In 1891 The Rudder magazine published in its “On Long Island Sound” column a remarkable preview of yachting history:
There is, perhaps, no place in this country better situated, or in possession of more advantages and facilities for yacht building, hauling out for repairs, and storing for the winter, than City Island. It is virtually the yachting center of New York.
No yachtsman in this vicinity will dispute the fact that the Sound has superior advantages over any other place in New York City for yachting, which alone proves that someday City Island will be the great building place of these waters. Already three or four more or less prominent builders have located there, and the boats built by them are familiar to all interested yachtsmen. . . . When the march of improvements reaches City Island, look out for wonderful developments.
And so it came to pass, for by the turn of the 20th century, City Island had become a major center for wooden boat building with a worldwide reputation for the highest quality. On view in the Museum’s Nautical Room are numerous tools, photographs, boats, and parts of boats that document the extraordinary period in City Island’s history when yacht and shipbuilding were at their peak. In the hallway are images of all the old yards, the brilliant craftsmen who worked there, the methods of construction they used, and the famous sailing and motor yachts they produced. Also highlighted are the military vessels that were built here during the war years and the brilliant 12-meter sloops that successfully defended the America’s Cup seven times.