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Mystic Built….Extraordinary history of shipbuilding

Depending how you measure, the Mystic River is between 5 and 6 miles long…..technically it’s an estuary, given the impact of the tide. Despite it’s modest length, between 1784 and 1919, shipbuilders launched over 1,400 vessels into its deep, sheltered waters. Schooners, Clipper Ships, Fishing boats, Barges, and more. The deep water, the abundance of local timber and the industriousness of the locals made Mystic an extraordinarily productive shipbuilding center given the small size of the local community.

From the 1989 Book Mystic Built, Ships and Shipyards of the Mystic River by William Peterson:  “…..Mystic has long been renowned for the 21 Clipper ships built there in the 1850s, but also for more than 50 steamers…. launched during the Civil War. Fishing smacks, sloops, schooners, merchant brigs, barks and yachts were also built in profusion….”


In addition to the prolific shipyards and shipwrights during the peak years of Mystic shipbuilding, there were a wide range of supporting trades and industries . Blacksmiths, mast makers, ship carving, rope makers, ship plumbers metal workers and more. During a history tour or walking tour, or food tour of Mystic, the aura of maritime crafts still permeates the town.  Any tour of historic Mystic is not complete without a discussion of the shipbuilding and maritime history.
For a unique walking tour, food tour, historic tour or guided tour of Mystic, Stonington or Noank, please contact [email protected] the founder of Mystic Revealed.