In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Thomaston: The Town that Went to Sea

Shipbuilding

Sign with Ship, Thomaston, Maine 2009
Sign with Ship, Thomaston, Maine 2009

Item Contributed by
Thomaston Historical Society

Text by Margaret McCrea. Images from the Davistown Museum and the Thomaston Historical Society

Thomaston has been associated with shipbuilding for over 200 years. In 1630, long before vessels were actually being built in Thomaston, English ships were navigating the George's River to reach the dense inland forests. Great timbers were transported back to England for use as masts in the King’s ships. Captain George Waymouth arrived in 1605 and left a cross where the river trends westward.

Early roads were little more than footpaths. People depended upon boats for the early transport of goods, livestock and people. In the “History of Thomaston, Rockland and South Thomaston”, Cyrus Eaton refers to a Province sloop kept in the area for transport of settlers and supplies, but there is no written record of trading vessels being constructed in Thomaston until the late 18th century. However, there is a high probability that a few industrious men with ability built small vessels for fishing soon after they arrived in the area. While there are references to early shipyards and builders, records are nonexistent.

By the time Thomaston was incorporated in 1777, several enterprising men had started businesses in the “Crick Village” section, a cluster of buildings centered on Mill Creek, where it passes under the County Road (now Route One.) A town landing was established on Mill Creek in the vicinity of the Gleason and Fish Street intersection. Lime kilns were built below the bridge on both sides of the Creek in close proximity to the first shipyards in the area. Vessels were needed for both importing and exporting goods.

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