Profiling an island icon

I had the honor of visiting local legend Dave Ullin aboard his tugboat last week.

Ullin is revered by many on the island for his self-sufficiency, integrity and generosity.

Many more only know him as a strikingly uncommon sight: a big man with big hands wearing thick wool pants, suspenders and a bag full of archaic tools tromping through Winslow. You don’t see people like Ullin much anymore. He looks like a man who stepped out of the old Hall Brothers Shipyard, circa 1892, and into modern Winslow.

Going below deck on Ullin’s tug is like taking that step in reverse. The boat is a living museum of old logging, fishing, farming, blacksmithing and shipbuilding equipment. All fitting snugly in designated spots. And it’s full of innovative touches, like Ullin’s custom-built hinged bunk, his kale sauerkraut-making operation, his clothes-mending station and a compact little workshop, complete with a 100-year-old drill press and tools Ullin forged himself.

I could go on and on about Dave Ullin. And I did, in THIS profile.

Ullin’s future is uncertain. The state gave him and the other dozen or so liveaboards eviction notices last month. There is some late-breaking hope, city leaders say, for a compromise. I detail that development HERE.

Check in on Wednesday to see where that proposal goes. The City Council is set to vote on a new plan that may allow as many as 14 liveaboards to remain anchored in the harbor.

One thought on “Profiling an island icon

  1. This is a wonderful well written profile of an extraordinary man whose like is seldom seen anymore. As we play with our iPads and smartphones, watch our streaming videos, stretch our credit to keep up with the Joneses and make nasty comments about the people from our community trying to govern us we are here presented with a man in our midst of a noble character and fortitude typical of those who established and built this country.
    Unfortunately, it is also a classic example of the old adage that hard cases make bad law. Many perhaps would not begrudge giving Mr. Ullin free moorage in appreciation of his giving back to the community but the conundrum is how to do so without rewarding those in the harbor who are not such good neighbors.
    I don’t know the economics or politics of the Island’s history museum but it seems to me that Mr.Ullin would make an excellent adjunct teacher who might share insights into his lifestyle in return for free space for his tugboat home.

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