Marshfield Launch and Brooks-Tilden Shipyard

1361 Union St, Marshfield, MA 02050, USA


Owned By: Town of Marshfield

The Town of Marshfield owns this 15-acre conservation parcel, which is located directly on the North River, just upstream of the Union Street Bridge. It is a public canoe/kayak launch with a single picnic table.

Tides at the Marshfield Launch are delayed ~1 -1.5 hours after the Boston high tide

The property is also the site of the former Brooks-Tilden Shipyard (1701-1848).

The Union Street Bridge spans the North River from Union Street in Marshfield to Bridge Street in Norwell. On the Norwell side, there is a ramp for boats (residents only). This is also the starting line for the NSRWA’s annual Great River Race.

Set off from here to go clamming by going downstream. (See the North River Shellfishing Map for locations.) The clam flats in both the North and South Rivers are open from November 1 to May 31st. If there is a Red Tide, they may close sooner.

On the water in this area, be aware of swift currents and low bridge clearance.

For related information, please see the listing for Union Street Bridge and Norwell Town Landing.


No records exist of ships built at this site prior to 1837, but it is likely that it was a shipyard for many years. In 1837, Elijah Brooks and George Tilden built the 106-ton schooner “Huron” here, as well as the 113-ton hermaphrodite brig “Lewis Bruce.” In the years to follow, they built the schooner “Erie” (113 tons), the brig “Michigan,” the schooner “Roanoke,” and the brig “Joseph Balch (153 tons).” Then, in 1843 Elijah Brooks built the brig “Allen King,” which was probably the last ship constructed here.

In 1977, the Town of Marshfield purchased this 15-acre parcel for conservation land.

The remains of a North River ferry boat are visible from the northern bank of the river, just upstream from here on the Norwell side, at dead low tide. Look in the third tidal ditch upstream of the bridge. (Water access only.)

The landings on both sides of the Union Street Bridge are ideal places to launch your canoe or kayak. Be aware that there is a tide delay — 1 to 1.5 hours after the Boston high tide.

Trail Description

There is a gate across the entrance, open from dawn to dusk. Proceed slowly, as the vehicle entrance is a steep downhill. The launch area is surrounded by woodland. After rain, large puddles can form in the unpaved parking area, so be careful of the mud. A very short trail leads away from the parking/launch area, through the woods, along the banks of the North River. Along this trail, and in the woods that surround it, you may be able to see an old fire pit from shipbuilding days, as well as the shipyard’s former saw pit.

1361 Union St, Marshfield, MA 02050, USA

Historic Site: Yes

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: Yes

Lifeguards: No

Size: 15 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Limited on-site parking.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy


Picnic table

Dogs: Yes

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Other Things to Do at This Site