The Flake Yard, Rocky Neck

These fish fillets are drying in the open air on Rocky Neck. They don't rot because they've been salted. People have asked me why the seagulls aren't feasting on this buffet, and I've heard two answers: The fish are too salty for the gulls, and maybe it's the guys standing around with shotguns. I believe the first theory. Please inform us if you know!

These fish fillets are drying in the open air on Rocky Neck. They don’t rot because they’ve been salted. People have asked me why the seagulls aren’t feasting on this buffet, and I’ve heard two answers: The fish are too salty for the gulls, and maybe it’s the guys standing around with shotguns. I believe the first theory. Please inform us if you know!

11 comments

  • As a kid in the early 40′s I lived in East Gloucester and Gortons had a flake yard on East Main St.
    I was always under the impression that the salt cod we got in from Canada was Butterfly Cod where
    the fish is split from the head to the tail (Belly Up) and salted with the bone in. Workers would hand pluck the bones, cut up and packed in small wooden boxes. We would go to the flake yard and tear off a piece of the cod and chew it up.. Sure was salty….

    Bob Quinn.

    Like

  • By the way, the wooden pieces seen in the photo were frames where they would spread canvas
    over the top of the fish to protect the fish from harsh sun light and allowed to dry properly

    Bob Quinn

    Like

  • Wm. Skipper Publicover

    Fred are you sure this Rocky Neck ?

    Like

  • Maybe along East Main Street?

    Like

  • Yes, It is East Main Street. I have an old photo taken from the top of Mt Pleasant Ave. You can clearly see the drying racks with canvas and the building. For perspective as to location ~ to the right of the Flake Yard is a building that is now Beacon Marine. I’m not sure as to the date of the photo.

    Like

  • From Gene Killey ,The Old Reeler from East Gloucester

    Bob is pretty correct. In 1942. I was 13 years old and my Grandfather, Deputy Fire Chief Fitz Robinson, got me aj job their at the Pew Flake Yards as General Help. It was at the bottom of Hammond St and East Main St.. I worked most of the time with Dutch the Cooper, making barrel and butts. When a Rainy period. Caused the barrels of salted fish to rot, we would take them out beyond the breakwater to dump them. The gulls would follow us out like we had afresh load of Mackeral but after the first barrel was dumped and they tasted it, they would leave us ,like poison,

    Booth Fisheries opperated the flake yard at Beacon Marine. That closed and that “Vincent” and the “Agnes and Myrnie” took over the dock space and put up Reels where part of the Flakes where.

    Like

  • I love learning the history of our beautiful Gloucester. Thanks for all your posts, Fred, they give us all a glimpse of what Gloucester was like “back in the day”.

    Like

  • I remember that building and some of the racks left at the bottom of Hammond and that was in the 1960s, perhaps before the “Illumination of the Harbor” when everyone planted road flares to light the wharfs up, and it did, helped my dad stick in a dozen or so in back of the Independant Machine near where the cold storage building by Harbor Loop now, ( Urban Renewal cash and burn project). They had some great fires back then.

    Like

  • Hilary McKinnon’s comment was interesting. The fire at the bottom of Hammond St. was torched
    in 1955. My brother and I operated the fire boat after the fire spread over to Brown’s Yacht Yard.
    I believe that fire was started by Bob K. the known arsonist at that time. Do you still think it was
    1960?

    Like

  • Mom remembers all this I remember the – I also do remember the road flares…:-)

    Like

  • In those days all of the fish plants dumped all of their gurry into the harbor. There was plenty
    of fresh food around. When I was a kid, I don’t remember seeing gulls around the drying racks.
    Most of the salt cod for Gortons came in on the OK Service. A fleet of double ended cargo
    vessels I think owned by Gortons. …..

    Bob Quinn

    Like

Leaving a comment rewards the author of this post- add to the discussion here-

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s