Hatch’s Boat Yard

As a kid from Seaview, I have always been fascinated by Humarock. From as early as I can remember, about 1939, until 1954 when I broke away from my year-around visits, finding other places of interest. However I always have to take a drive up to the Cliff when I’m in the area.

One fall day my Dad piled me into the old Chevy and off to Hatches Boat yard — I can’t remember why. We arrived and Dad parked in front of the shed-like building. We got out and went up a few stairs, through a side door and into the front room. There was a large desk and chair, and some stuff hanging on the wall.

The men and Leon Hatch were in the back room — but let me describe the building and area.

The area is on the west side of Central Ave, Humarock — across from Seaview Ave.

The largest building ran with its gables east and west, with large sliding doors on the east side — they seemed boarded tight, with no ramp or entrance.

The entrance door was on the left side, with maybe 3 steps.

There was a smaller, shed-like building, attached on the left (south side), with two doors. If any boat building was going on, it was in there. There was room to park in front of these doors.

The foundation on the north and west was made of field stones, of which some are still visible today.

Dories were stacked on one another on the south side. On the north side there were tracks that ran from near the street to below the low water line. A cradle with wheels sat on the tracks, and a winch was at the head of the tracks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The gunning stand  on the river side.

The building was shingled and silver grey and in poor condition outside. There were two brick chimneys, one in the shed-like building, and one in the west room of the main  building.

The store, cottages, boat building barn & machine shop on the Ocean side.     These two paintings are as I remember the Hatch’s.            W. Ray Freden.

My Dad and I walked through the front room, knocked, and went into the back room. Oh wow! Four men were sitting around a table, playing cards; a bottle of whiskey sat in the middle. You could hardly see across the room, the cigar and pipe smoke was so thick. The back (west) window was open, so I headed that way.

My Dad was talking to Leon. The others greeted my Dad with a, “Hi Bill.” My Dad worked for Charlie Clark (Clarks Store) from 1927 to 1934, as a clerk and real estate agent, so he was no stranger to the Humarock people.

As I peered out the window, the river was full of ducks and geese! They were acting strange, not moving about as I had seen in Keene’s Pond. I asked the man closest to the window about them. He said they were decoys.

“What’s a decoy?” I asked.

He explained they were made of wood, and the ducks thought they were real.

It was coming together now — guns leaning against the walls, gun shells on the shelf. I was fascinated, I was excited, I wanted to see the ducks come in and land beside the wood ones. No one in our family hunted, so I knew nothing about guns and hunting.

I paid no attention to what my Dad and Leon were talking about. I just kept looking out that window at those decoys. As I turned from the window, I accidentally kicked a gun that was leaning close to the window. It went crashing to the floor. Well all hell broke loose. One man hollered at my Dad to get that G–D— kid out of here!

Well, I was on the way on my own! Through the door to the front room, out the door, and down the steps into the old Chevy, down on the floor bawling my head off!

Dad was close behind and into the Chevy. Off we left to home. Dad assured me it was an accident and not to worry any longer.

                                             The last ship built at Hatch’s.

A stop at “Steads,” a bottle of Ballantine Ale and a cigar for Dad, and a candy bar for me. All was well.

The many times that I have passed Hatch’s, I so remember that day. And never set foot in that building again!

Ariel  of Hatch’s taken in 1940.

                                                   Hatch’s as seen from offshore.

                                                Hatch’s as seen from the river.

Excerpts from ———

On the right was my grandmothers house, to the right of her house, the old store, garage, boat shop and machine shop. The ridge camp was right on the ocean and every few years rocks were bulldozed up to protect it. You could sit on the roof in lawn chairs and enjoy the view. My grandmother rented it out to some people who had a house on Nantucket that did just that.There were some cottages to the left of her house that had been collapsible they still had hooks and eyes and used to be taken down in the fall and chained down so they wouldn’t wash away if the ocean came over the ridge and covered with marsh hay during the shooting season. A couple of these cottages had long term renters that were there every summer and took care of the houses as if they owned them.

I was born in 1946 and by the time I was old enough to notice it was pretty run down. I was only actually in that building once or twice. People were robbing the place blind, especially stealing the mounted birds etc. Because they were preserved using arsenic there was concern that someone could be harmed. There was a moose head from a hunting trip to Canada during prohibition, booze was smuggled home as mincemeat of course real mincemeat has booze in it and this had more than its share. My dad donated the moose head to a moose lodge and off it went in the back of his 1947 Studebaker truck, antlers hanging over the sides. For those who aren’t familiar with the Studebaker truck ,they weren’t very big. I saw one a few years ago and was shocked at how small it actually was.

To the right of grandmothers house was the old store a small building up on 4 blocks. This was the only building that made it through the 78 blizzard pretty much unscathed. There were three long buildings ,long side parallel with Central Ave., the garage, boat shop and machine shop. Behind that was the ridge camp. Grandmothers backyard was surrounded by a low cement wall there was the oil house on the right. To the left up near to the house a cistern, just behind that a brick structure about the size of a grill,it had a galvanized liner and this is where they used to cook lobsters back in the day. When the lobsters went in they ran a flag up the flagpole to let people know that there would be fresh cooked lobsters for sale. To the left of the house was the long camp, next to that 1 or 2 small cottages 1 was Delaneys and behind that up on the ridge was Johnson’s. I’m going to play with your photo and see if I can see it better.

I think they were taken after the 1938 hurricane. The house on the right in the top photo was the main house where my grandmother lived, the buildings in the other picture were to the left of the main house.The building in the top left of the second photo was demolished at some point, all the others I remember.


This clipping isn’t in the best shape and the year is missing.I looked on a perpetual calendar and Feb. 24 fell on a Saturday in 1923, 1934. I feel that it was 1934 because my dad made the half model and Leon took it before my dad was finished with it.My dad was 22 in 1934. I have the half model.

The stories, I have plenty of those as my father was a great storyteller. The agents knew they were running booze out of Hatch’s but only ever found a small bottle of blackberry brandy in the safe. During a raid my dad ,carrying a burlap sack of bottles, ducked into the outhouse, hung the bag below the seat on a nail, pulled down his pants and sat. The agent opened the door, said excuse me sir and left.




3 Replies to “Hatch’s Boat Yard”

  1. My dad grew up at the boatyard. His mother lemira Davidson was a “cook” for the members Leon and the guys taught my dad to shoot. He had great memories and stories. Don’t have picture of gunning stand. Just a few of my grandmother with some of the dogs

  2. Hi! I realize I am really late to this party, but my Great-Grandmother Davidson had a relationship with Leon Hatch. (May have been his mistress, but I really don’t know). When he passed away, she got the Hummarock property. Then my grandparents (Archie and Betty Davidson) inherited it but sold it after the hurricane swept the buildings into the sea (in the 70’s, maybe?). I have pictures of the buildings on the property, pictures of hunts, and I have some things from the stand, including a bunch of wooden clamps with the Hatch name on the side. I am happy to scan these pictures and share them with any of the interested parties.

  3. My dad grew up at Hatches, his name was Archie Davidson his mom, Lemira cooked. If I remember correctly the place was owned by Rodrick MacGregor,Leon ran it and later owned it. After Leon passed away my grandmother owned it,then my dad until after the blizzard of 1978. My grandmother rented cottages, hers and other peoples. She charged for parking the lot where the gunning stand stood ,God forbid if you tried parking without paying. She’d chase you down and would always get her money. Have lots more stories and pictures . Hope to hear from you!

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