General Davis Tillson, the wealthy owner of the Hurricane Granite Co., built Tillson’s Wharf at the end of Sea Street in 1881. The builders used Hurricane Island granite between the pilings. At the turn of the century, the large steamboat depot with the cupola on top served as many as thirty steamboat arrivals and departures daily — passengers and freight to and from Boston, Bangor, and the islands.

The buildings along the north side of Tillson’s Wharf (the left side of the photo) were occupied at different times by offices for the steamboat companies, ship chandleries, tenements, and fish packing companies.

When World War II broke out, the Navy took over the operations of the dock at Tillson’s Wharf for a training facility. They tore down the steamboat depot and built barracks, classrooms, and repair shops. In 1946, the Navy turned over the facilities to the U.S. Coast Guards, who remain there today.

Paul Merriam
Rockland Historical Society

Catalog Number LB2007.1.102192