BOSTON'S WOODEN SHIPBUILDING CENTER
In 1839, just six years after East Boston began to be developed as a neighborhood, Samuel Hall established a shipyard on this site. It grew to include dry docks that used the most advanced steam-powered technology and marine railways, still visible today along the waterfront. Among the 110 vessels Hall built here was Boston's first clipper ship–Surprise. Her launch in 1850 was accompanied by church bells ringing. The names of some of Hall's other vessels are engraved on the granite paving.
Hall's shipyard was one of several along the stretch of the waterfront from here north to the Meridian Street Bridge, where Hall, Donald McKay, Robert Jackson, Paul Curtis, and others built world-famous ships. Spurred by the California Gold Rush and a demand for faster ships, they launched more than 200 vessels in 20 years.
Together with the Charlestown Navy Yard across the harbor and shipyards in South Boston, East Boston shipbuilders made the city one of the premier ship building centers in the country during the mid 1800s.