Motif #1 is one of the most iconic New England structures. The replica fish shack is located in Rockport, Massachusetts on Bradley Wharf. Students of art and art history know it as “America’s most frequently painted building.” The initial shack was built in 1840 and destroyed in the 1978 Blizzard, but an exact replica was built later that year.
The shack became a favorite subject of painters due to the composition and lighting of its location, as well as being a symbol of New England maritime life. The shack was constructed at a pivotal time in the 1840s as Rockport was becoming home to artists and fishermen. Lester Hornby (1882–1956) is thought to have been the first to refer to the shack as “Motif Number 1,” referring to it being a favorite subject of the town’s painters. Over time, the name gained widespread acceptance and stuck. It appeared in the work of Aldro Hibbard and of impressionist Harry Aiken Vincent who arrived in Rockport in 1917.
Painter John Buckley used the shack as his studio in the 1930s. Buckley knew the importance of Motif 1 to Rockport residents and in 1945 he sold the shack to the town. Recognizing its iconic value, the town has taken great care to preserve both its structure and appearance. People flock from all over the world to visit the quaint, coastal town of Rockport and to see Motif #1.
Looking for more great spots to explore nearby? Check out the GoXplr Massachusetts Map at goxplr.com/map/massachusetts!
- Address: Bradley Wharf
- Town: Rockport
- State: Massachusetts
- GPS: Lat 42.65923 Lng -70.61486
- Parking notes: There are about two dozen public and free parking spaces on T-Wharf in Rockport. The wharf offers great views of Motif #1. On nice days, parking does fill up quickly. Additional street parking is available.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE