Town Landing and Wharf and Former Shipbuilding Areas

Town Landing and Wharf

Located on land donated to the town by John Borland (shipbuilder) in Damariscotta Mills in 1802. The land was located east of the fish stream on Great Salt Bay. The town later granted a right of way for the tracks of the Knox & Lincoln Railroad to pass through this area. The stones that supported the wharf can be seen at low tide.

Former Shipbuilding Areas

During the 1800’s, many Maine coastal villages revolved around the construction of wooden sailing vessels. British ships along the Maine coast brought Maine ship building to a halt during the Revolutionary War. At the beginning of the 19th century, shipbuilding had recovered. Shipyards were places for people with little or no skills to be employed. Most work was done by ax, adz, saw, auger, and hand. You could even make a living by sealing cracks between planks. Shipbuilding was an important industry in Maine during the mid–19th century. By 1850, Maine had made more ships than any other state.

Sawmills and a rich supply of local lumber encouraged the launching of a shipbuilding industry in the Great Salt Bay and on both sides of the Damariscotta River. The Damariscotta Mills area of Nobleboro was one of the areas that saw many sailing ships built. Many of these yards were located on the edge of the Great Salt Bay. Many of the vessels built ranged from the one masted sloop to the three masted bark.

Many records of the vessels built were lost in the Damariscotta fire of 1845. The combined tonnage produced in Nobleboro, Newcastle and Damariscotta during the boom years of shipbuilding from 1815 to 1869 ranged from 5,273 to 19,887 (1860 to 1869).

Map # Name of Shipyard
1 John & Matthew Madigan
Located on the western shore of the Great Salt Bay in Newcastle.
2 Bryant Shipyards
(Nathaniel Bryant II & Cushing Bryant) (ca 1840’s)
Located in Newcastle where the first of the family’s shipyards was built in 1765.
3 Borland’s Shipyard *
(John G. Samuel & John Borland) (before 1857)
Located on the western shore of the Great Salt Bay.
4 Lincoln Shipyard *
(Colonel Benjamin, Edward and Joshua Lincoln) (1833-1854)
Located on the western shore of the Great Salt Bay next to the Haines yard. Records show that 11 sailing vessels were built here. The last vessel was the largest ship of record built in Damariscotta Miller. It was a three-masted ship, 125 feet in length, weight 677 tons.
5 Haines Shipyard*
(Joseph Haines) (1833)
Located on the western shore of the Great Salt Bay just east of the Borland yard and next to the Rollins yard. 5 sailing vessels were built during 1849-53 including 2 brigs and 3 barks. Mr. Haines also operated the match factory in Damariscotta Mills.
6 Rollins Shipyard *
(Samuel Rollins) (1840)
Located on the western shore of the Great Salt Bay. Three of the brigs known to have been produced here:
Navvo 160 tons 1840
Yucatan 162 tons 1843
Swiftsure 375 tons 1849
7 Merrill Shipyard*
(John and Enoch Merrill)
Located east of the Rollins Shipyard.
8 Barstow Shipyard* George & Benjamin Barstow (ca 1808)
Located near the sharp bend in Belvedere Road on Great Salt Bay.
9 Harrington Shipyard *
(William P. Harrington) (1830’s)
Located on the extreme eastern shore of the Great Salt Bay southerly of the Barstow yard. Some of the vessels known to have been built here in the 1830s.
Moxey brig 142 tons
Osage brig 210 tons
Sea Gull schooner 210 tons
America bark 300 tons
George Bradford bark 250 tons
Huntress bark 260 tons
10 Abner Stetson & William Hitchcock
Located on the eastern shore of the Great Salt Bay in Newcastle.
11 Kavanaugh and Cottrill Shipyard
Located just above Old Route One and the bridge connecting present Damariscotta and Newcastle

* located in the Damariscotta Mills area in present day Nobleboro