Shipbuilding was a natural industry for Rockport. The earliest recorded ship built here was the Cannie, in 1880 by Bludworth & Company. In 1917, World War I prompted construction of a large shipyard at the south end of Water Street by Fred and C.A. Heldenfels. In 1935, T. Noah Smith founded Rockport Yacht and Supply Company (RYSCO) to repair commercial and recreational vessels. By 1940, the firm was building its own design of wooden hull fishing boats and in 1962 converted to steel hulls. RYSCO closed in 1986 due to high cost of diesel fuel and foreign competition. In 1941, Rob Roy Rice opened a shipyard to build U.S. Navy vessels, which closed in 1945 after the end of the war. In the early 1950s, Jackson Seafood built its own fleet of six wood-hull shrimp boats. In the early 1960s, Jackson Marine Services, Inc., leased the Rice shipyard site to make boat repairs.
[map] [pin center=”1″ description=”Rockport Shipyards”]Intersection of Market St and Water St. Rockport.[/pin] [/map]