Looking today, it’s hard to envision this as a center of shipbuilding

This cove is where Caleb Stetson Huston became Eastport’s most noted shipbuilder and marine architect. Here he created more than one hundred vessels from 1840 to 1870, surpassing the number of his father, Robert Huston, had built. He was no doubt responsible for repairing many more.

A third-generation shipbuilder, C.S. Huston at one point owned four shipyards on Shackford Cove – his father’s, on the south side of the water, and the William H. Hall and Jacob Shackford yards on its north side, as well as Aymar’s spar shop at the South End bridge, which has long since been filled in.

And how it can look six hours later.

As an innovative entrepreneur, he early on erected a steam capstan to haul boats out of the water, along with a 600-foot marine railway made of thick beams set up as interlocking boxes filled with stones.

Huston lived in a Second Empire style house overlooking the yards, which he purchased from Hall in the late 1850s.

Part of the C.S. Huston house on Third Street incorporates a section of the “Red Store” that John Shackford erected in 1787 at the foot of Shackford Street.

The shift to ships built of steel rather than wood changed everything. Maine had seemingly endless lumber at hand, but not steel. That also allowed for bigger vessels, meaning fewer could suffice for shipping. Finally, with the advent of the automobile, passengers stopped relying on steamships and that, too, ceased at the corner of this cove. But not before the world’s largest sardine cannery extended from its shore – a building 250 feet long.

At high tide it can appear to be quite scenic.

It seems so quiet today.

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