The historic village of Rockport is truly the “Heart” of the 1000 Islands. Feel the heart of the past and the present in this picturesque village.
Rockport’s rich history dates back over 200 years when Scottish and Irish settlers first came to the area. In the 1880’s, Rockport was an important steamboat building, transportation and cord wood refueling centre.
Rockport’s rich history of boat building is depicted by a mural on the boat building shed at Andress Boat Works. Established in 1921, it is estimated that nearly 50 tour boats and working boats, plus many St. Lawrence Skiffs, were built at Andress Boat Works. The standard St. Lawrence skiff is a river icon. St. Lawrence skiffs, once common on the river of their namesake, are fading into the past.
The first ferryboat from Alexandria Bay, New York to Rockport started operation in 1924, owned by the Hutchision Brothers with a flat scow and a motorboat to tow the scow. Later the ferry was taken over by the Hutchision Ferry Co. in 1925 when the steamboat, the Roosevelt was put on to take the place of the scow. As the business developed another boat was necessary to accommodate the increased traffic. The General Hancock was added in 1929 until the Thousand Island Bridge was built and the ferry boats were discontinued. A large photo mural of the Roosevelt and General Hancock can be found on the Boathouse Motel.
The church of the Redeemer is a quaint church situated at the entrance to Rockport. It was built in 1896. The interior of this building holds the key to the history of its founders. Possibly designed by the boat builders of the community, its varnished walls and ceiling consist of tongue and groove Georgia Pine with supports resembling boat ribs. Many of the original settlers were boat builders and river men, whose families/descendants remain vital to the village.
A large historic photo mural on the outside of the church greets visitors to Rockport.
Once you exit the dock area after your cruise, you will notice a large photo mural to your right. This photo was taken in front of The Roots General Store. Built in 1905 the store maintained accounts for the local people. The General store was crucial to a community with little outside contact; a river community. Directly across from the mural, the general store is still operating today. Be sure to stop and take home a memory of your visit to Rockport.
Be sure to take a Historic Walking Tour when visiting Rockport.
The walking paths through the village provide an opportunity to glimpse into 200 years of history, through architecture and vistas. You will find heritage interpretive signage and historic photo murals on display throughout the village. Walking tour guide booklets are available at all local businesses.