From the Archives — Fishmonger Restaurant and Other Restaurants at the Bridge…

By Susan F. Witzell, Archivist
I was asked to write something about the history of the Fishmonger, the restaurant which has been in existence since the early 1970s at the Woods Hole drawbridge. Last year it went out of business and the restaurant has become the Water Street Kitchen. Frances Buehler still owns the building.

Nick Witzell, Bill Dyer and Rollie Beliveau talked to me about their memories of the place. Tom Renshaw, at my request, wrote an extensive piece on the history of the building and restaurant. There was more detail in this than I could use but I am very grateful to Tom for setting down all this important information for the record.

These recollections are those of men in their 60s and 70s, so please be forgiving of inaccuracies and let me know if you have corrections or more information.

The building that has been home to the Fishmonger restaurant has had a long and varied history. It dates back to at least the 1880s when it shows up on the Bird’s Eye View Map of Woods Hole of 1887. On that map it is labeled “E.F. Donnelly – Fruit, Confectionary, Tobacco & Reading Material.”

Water Street and the Fishmonger site

The Sea Robin Tea Room (site of the Fishmonger), with a barbershop by the Channel. Across the bridge the long low building housed the Ideal Lunchroom and Home Bakery. Postcard from WHHM Archives.

Like many properties around Great Harbor the lot on which the building stood was owned by Walter O. Luscombe. By the teens and 1920s it was the Sea Robin Tea Room, a popular type of destination for ladies at the time. Beyond it right by the bridge was the first of many barber shops in that location, originally built out on pilings over the water. Al Blanchard was the last of them in that building.

In the 1920s on the east end in the rear section of the building was The Bookstore, which was also a publisher and printer of handsome small booklets, brochures, illustrations and maps, many of them done by talented local artist R.L. Dickinson. This back area eventually became an ice cream parlor. Continue reading

From the Archives — Blacksmiths in Quissett and Woods Hole

Blacksmith Edward Ward Bragg in the doorway of the old blacksmith shop in Woods Hole on the north side of Water Street with Eel Pond behind it, 1902. The advertisement on the wall at right reads: “KICKAPOO INDIAN OIL. QUICK CURE FOR ALL PAINS.” WHHM

by Susan F. Witzell

Braddock Gifford (1791-1873) worked as a blacksmith in Quissett in the early 1800s. There was a small shipbuilding works there and he made hardware for the small vessels, brigs, barks, schooners and sloops made by shipwright and captain Thomas Fish and owner-investor Barney Marchant at a stone dock built in 1802 on the east side of Quissett Harbor. Gifford owned land on the opposite side of Quissett Harbor and had cranberry bogs along the shore of Buzzards Bay. The prosperity he found as a blacksmith is reflected in his home on Woods Hole Road in Quissett, a handsome center-hall house with a hipped roof (presently 274 Woods Hole Road). Continue reading