Salem was also home to the first American ocean-going yacht. Built purely for pleasure by shipsmaster George Crowninshield Jr. in 1816, Cleopatra’s Barge had fittings and decorations suggestive of a small palace. The gaily painted and meant-to-be-noticed vessel was enjoyed for only one transatlantic voyage before the owner’s death on board.
Her furnishings were removed and distributed to the family, and Cleopatra’s Barge was sold for a song. After one trading voyage to Brazil, she was resold to the Hawaiian royal family in 1820, and wrecked in April, 1824 on the Island of Kauai by a drunken crew.