The Marina at Prince Cove

MARINA AT PRINCE’S COVE

Paupmunnock, the leading Indian at the time of the Europeans’ arrival, had his home on Prince’s Cove, a favorite site for Indians for 10,000 years according to archaeological records. The Indians called it Broad Nook, a name that stuck until Prince Marston built his brick house on the hillside west of the cove, and people began calling it Prince’s Cove. In the nineteenth century Cyrus Jones had an oyster shack on the south side of Turtle Island, competing with neighboring Hinckleys and Hamblins.

A permanent pier was built in 1953 by Wilbur Cushing at the suggestion of Mrs. Ethel Huston, a New York woman who had a summer home on the point. She liked to go crabbing, but wanted to tie her rowboat to a pier so she didn’t have to wade out to get it. Cushing’s step father, A. G. Griffin owned much of the northeast waterfront. Cushing salvaged some electric light poles and used lumber from the former Clear Lake duck farm which was being demolished, and built a dock.

Later he added two renovated floats he got from the town dump. Locust poles to hold the floats in place were pumped down thru the sand, mud and fresh water, sprouted green shoots two feet long. It added “quite a flotilla” of floats.

Aside from renting dock space, Cushing fixed up outboard motors, and rented boats. His most memorable customer was Air Force General Jimmy Doolittle whom Cushing took fishing in the summer of 1963.

In the spring of 1957 the town dredged Prince’s Cove, built a town dock to the north side of the pier, brought in sand for a town beach, and in 1964 paved the parking lot. The next year the town created a “Harbor of Refuge” from hurricanes by dredging depth for large boats.

Cushing decided to build “a real marina” in 1965. His step father A. G. Griffin gave him 217 feet of waterfront. In the summer of 1965 Cushing had R. A. Williams build a 26 x 41 foot wooden building above, and new floats. Cushing agreed to limit lengths of boats to 25 feet, and prohibit sale of gasoline. Hyannis Marine Service dredged a ditch four feet deep at low tide and drove piling. Cushing poured a concrete foundation himself. All of this cost $35,000.

The Prince’s Cove Marina opened in Spring 1966 with space for 52 boats along three gangways. Public water and streetlights came at this time. While Cushing was busy in his masonry business, he hired a Southampton College marine biology student Bruce Bennett to run the Marina. The next year all the inventory of the closed Francis Wyman Bait shop on Route 28 was added. The next Marina tender was Lewis “Woody” Woodman who stayed for two summers. A popular attraction was two former lobster tanks which came from Snow Inn on Wychmere harbor, stocked with live crabs, eels and a 16 inch striped bass.

In 1970 Cushing leased the Marina to John Warner who needed a place for his marine electronics business. Warner bought all the boats, motors, moorings and fishing tackle, but took out the lobster tank. After four years or so, Warner turned the lease and business over to his employee, Dow Clark, who ran it until about 2000.

In 2000 Cushing sold the Marina to John D. Lampe’s Schooner Corp., of Hamilton MA. Lampe planned an elaborate expansion, but the town of Barnstable voted in Jan. 2002 to take it over by eminent domain.

Today, the once quiet oyster bed of Broad Nook is filled with motorboats and sailboats.

A version of this was published in the Barnstable Enterprise 20 May 2011.

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