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A Look Back Into the History of Boatbuilding | Soundings Online

To the Races

In 1890, Congress passed an act to “extend to foreign nations an invitation to send ships of war to join the U.S. Navy” in an international review of ships. The event would be part of the World’s Columbian Exposition, scheduled for Chicago in 1893 and commemorating the “discovery” of the Americas by Christopher Columbus.



A savior to boats and men

She was the dedicated keeper of Lime Rock Light Station in Newport, Rhode Island, and an expert small-boat handler. Admired by a U.S. president for her courage, she was a 19th century rock star, featured in Harper’s Weekly and Putnam’s magazines. She earned the Gold Lifesaving Medal and was officially credited with saving at least 18 lives.



Community Action

Dave Ryder (left) and Ben Gilley shuck scallops at Gilley’s cottage at South Wharf in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, in 1950. The old-timers were preparing food for the Allen’s Neck Clambake, an annual summer event that fed fresh seafood harvested from the abundant local waters — not to mention homemade sausages and pies, local corn and sweet potatoes — to as many as 500 guests and 125 workers in its heyday. A cord of hardwood, a ton of rockweed and a ton and a half of round stones made up the ovens.



Tourism vs. Fishing

The steamer Romance, loading up in Provincetown for the day’s run across Massachusetts Bay to Boston, looms over an old Grand Banks schooner. The image was published in 1937 by Edwin Rosskam as part of a photo essay on two local industries: fishing and tourism. A freelance photographer at the time, Rosskam went on to have a distinguished career at Standard Oil, shooting oil refineries and river scenes for the corporate giant through the 1940s.



The Commodore’s boathouse

This is where Florida yachting started. It’s Ralph Munroe’s boathouse in what is now the bustling city of Coconut Grove.

Munroe may have been one of the original snowbirds. Born in 1851, he was a displaced Northerner from New York who first came to Florida on vacation in 1877.

He returned four years later in hopes of curing his ailing wife, Eva, of tuberculosis. When she passed away, he went back to New York to find that his daughter had died of influenza.



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