Ship & Boat Building
The tradition of shipbuilding on the Kennebec River is 400 years old, beginning with the Virginia, a pinnace built by Popham colonists for their return to England in 1607. The tradition continues in Bath, known today as “The City of Ships.”
Bath is the southern gateway to the Kennebec-Chaudière Heritage Corridor. Many shipyards once lined the Kennebec River, and Bath-built vessels sailed all over the world. Maine shipbuilders built everything from clipper ships to square-rigged downeasters. The nineteenth century, sailing’s heyday, was a golden era for Maine shipwrights. By 1880, close to 200,000 Mainers were employed in shipyards in fifty towns along the coast.
Today, world-class shipbuilder Bath Iron Works remains one of the state’s largest employers, while Bath’s southern end is home to the acclaimed Maine Maritime Museum. This region is also home to many small boatyards as well.
A few miles south is Popham Beach, one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in Maine. At the southern tip of the Kennebec-Chaudière Heritage Corridor, nearby Phippsburg is the southernmost town on the western banks of the Kennebec River. It was here that Sir George Popham established, in 1607, the region’s first English settlement, thirteen years before the landing of the Pilgrims at New Plymouth.
The corridor then continues south on Route 209 to Popham Beach. The Kennebec River is tidal from Augusta southward.