Reminiscences of a Boothbay Shipbuilder




by James P. Stevens
Published in 1993

Chapter 1 Coasting on a Lumber Schooner
Chapter 2 The Caulker’s Trade
Chapter 3 The Boothbay Region Shipyards
Boothbay Harbor: Sargents, Weymouth, McKowns, Railways, East Coast & Atlantic Coast, Samples, Eastern, Hodgdon, Reeds

East Boothbay: Hodgdons, Reeds, McDougalls, Adamses, Seaveys, Murrays, Rices, Goudy & Stevens, Fullers, Lukes, and Brewer

This book brings together three papers written by Jim Stevens. His profile of Boothbay region shipbuilders was written as a gift for the nation’s bi-centennial in 1976. It was printed in the local newspaper, the Boothbay Register, and it presents the facts as they stood in that year. Also in 1976 he delivered his article on caulking as an address at a symposium on the American Wooden Shipbuilding Industry. He gained his intimate knowledge of calking methods as a watchful child in his father’s East Boothbay shipyard in the 1920’s. His 1930’s and 1940’s experiences at Camden and South Portland yards, as well as his later partnership in Goudy & Stevens Shipyard, gave him added perspective as an adult. The caulking article was originally published, along with other symposium addresses, by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in their 1976 Wooden Shipbuilding and Small Craft Preservation.
In 1992 Jim Stevens again spoke at a Maine Maritime Museum symposium, giving an account of his 1935 coasting voyage to the eastward for lumber. In 1993 he wrote an epilogue to the trip, detailing the fate of the vessels and people cited in his coasting narrative. Coasting, caulking, and wooden shipbuilding, the three occupations included in this book, have now nearly vanished. He has worked in four industries which share that distinction: the sardine fishery, a lumber camp, coasting, and wooden shipbuilding. We are fortunate that he has recoded his impressions of the conditions in two of those livelihoods as he saw them on the job.
The Boothbay Region Historical Society is privileged to be given the opportunity to preserve his portrayal of shipbuilding and coasting. Some people can tell a good story; some people can convey solid good information; Jim Stevens can do both.

Book Committee
Barbara Rumsey, editor
Roger Duncan
Alden Stickney