Dinghies, Rockport Harbor, Massachusetts, USA
Rockport is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, with a population of 7,767 (2000 census). Rockport is located approximately 25 miles northeast of Boston at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula. It is directly east of Gloucester, Massachusetts and surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean.
The area that is now Rockport was simply an uninhabited part of Gloucester for more than 100 years, and was primarily used as a source of timber—especially pine for shipbuilding. The area around Cape Ann was also one of the best fishing grounds in New England. In 1743 a dock was built at Rockport harbor on Sandy Bay and was used for both timber and fishing. By the beginning of the 19th century, the first granite quarries were developed, and by the 1830s, Rockport granite was being shipped to cities and towns throughout the East Coast of the United States.
Rockport had consisted primarily of large estates, summer homes, and a small fishing village while Gloucester was becoming increasingly urbanized. Rockport was set off as a separate town in 1840 as its residents desired a separate enclave with an identity of its own. As the demand for its high-grade granite grew during the Industrial Revolution, the quarries of Rockport became a major source of the stone. A distinctive form of sloop was even developed to transport the granite to parts far and wide until the second decade of the 20th century. For many years, there were a large number of residents of Scandinavian descent, dating from the days when Finns and Swedes with stoneworking expertise made up a large part of the workforce at the quarries.
Although the demand for granite decreased during the Great Depression, Rockport still thrived as an artists colony—which began years earlier due to its rocky, boulder-strewn ocean beaches, its quaint fishing shacks, a harbor filled with small, colorful fishing boats, and the fact that Cape Ann was made famous by Rudyard Kipling's Captains Courageous. A red fishing shack on Bradley Wharf in Rockport, known as 'Motif Number 1', has for years been one of the most famous sites on Cape Ann, at first as the subject of hundreds of paintings, then as it became well known, as a site to be photographed and visited by tourists from all over the world