Motif Number 1, Rockport

4.6
Landmark · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Motif Number 1, located on Bradley Wharf in the harbor town of Rockport, Massachusetts, is a replica of a former fishing shack well known to students of art and art history as "the most often-painted building in America." The original structure was built in 1840 and destroyed in the Blizzard of 1978, but an exact replica was constructed that same year.
Built in the 1840s as Rockport was becoming home to a colony of artists and settlement of fishermen, 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. Painter Lester Hornby (1882–1956) is believed to be the first to call the shack "Motif Number 1," a reference to its being the favorite subject of the town's painters, and the name achieved general acceptance.

In the 1930s, painter John Buckley used the shack as his studio. He sold it to the town in 1945, dedicated "In 1945, the town of Rockport purchased the Motif as a monument to Rockporters who had served in the Armed Services." The town, recognizing its iconic value, has taken pains to preserve both its structure and appearance, finding a red paint which appears weather-beaten even when new, and keeping the area clear of overhead wires, traffic signs and advertising.
Before you head to Rockport, plan trip itinerary details with our user-friendly Rockport holiday maker app, to make sure you see all that Rockport has to offer, including Motif Number 1.
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Motif Number 1 reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
364 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Motif has so much character. It offers the old-fashion fishing village feel among modern yachts. It looks spectacular at sunset.  more »
  • While taking a trip up the New England coast on a lighthouse tour how could we pass up taking a picture of this old fishing shack on Bradley Wharf? Since many people live and have business near it...  more »
Google
  • I have literally hundreds of pictures of Motif #1 over the course of almost 50 years. I also have several paintings of the beautiful landmark. I love Rockport and no visit is complete without a visit to Bearskin Neck to say hello to one of the most picturesque New England scenes.
  • Rockport is a quaint picture postcard little town. It offers great shopping and nice places to eat. If you love ice cream like i do you will certainly have plenty of places to choose from! Bring your camera!

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