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Back When “Working Waterfront” Meant Just That

Photos courtesy of the Rockland Historical Society

By Maynard Bray

Fishing and shipbuilding boomed after World War II in Rockland, Maine, where I grew up. Redfish, sardines, and lobsters were harvested in abundance; wooden draggers, sardine carriers, and lobsterboats to carry these catches slid off the ways there, and in nearby Thomaston, Friendship, Rockport, and Camden. Rackliff & Witham’s and McLoon’s brought in the lobsters; O’Hara and General Seafoods got the redfish; and Holmes and North Lubec the sardines. Today little remains of that era.

Luckily, newspaper photographers Sid Cullen and Jim Moore captured the commercial bustle for the Courier-Gazette and the Portland Press Herald. Their negatives survive at the Rockland Historical Society. Here’s a sampling of the goings-on they recorded back when a “working waterfront” meant just that.