Why does a fish shack need a blog?

Why does a fish shack need a blog? The answer may lie in other “whys?”

Why did twenty or so Lanesville men hike down to the cove every single Saturday morning – in icing Nor’east winds or blistering, shadeless sun – for two years, unpaid, to study plans, plane boards, hammer nails, even spill blood? As Arnie Shore, fundraising co-chair of the Fish Shack, describes it, “I have never in my life worked anywhere when people steadily got there earlier and stayed later.” Why did people send coffee and donuts down to the Fish Shack crew? Why did they order them pizzas, and make batches of fish stew, lamb stew, homemade bread and brownies? Why, when the Fish Shack committee first introduced the restoration concept, did contributions flow in like a Lane’s Cove high tide? Why were supplies donated with almost biblical generosity? Why were so many kindly checks written that, when the city finally got around to awarding the project Community Preservation Act funds, the committee was able to say, “that’s ok; we’re all set.”

The Lane’s Cove Fish Shack seems to have an inexplicable magic. People who have grown up with their feet in Lane’s Cove mud and people who barely know the place want to help re-raise it, make it not straight and perfect, but to preserve its crookedness, it’s wooden shakes and red-tar roof.

I first witnessed the Fish Shack alchemy the first time I made lunch for the crew; the guys were cold and hungry, and they were politely thankful for my efforts, but mostly this bunch of men almost didn’t notice the lunch, because they were just so happy; it looked like the rare kind happiness that rises from hard, meaningful work. Why a Fish Shack blog? – to record whatever it was that called these guys down to the cove earlier and earlier every Saturday morning. What had them beaming, laughing, and joking by noon? What made them not even want to leave? In fact, I’m told that they often stayed. Someone got some beer, and Saturday morning blushed into Saturday late afternoon.

This blog is to record whatever it is about the Fish Shack that inspires people to be generous with their lumber, their lunch, their dollars, and their hands, to record – if it’s possible – what the Fish Shack really means to anyone. I’ll interview each of the Fish Shack guys, and Barb Jobe, the one woman on the crew. Barb lives on the cove, looks at the Shack every day, and I think her heart beats in the shape of the Fish Shack.There is something in the Fish Shack that no one can quite identify, but everyone knows it when we see the little red Shack bending away from a nor’easter or basking in the sun behind a planter of daisies.

Over time, this blog will examine the Shack’s history, and that of the cove that shelters it, Lane’s Cove. The Fish Shack crew, many of whom have joined the new non-profit group Lane’s Cove Historical Association, are not done; they’re still wondering who originally built the Fish Shack, and why? What was Lane’s Cove like then? What did it look like, smell like, and sound like? That group is looking ahead, too, imagining the Shack’s next hundred years, how it will be used, and how it will remain a beloved emblem of – what? – history, work, nostalgia? The LCHA sees the Shack in the future as a gathering place for cooperative, non-profit ventures – in other words, a place by the sea to shelter/hold a community. That’s why the Fish Shack needs a blog.

Feel free to contribute your own thoughts about the Fish Shack. Write to us and we’ll post it.

Blog by Heather Atwood

2 thoughts on “Why does a fish shack need a blog?

  1. What you folks have is precious. Many groups fade into disagreement or loose their vigor and simply just fade away. What will keep this going is the camaraderie that oozes from the Cove. If I was looking for a place to stay on Cape Ann I would go to the Cove and plant my roots. The folks there are real and free of gentrification. Nice work Covers!


  2. Nice work Ms. Atwood. Your efforts to bring the history of Lanesville to life and permanent record are valuable. A very long time ago, Lanes Cove was my stomping ground. It is as encouraging to see the shack stand as it is to see you memorialized the efforts that keep it standing.


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