In 1651, John Coit established his first shipyard at Sandy Point in Close Cove – almost adjacent to the Shipway221 site. Close Cove, since filled in, was on the inland side of Howard Street. Sandy point was at the mouth of the cove where it joined Shaw’s Cove, then known as Bream Cove.
Building shallops was one of Coit’s specialties.
Shallops could carry a substantial load and a dozen or more people while still maintaining a shallow draft, making them ideal for coastal exploration.
In 1620, the pilgrims carried shallops on the Mayflower, which they used to land at Plymouth Rock
Coit also built sloops. Fast and nimble, sloops were a favorite among smugglers, pirates and privateers (essentially pirates with a government license), who targeted slower-moving, unarmed merchant vessels.
During the American Revolution, New London’s fleet of privateers was so successful and aggressive that it provoked the British to attack and burn the town in 1781 with the help of Benedict Arnold.
Coit and his descendants also built larger ships, such as schooners and brigantines, for the West Indian trade.
The largest ships could carry up to 100 tons of cargo across the Atlantic Ocean.
The Bragaw Shipyard, Morgan Iron Works, Crocker & Davidson Marine Railway, and the New London Marine Iron Works, all located at various times on Fort Point, built ships as large as four-masted schooners and other types of vessels from the 19th into the early 20th centuries.
Some also built and serviced steam engines for the many steamboats that transported people and goods up and down the East Coast. Steamers were the way to go. These floating hotels delivered passengers to their destinations as fast as trains, but didn’t get them covered with soot! Fierce competition kept tickets cheap!
For a time, Captain T.A. Scott, a man of many achievements, served as president of the New London Marine Iron Works. His wharf is pictured to the right with a three-masted schooner. Today, his descendants own and operate New London’s renowned Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock, located next door and across the railroad tracks from the Iron Works site.
19TH & 20TH CENTURY SHIPS
Crockers Boat Yard
A little history
The location of Shipway221 is actually adjacent to the site of New London’s first shipyard. Established in 1651, the Coit Shipyard began a shipbuilding tradition in and around Shaw’s Cove that lasted nearly 300 years.