Shipbuilding on the Pawcatuck
The advantages of being located on the banks of a navigable river have never been lost on the citizens of Westerly. Not the least of these advantages was ship building, which was a thriving enterprise from the late seventeenth century until the end of the nineteenth century.
The riverside was one long ship building dock until 1834 when the yard of Silas Greenman and Co. on the east side of the river became “ The Dock”. Of the boats pictured on the walls of the Mermaid Café, seven were built at the Greenman Yard.
Steam passenger- boat building thrived as it was the means of transportation from Norwich to New London to Stonington to Westerly and to Watch Hill.
River passenger traffic began to decline in 1894 when the street railway came into existence. The ship yards for ship builders may be gone but the proliferation of boat yards and launching areas along the Pawcatuck River in the 21st century guarantee that the romance and the adventure are very much alive!