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Annapolis Maryland Blog Photograph • A Sign on First Street Commemorating Heller’s Boatyard 1868 to 1936 in Eastport • Sunday January 29th 2017

Perhaps Not as Well Known as Chance or Trumpy & Sons

A Sign on First Street Commemorating Heller's Boatyard 1868 to 1935 in Eastport Maryland January 29th 2017

Click on Photograph to Enlarge

Wandering about the far northern end of the Eastport peninsula earlier I stopped for a moment to reread the commemorative sign hanging on a fence adjacent to the First Street Park. Yes I have come across this same sign numerous times over the years and surely read it in full on each of those occasions. Actually though today I found myself thinking about the other boatyards that had lined this side of the Spa Creek shoreline in years past.

Perhaps most noted among them, as best that I can recall, would have been the Chance Boatyard founded back in 1912, also known as the Chance Marine Construction Company, though future business setbacks would force its sale over two decades later. In the 1930s Chance was sold to the Annapolis Yacht Yard organization. Initially its business focused on recreational boating yet with the onset of World War II it became a defense marine contractor, i.e, boat builder.

After the war Annapolis Yacht Yard was purchased by John Trumpy Sr. who was noted for the luxury yachts he designed and built. The Trumpy Boatyard would eventually cease operation in the early 1970s due to both trying economic conditions and labor management issues. As a brief aside according to John Trumpy Jr. it was more due to the availability of skilled workers.

Getting back to today’s commemorative sign about 45 years before the Chance Boatyard opened and 80 years before John Trumpy Sr. launched his first luxury yacht into the waters of Spa Creek, a German immigrant named Wilhelm Keller began crafting and building boats used both to transport goods and harvest seafood along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay from a boatyard at the end of First Street.

Of course in terms of Annapolis boat building history one could say that Thomas Todd (born 1610 died 1671), who had settled in Annapolis proper around 1651, operated the first boatyard in the City 366 years ago near present day Shipwright Street.

In Annapolis one might say that history itself often has its own prior history, which seems to be the case today.

Have a great week,

Glenn

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A Sign on First Street Commemorating Heller’s Boatyard 1868 to 1936 in Eastport
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A Sign on First Street Commemorating Heller’s Boatyard 1868 to 1936 in Eastport
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