A BRIEF HISTORY OF STEAMBOAT WHARF MARINA
& NANTASKET PIER
Hull's Oldest Working Yacht & Shipyard
Steamboat Wharf Marina is a private, full service marina and boatyard. We are located in a well protected area across from World's End on the Weir River. Steamboat Wharf has great access to Boston Harbor, The Harbor Islands, and Massachusetts Bay. Nantasket Beach, The Paragon Carousel, and numerous restaurants & activities are right across the street.
Steamboat Wharf traces it's origins back to the 1830's though the 1920's when steamboats like the Eagle, the Mayflower, and the Nantasket would connect the oceanfront playground of Nantasket Beach to Boston. Many thousands of passengers a day would pass through Steamboat Wharf also known as Nantasket Pier.
On Thanksgiving Day in 1929, a disastrous fire consumed the Nantasket Steamboat Company vessels while they were moored at the pier, only the steamboat Mayflower was saved. From that point on, the town-owned Steamboat Wharf became the site of a few small marinas, a gas station, and a commercial fishing fleet. The Pier and it's buildings went through cycles of disrepair until all the buildings were torn down and the pier stabilized in the early 2000's.
In 2003, business partners Andy Spinale and Justin Gould teamed up to build what is now Steamboat Wharf Marina. A new, purpose-built building was erected on the site and boat slips were added around the pier. With a nod to the past, Andy & Justin named the business Steamboat Wharf Marina. Today, Steamboat Wharf Marina is a year round business. We have our 100 slip marina & launch service, a dock design/build company, a service department that can take on all tasks as well as a division that offers Suzuki repowers & service. In 2020, the marina opened our new seasonal restaurant Red Sky at Steamboat Wharf Marina.
The Pier also is home to three additional companies: Andy Spinale's Aquamarine Services, a mooring and charter business, Allerton Canvas, Jay Hank's custom canvas shop, and Nantasket Kayaks, Scott Plympton's kayak and paddleboard rental company that also does estuary site-seeing tours and paddleboard yoga. Nantasket Pier is a busy destination once again.
Red Sky at Steamboat Wharf Marina is the newest offering at Nantasket Pier. Chefs Andy & Maryann Saporito Boothroyd formerly of Hola Tapas (Marshfield) and Saporito's Florence Club Cafe (Hull) have returned to Nantasket to create the marina's new restaurant. During the winter of 2019, Maryann worked on the menu while Andy and friends built the restaurant, renovating a former lobster retail shop indoor/outdoor bar and waterfront patio. During construction, many pieces of history related to Nantasket Pier were loaned, recycled, or blended into the restaurant.
The Nantasket Beach Steamboat Sign. On loan to us, this sign was once at the Boston end of the Nantasket Steamboat Company runs. We estimate it is from the early 1920's.
The Interior Bar Top. Built in place by Andy & friends, the bar top is made to look like the Teak & Holly sole (or floor) of a classic yacht. It is made of Ipe and Maple hardwoods. the Ipe is recycled dock decking that was generated by repairs made by the marina's dock business. The pieces used have been on a dock, in service for 8-10 years. The patio fence, the kitchen window countertop, & interior tables all use this recycled wood.
The Bar Cabinets. the story of the upper cabinets on the bar back wall starts with the Mayflower, the one steamboat that survived the fire on Thanksgiving Day 1929. The cabinets were made from the deck seats of the Mayflower reworked by Andy into the bar shelving. In the 1950's, the Mayflower was purchased and carefully run aground across the bay from Nantasket Pier. The Mayflower (and it's seats) became The Showboat Mayflower, a nightclub of some repute. In 1979, The Showboat Mayflower burned in a spectacular fire. Not much remained, but some items such as the deck seats had been removed prior to the fire and had found new homes. Our seats moved to The Florence Club Cafe in the local Rockaway neighborhood. The cafe was sold and eventually became Saporito's Florence Club Cafe when new owners Andy & Maryann Saporito Boothroyd started their first restaurant in the 1980's. (If you ate at Saporito's, you may remember how good the food was, but how uncomfortable those booths were). 16 successful years later, Andy & Maryann sold Saporito's and moved on to Marshfield to start Hola Tapas. Saporito's only lasted a few years under the new owners, and eventually the building was sold and torn down. Some items like our seats made their way into storage just the day before the building came down. When Andy needed some inspiration for the back of the bar, it seemed a natural fit to bring the seats of the steamboat Mayflower back to Steamboat Wharf Marina. The turnings attached to the post of the bar were originally located on the sides of the deck seats.
The Oars. Above the bar are two very long oars of different styles and vintages. We are still looking into their history, but we have been told that the oars hung in Hugo's Lighthouse, Cohasset Harbor in the 1950's. According to the notes in the Cohasset Historical Society files, the Porpoise (32 tons) and the Dolphin (21 tons) were two of three smaller schooners built by Levi Tower in Cohasset Harbor in 1813. The third schooner was named Shark. Dolphin was captained by Noah Whitcomb and Porpoise by Peter Pratt. They were part of the local mackerel fleet.
The Coal Shovel. The coal shovel, showing great amounts of wear, was found between the walls of freezers in the former Paragon Park Warehouse as it was being renovated. The shaft of the shovel clearly identifies it as being part of the Nantasket Steamboat Company.
The Kitchen Doors. The kitchen doors were constructed with a veneer made from the beams of the former Fascination building. The beams were in a pile and Paragon Boardwalk, our neighbors, let us have a few to carry the local history on.
The Waitress Station and Tables. The waitress station, tables, and other miscellaneous parts of the restaurant were all made from left over parts, recycled materials and more beams from another torn-down building, the Paragon Park/Nantasket Beach amusement arcade. All these items were made in the former Paragon Park warehouse one of Andy's friends has a woodshop in.
The Paintings in the Hallway. The old oil paintings in the hallway depicting most of the Nantasket Steamboat Company fleet as well as Minot's Light have been donated by a friend of the marina. They were once part of a larger mural that hung in one of Nantasket Beach's grand Hotels. We are not sure of their age, but they were signed by Don Aikens who was known for his images of the working waterfronts of Provincetown and Boston.