Chaos in Menemsha as Fire Destroys Coast Guard Boathouse

A huge fire erupted in the U.S. Coast Guard boathouse in Menemsha yesterday afternoon, completely destroying the 68-year-old building along with an extended wooden pier that leads to the west dock on the Menemsha harbor. Also destroyed in the blaze were at least one truck and an unknown number of small boats nearby. Miraculously there were no injuries save one minor injury to a volunteer fireman, a Coast Guard public affairs spokesman confirmed last night.

Dock Destroyed in Fire Rebuilt, Fishing Village Honors Success

The view over Menemsha harbor may be forever changed after last year’s fire destroyed the historic Coast Guard boathouse and town pier, but one thing remains unchanged: the heart and soul of the picturesque fishing village that is Chilmark’s downtown.

Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the July 12 fire, a fitting day for the dedication of the rebuilt drive-on dock. A large group of Chilmark elected leaders, emergency service chiefs and residents gathered in Menemsha to mark the occasion.

Harpooning Swordfish: A Lost Local Tradition?

Harpooned swordfish, once synonymous with the Fourth of July holiday and a staple of the Menemsha fishing fleet, are no longer being caught by Vineyard fishermen.

Though prevalent in local fish markets this season, harpooned swordfish are now all being caught by fishermen from afar.

The reason has to do with a convoluted bureaucracy, an expensive permit system and waning interest in the age-old method of catching fresh swordfish.

Squid Row Jigs From Legend to Landmark

In the still-dark mornings, at the Texaco gas station in Menemsha, local fishermen load up on lures and bait, cheap cups of coffee and the daily newspaper before setting out to sea. Behind the rustic station is a long wooden bench where the men gather.

“Early in the morning, it’s always the same crowd,” recalls Albert Fischer 3rd, an 11th-generation Islander. Mr. Fischer, a commercial fisherman in his younger years, can still rattle off names of the old guard.

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