Did you know that the most famous fishing shack in America is located right here in Rockport?
It’s called Motif #1. Take a walk down Bearskin Neck and look toward the right: you can’t miss it. It’s the quaint red building, festooned with buoys, sitting on Bradley Wharf. If you think it looks like the perfect subject for a painting, let’s just say you’re not the first one with that idea. Hundreds of artists since the mid-1800s have rendered it, in every medium imaginable.
According to local legend, the name Motif #1 came from Lester Hornby, a Rockport illustrator and art teacher in the early 20th century, who observed that his students invariably chose to paint or sketch the charming building as one of their first assignments.
The town of Rockport bought Motif #1 in 1945 and rededicated it as a monument to local veterans of the armed services. The town maintains the picture-worthiness of the building by banning commercial activity within its immediate surroundings and painting it with a special paint that comes pre-weathered. (The original building was swept out to sea during the winter storm of 1978, but it was rebuilt to the exact same specifications.)
Once you’ve seen Motif #1, you’ll start recognizing it on mugs, calendars, jigsaw puzzles, posters, and everything else you can think of. In 2002, it was featured on a commemorative U.S. postage stamp. The building popped up again in the 2009 movie “The Proposal,” starring Sandra Bullock. The movie takes place in the town of Sitka, Alaska, but it was actually filmed in Rockport. Next time you watch it, keep your eye out for our ubiquitous little red fishing shack!