Locally, it’s known as the Breakwater, rather than the town pier or wharf or dock or safe harbor. And it’s the heart of Eastport, the centerpiece and focal point, as well as the home of the commercial fishing fleet and U.S. Coast Guard station.
It even broke down and collapsed in the winter of 2014, taking a few fishing boats with it.
Rebuilding was another matter. Officially, it reopened in September 2017, though details may have been completed later. The versions differ, up to “two winters before last.”
Eastport has the deepest natural harbor in the continental United States and is said to have rivaled New York’s in shipping at one point. I’ve seen photos of a cruise ship tied up here, and it truly overwhelmed the dock and town in its size.
The waterfront has – and had – other piers, with pilings that can still be seen – the old vaudevillian appearing steamship dock, for one, or the more recently gone Northeast Marina and Fuel Depot, as prominent examples. And, yes, definitely, what was once the world’s largest sardine cannery, as well as a solitary brick shell from the era still standing over the water with some folks hoping for a redevelopment before it caves in.
Significantly, there is the Cargo Terminal, our industrial shipping complex at Estes Head just around the bend. It has both high security and tractor-trailer traffic, so you don’t stroll around there.
Still, the breakwater at the end of Sullivan Street beckons us, even with its seemingly perilous heights above the water at low tide.