Great New Listing in the Shipyard Neighborhood of Marblehead, MA- 29 Central Street Unit1
History of the “Shipyard” neighborhood of Marblehead
The “Shipyard” neighborhood of Marblehead is centrally located in downtown Marblehead and is comprised of the streets running from Seaside Park to Gregory Street on both sides of Atlantic Avenue.
The neighborhood got it’s name back in the mid 19th century when shipbuilding became one of Marblehead’s biggest industries. The California Gold Rush created a large demand for passenger ships and the Gregory-Sparhawk Shipyard was the primary producer of ships out of Marblehead. The shipyard was located by Red Stone Cove at the end of Cliff Street. John Gregory was one of the shipyard owners and Gregory Street was named after him. The Shipyard built and launched seven clipper ships, a barque, a brigantine and 18 fishing schooners out of Red Stone Cove.
The shipbuilding boom coincided with the immigration of the Irish to the Boston area as they were driven out of England and left Ireland due to the “Potato Famine.” Jobs were available at the Shipyard and in the surrounding businesses making sails and rope and the “Shipyard” neighborhood became predominantly Irish. Soon after the Irish immigrated to Marblehead, Our Lady, Star of the Sea was built in 1875.
Unrelated to shipbuilding, but an important part of the history of the neighborhood, is the site of the birth of the United States Marine Corp Aviation in 1912. W. Starling Burgess was a pioneer in early aviation and flew seaplanes out of Hammond Park (on Cliff Street). There is a plaque in the park today (see photo) recognizing his accomplishments.
Today, the Marblehead Shipyard Association is still very active and is one of the longest running neighborhood associations in town. They have annual meetings, a holiday party, caroling, block parties, pumpkin carving contests and more. Residents of the neighborhood can keep up by following their Facebook page @MarbleheadShipyardAssociation
(Source: “Marblehead 101 History” by the Marblehead Museum)
Seaside park was founded in 1895 and consists of 33.7 acres with tennis courts, a basketball court, a baseball diamond, wooded walking trails and a fitness path. It also has one of the best sledding hills in town.
The iconic mainstay of Seaside Park is the Elliott Round Grandstand. The Grandstand was built in 1916 and just turned 100 years old. In 1990 it was in jeopardy of being torn down but close to $30,000. was raised to restore and keep the structure going. The Grandstand in listed in the National Registry of Historic Places and is said to be one of the last freestanding wooden grandstands in all of New England.
Red Steps Beach:
Located at the end of Chestnut Street with phenomenal views out across Marblehead Harbor and the Causeway to the South. There are a few benches and “Red Steps” that lead down to the rocks for swimming. At low tide, there is a small beach. There are also small boats moored off this area.
Hammond Park is located at the end of Commercial Street next to the light department. Named after William “Bill” Hammond, the park is a wonderful spot to sit and watch the boats or the fireworks on the 4th of July. There is a public dock which is great for boaters to use for loading and unloading supplies. Special spot in Marblehead!
Marblehead Yacht Club:
Marblehead Yacht Club, located in the shipyard neighborhood can be found at 4 Cliff Street. Founded in 1878, the MYC offers members launch service, casual dining and use of their clubhouse. There are also many social events to enjoy throughout the summer. Membership options are social or boating and cost is very reasonable.