OF THE PRIVATEERS
It has been two centuries since the Liverpool Packet prowled the New England coast, but visitors to the Queens County Museum in its namesake Nova Scotia town can once again walk its deck. A full-size replica of the first thirtyfour feet of the vessel was installed as an interactive exhibit in 2014 to tell the story of the men who waged economic warfare in the age of sail.
Highway signs bearing the slogan “Port of the Privateers” welcome visitors to Liverpool, which was founded in 1759. “Our privateers earned that name,” said Linda Rafuse, the museum’s director. “It’s an important part of our history. That’s our drawing card.”
Each June the town of 2,500, which is about a ninetyminute drive southwest of Halifax, hosts Privateer Days, a weekend of music and events that recall the days when Liverpool vessels set out in search of prizes. A highlight is an encampment of red- coated re- enactors who portray members of the King’s Orange Rangers, a unit garrisoned in Liverpool during the American Revolution to repulse attacks from American privateers.
Large nineteenth- century homes, built by sea captains and merchants who grew wealthy from the sale of captured vessels and cargoes, line Liverpool’s Main Street. The closure of the area’s major employer, a pulp mill shuttered in 2012, has made tourism even more important to the town. Privateering — the memory of it, at least — is still a mainstay of Liverpool’s economy.