Letter from Cuttyhunk: The Fish Dock — always a gathering place

The Cuttyhunk fishing pier. — Photo by Nancy Dunn

Summer quickly approaches, and the signs are all around the island. College students return laden down with their entire dorm-room contents, or proudly displaying those hard-earned diplomas. The first visiting sailboats are occupying the harbor moorings, and we joyfully welcomed our first 70° day. Late spring days expand with eight o’clock sunsets, and new lights illuminating the island darkness shine in returning neighbors’ houses. Lawns of bright green are sprouting everywhere as they surrender to the landscapers’ machinery as it echoes across the island. The ferry begins its much-anticipated daily service, and chirping birds are nesting with their offspring in every suitable tree and available eave. There’s an increasing buzz of activity at the Cuttyhunk Historical Society with the preparation of new exhibits, and of course the developing bustle at the Fish Dock as occupants gear up for another busy summer season.

Cuttyhunk’s Fish Dock today is a gathering place for islanders and visitors alike. The long row of fishing shacks has played multiple roles in the community, and has evolved through the years. Vital to the island’s economy, the Fish Dock has provided fishermen and lobstermen a working space to ply their trades. It has survived many hurricanes, legendary winter storms, rebuildings, and expansions. Early planks placed precariously between boulders have been replaced by a sturdy wide dock. Nine lobstermen and fishermen were the first to rent the individual shacks from the town of Gosnold in 1922, but fishing wasn’t the only activity keeping the Fish Dock busy back then. Some were involved in Prohibition rumrunning, and used their fishing boats to transfer liquor from the international boundary beyond Noman’s Island to resell on the mainland. In the 1930s, Cuttyhunk’s bass guide service was born, and led to the island becoming well-known as a bass-fishing hotspot. In 2005, a dedicated group of volunteers tore down the aging shacks and completely rebuilt them (CHS Monograph 2009 L. Garfield). Today, besides lobster, fish, and charter fishing guides, you will find an array of shops offering baked goods, sandwiches, chowder, shellfish, ice cream, and the Sea Horse water taxi. As in the past, fish tales are told, old friendships renewed, new friends made, and kids of all ages still drawn to the Cuttyhunk Fish Dock.

For Cuttyhunkers

Congratulations to Lorna Schenck for winning the Alumni Artist Award at the International Precious Metals Institute 25th annual Jewelry Design competition! Lorna entered a beautiful sterling silver necklace of cascading calla lilies and black freshwater pearls. She received a $1,000 scholarship, and she attends Rhode Island College. Her proud family, Cathy Ford and Grant Schenck, and sister Rachel, attended a lovely awards reception with Lorna at the elegant Squantum Association in East Providence, R.I.

Congratulations to Tamalin Baumgarten, who recently earned her M.F.A. degree from the prestigious New York Academy of Art, New York, N.Y.! You can see one of Tamalin’s outstanding paintings this summer in the Cuttyhunk Historical Society museum.

Congratulations to our newly elected and re-elected town officers from the well-attended annual town meeting, held on May 18th. The results: Selectman, Gail Blout (re-elected);

Tax Collector, Doreen Gomes (re-elected); Auditor, Lisa Wright (re-elected); Library Trustee, Lisa Wright (re-elected); Constables, Bob Veeder (newly elected), William Benns (re-elected), and Rich Miskiv (re-elected); Municipal Light, Wyatt Garfield Jr. (re-elected); Town Clerk, Lisa Wright (re-elected); Treasurer, Sarah Smith (re-elected); School Committee, Renata Davidson (newly elected), Lexi Lynch (re-elected); Highway Surveyor, Seth Garfield (re-elected); Harbor Committee, Paula DiMare (re-elected), Ralph Cataldo (re-elected), Sam Garfield (newly elected), and Lexi Lynch (newly elected).

School News

The students just returned from a wonderful, educational field trip experience at the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pa., and Washington, D.C. They learned all about the Civil War, visited the monuments and memorials, and toured two of the Smithsonian museums.

All state MCAS testing has now been completed. The students were tested in Reading, Math, Writing, and Science this year.

Volunteers needed: If you can help out with a Field Day activity on Wednesday, June 10, please send me an email with your choice of activity and preferred time slot. The details were emailed to you this past week by Paula DiMare.

Concert: Please join us for our end-of-year instrumental/vocal concert at 11 am on Friday, June 12, at Town Hall.

Ferry News

The MV Cuttyhunk ferry is now running on a daily schedule. Please check their website for details.

Upcoming Meetings

Board of Selectmen: June 1, June 15, and June 29

Conservation Committee: June 12

Harbor Committee: June 13


It is with sad hearts that we say goodbye to a beloved island dog, black Lab Jackie Wright. He lived a long and happy life on the island, and was a friend to all who knew him. We will miss him very much.