Rockport’s historic Vulcan steam engine, normally sitting at Rockport Harbor by the old lime kilns, is undergoing a much needed restoration, courtesy of the nonprofit Legacy Rockport, and collaborative partners. And to help that cause, Legacy Rockport, with the generosity of the Rockport Masons, is holding a fundraising supper June 4 in Rockport.
Legacy Rockport has donated funds to get the restoration project underway, but there is more to go, and a fundraising goal of $30,000 has been set.
On June 4, the public is invited to join the Vulcan Restoration Project, learn more about the ongoing efforts – and eat a great meal with delicious desserts donated by Rockport chefs and bakers.
The dinner will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m., at the Rockport Masonic Hall, 361 Main Street at Simonton Corner, with spaghetti, garlic bread, salads and homemade desserts. $10 per adult; $5 for children 10 and younger.
Right now, the Vulcan is at Rockport Steel, where Neal Olson has been doing fabulous work, removing rusty metal and rebuilding the cab. The engine is due to return to Marine Park at Rockport Harbor later in the month, and Rockport Public Works will be laying new rail ties and preparing for its spruced-up arrival. A celebration, or two, will be scheduled, so stay tuned for details on those.
The rehabilitation of the old Vulcan steam locomotive began in earnest in March, when it was loaded onto a flatbed trailer and hauled up to Rockport Steel, on Route 1, for a rebuild, sandblasting and repainting.
The 100-year-old Vulcan locomotive represents an important part of Rockport's history, when the town was bustling with industry, and narrow gauge train cars regularly transported mined limestone from nearby quarries to the fiery kilns at the harbor.
Large ships, some of which were also constructed at boatyards along the harbor, carried the processed lime to Eastern Seaboard cities — Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston — for use in construction projects.
Rockport’s lime industry fueled a growing nation, and the kilns, as well as the locomotive at Rockport Harbor, are vestiges of the country’s history. This particular locomotive was manufactured in 1923 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The Rockport Lime Company transported lime from Simonton's Corner lime quarry and the 35-ton freight cars dumped lime directly into the lime kilns, for processing and export.
But the Vulcan needed a cosmetic restoration to restore its earlier beauty and to preserve it for future generations to better understand local history.
Legacy Rockport, the nonprofit that was established as an outgrowth of the town’s 2004 Comprehensive Plan to help facilitate capital improvement projects, has committed to help lead this restoration.
Please help Legacy Rockport and the Town of Rockport complete this project by donating, either directly online here, or by sending a check to Legacy Rockport, 101 Main Street Rockport, Maine 04856.
For more information, email LegacyRockport@gmail.com.