Taken on a fine day in Kennebunk, this photograph shows the construction of the schooner Edmound B Billings in 1917. The boat rests on an empty field of overgrown grasses, and its large, dark appearance is heightened by the plain sky above. The boat is made by what appears to be wood, and the name of the vessel has been inscribed on the right side of the bow. Workers are seen to the far left of the field as they tend to the ship and are, no doubt, impressed by the dilligent efforts of their work. The Billings must look just as magnificent upon complete construction and is certainly a ship worthy of both respect and awe.
Now known as a popular whale-watching destination, Kennebunkport possesses a rich history in the art of shipbuilding. In fact, more than 140 ships were constructed in Kennebunk during the 19th century alone. The tradition of shipbuilding continued to flourish at the start of the 1900s when several renowned shipbuilders occupied the area east of the Kennebunk River. It was also around this time when the area became known as the canoe-making center of the country. Today, there are still plenty of institutions that practice boat-making in Kennebunk, most notably the "Landing School", which is dedicated to offering the best quality of education and practice in boat-building.
From the collection of Fred Bodin of Gloucester, MA. Fred was a long time resident and well-known photographer of Gloucester and had one of the best private collections of New England nautical photographs in private hands. Fred was a photojournalist having graduated with this degree from Syracuse University and worked for Yankee Magazine. Fred passed away in 2016 and HIP purchased his collection from his estate.