Join local historian Ghlee Woodworth for a presentation on the history of the shipbuilding industry in this region.
Beginning about 1700 and lasting for more than 170 years, the Merrimack River offered one of the most active ports in the country. Newburyport's commerce activity rivaled that of Salem and Boston. During the height of the shipping era, wharves along the river were producing more ship tonnage than any other seaport community on the East Coast.
Shipyards constructed high-quality vessels equal to those built at the larger seaports of New York and Baltimore. Groups of expert ship carpenters moved from one yard to the next, and imported goods from overseas passed through the Custom House. Vessels built in Newburyport were known for their expert workmanship around the world, and foreign investors eagerly bought interests in Newburyport vessels.