We love living up the hill from the Gloucester Marine Railways–never a dull moment!
History of the Gloucester Marine Railways from the Railways website:
“In 1855, Dodd & Tarr Fisheries was started on the tip of Rocky Neck in Gloucester Harbor. As the fisheries business grew to encompass a wharf, a grocery store, warehouses and 15 schooners, the need arose for a way to repair and maintain the fishing vessels. In 1859, the company constructed the first of two marine railways on the northern-most tip of their property on Rocky Neck. From then until about 1970, the Railways used a steam engine to haul up the vessels. One note of interest is that the gears used in the steam engine were produced at the same factory that built the engine for the Civil War battleship, the Monitor.
In 1874, the Tarr bothers of Gloucester took over the firm of Dodd & Tarr and by 1879 the company was listed as “Rocky Neck Marine Railways Association”. The name “Dodd & Tarr & Co.” was reserved for the fishing business only. By 1892, the railways was maintaining 20 first class vessels. In 1907 Capt. Frederick Albert Cook reportedly brought his schooner to the Railways to be sheathed for ice and outfitted for an Arctic expedition. In the 1920s and 30s, schooners participating in the International Fishermen’s Races were hauled out at the Railways for painting and last minute repairs. In the late 1980s the Mayflower II came for repair. Recently the privately owned 128 foot Nantucket Lightship was hauled up in dry dock as she received fresh paint and maintenance.
Since 1859 the Rocky Neck Marine Railways, now known as the Gloucester Marine Railways Corp., has maintained and repaired thousands of fishing, commercial and pleasure boats from the wooden schooners of the last century to the present day steel and fiberglass vessels. A modern Travelift has recently augmented the original railways as GMRC keeps moving ahead, from one century to the next, distinguished as the oldest continuously operating marine railways in the country and a well respected member of the marine industry in the Northeast.”
About the Schooner Roseway from the World Ocean School website:
“In the fall of 1920 a Halifax, Nova Scotia, newspaper challenged the fisherman of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to a race between the Halifax fishing schooners and the Gloucester fleet. Therefore many schooners, such as Roseway, built at this time were not strictly designed for fishing but in order to protect American honor in the annual races.
Roseway, 137′ in sparred length, was designed as a fishing yacht by John James and built in 1925 in his family’s shipyard in Essex, Massachusetts. Father and son worked side by side onRoseway, carrying on a long New England history of wooden shipbuilding. She was commissioned by Harold Hathaway of Taunton, Massachusetts, and was named after an acquaintance of Hathaway’s “who always got her way.” Despite her limited fishing history,Roseway set a record of 74 swordfish caught in one day in 1934.
Roseway was built and maintained to an exceedingly high standard, using a special stand of white oak from Hathaway’s property in Taunton. She had varnished rails and stanchions and had a house built for her every winter. She was so well maintained that the coal for the stove was washed before being stored in the bunker. This kind of treatment, which contributed to her longevity, was unheard of in the commercial fishing fleet.
On December 7, 1941, just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Boston Globe reported the purchase of Roseway by the Boston Pilots Association. In the article, the Pilots describedRoseway as “sturdily constructed of oak, the craft is fully capable of withstanding the battering of heavy seas and onslaughts of terrific gales that pilot boats maintaining the lonely vigil off Boston Harbor are called upon to meet.” Clarence Doane, agent for the Boston Pilots, stated that Roseway “approaches as close as possible to specifications of the ideal pilot boat as any vessel. . . .”