Boston Looks Seaward: The Story of the Port, 1630-1940

Boston Looks Seaward: The Story of the Port, 1630-1940

Boston Looks Seaward: The Story of the Port, 1630-1940

Boston Looks Seaward: The Story of the Port, 1630-1940

Excerpt

Along the coast of Massachusetts the maritime tradition is more than a phrase or a romantic legend. A regional habit of looking to the sea, born in the necessities of past generations, persists despite urban influences, the encroachment of the machine, the trend of the nineteenth century to the West, and all the various factors that have helped to lessen the relative importance of the merchant fleet in our national economy.

For those who live in Boston, once the carrying center of the Nation and still among its greatest ports, the study of maritime history has both academic and immediate interest: it is a challenge to present efforts toward obtaining for this port the recognition, the just concessions under governmental regulation, the expansion of services, which would enable it to develop to the full its magnificent potentialities.

The Massachusetts WPA Writers' Project conceived the notion that it could make a contribution, not only to the Port of Boston, but to the city and the Commonwealth, perhaps even to the country in a time of national emergency, by telling the story of the Port from the time when the first shallop skimmed the harbor waters to the strenuous days when destroyers are building along the shores. It would, we thought, be especially helpful to interpret to the general public in nontechnical terms the economic and legalistic problems now confronting champions of the Port.

We first broached our idea to the Honorable John F. Fitzgerald, known for his achievements on behalf of the Port during his terms as Mayor of Boston and, more recently, as an active member of the Boston Port Authority. With his encouragement we offered our services to the Boston Port Authority, who agreed to sponsor this book as one of their numerous activities on behalf of Port development. Our wholehearted thanks are due especially to Mr. Richard Parkhurst, Vice-Chairman, who has given 11 years to his work for the Port and achieved substantial results in this voluntary public service; his meticulous analysis of our manuscript has assured its authenticity.

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