Numerous primitive boat-building operations were scattered across the Westport landscape from the Head of Westport to Westport Harbor creating yawls, cats, sloops, scows and schooners. These boats traversed the rivers, bays and distant harbors on fishing voyages, and to conduct trade and regional commerce.
WESTPORT’S SHIPBUILDING CHALLENGES
In the early years, launching boats and conducting business on the Noquochoke (East Branch of the Westport River) was relatively straightforward. Boats were generally of the smaller variety, and the unique locations of launching points and river crossings did little to impact the boatbuilding business. With the advent of the whaling industry and need of larger sea-going vessels and navigational restraints, the challenges to the shipbuilder and the trade became more apparent.
SHIPBUILDING – WHERE DID THEY BUILD THESE SHIPS?
There appears to be very little documented evidence of exactly where early boat building took place, it is easy to surmise that many locations along the inland waterways around Westport were extremely well-suited to the building and launching of virtually any sea-going vessel.
SHIPBUILDERS, ALLEN AND SISSON AND THE KATE CORY
In the shipyard behind the Cory store, Frank Sisson and Eli Allen built the Kate Cory in 1856. The specifications have been transcribed from the original document in the collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.