The 1,000-foot-long Union Wharf, constructed in about 1830-31, was one of the largest and most important wharves in town. A marine railway at the end drew vessels up to a building with a large notch in its gabled roof to accommodate bowsprits, so that the hull could be brought that much higher and closer.
(This distinctive notch is evident in all three illustrations here.) The Union was the second big wharf built in town, developed by Jonathan, Stephen and Thomas Nickerson, and Samuel Soper. The marine railway was added in 1852. An entire outfitting complex on this wharf included a blacksmith shop, a shed where pulley blocks were made, a sail loft, a rigging yard and a mackerel-packing house. The ship chandlery there was called the West End Market. The wharf was wrecked in the Portland Gale of 1898.
Near its remnants, Manuel Furtado conducted his important boatbuilding and repair business in the mid-20th century. (Irving S. Rogers, “Puffs and Pot Shots,” The Advocate, 9 October 1941.)