Lynnfield stows its memories of ship

Pictured is a sampling of items from the Ship Restaurant that will be up for auction.


LYNNFIELD — It’s too late to enjoy oysters on the half shell, seared scallops or fresh calamari, but Ship Restaurant patrons can still get a piece of the iconic eatery that closed last month after nearly 100 years.

F. Smith & Son of Quincy will hold an auction in the shuttered dining room next month. While the date has not been scheduled, among the offerings will be model ships, wooden wheels, framed ship prints, a lighthouse, porthole replicas and other mementos that lent a seafaring atmosphere to the 16,044-square-foot diner.

The rest of the items include everything to stock a restaurant, such as padded booths, oak and walnut tables, chairs and bar stools. Also included in the sale is the Ship’s alcohol license.

Founded in 1925 by retired Sea Captain James Wilkinson, the Gloucester resident launched a small refreshment stand on Route 1, according to the restaurant’s website. Five years later, he built a ship that would never sail but was perfect for land lovers and seafood fans. After his death in 1940, the captain lived on in the items that covered the restaurant such as charts, a compass, the wheel and the big ship’s bell.  

In January, an attorney for the restaurant’s owner, Ship Mall LLC, an entity of Micozzi Management Inc., an Allston-based real estate company, unveiled plans to demolish the nautical-themed building and replace it with more than 12,000 square feet of retail and 68 condominiums. Micozzi purchased the property at 24 Broadway in 2007 for $16.5 million.

But last month the Lynnfield Historical Commission placed a 30-day hold on plans to demolish the restaurant which could allow for its designation as a historic landmark. The four-member panel can put buildings of unique architectural character on the list, regardless of their age.

If the Ship is razed, it will be the latest Route 1 landmark to meet the wrecking ball. In 2015, the Hilltop Steak House met its end as plans emerged for an apartment complex to be built by AvalonBay Communities on the 11-acre property. The $100 million development will include 280 apartments in three buildings and 24,000 square feet of retail.

Last fall, the Miniature Golf & Batting Cages closed. It’s best known for the orange dinosaur that towered over Route 1 for generations. The park is being transformed into Essex Landing, a $120 million project that will include 250 apartments in four buildings, two hotels, retail space and garage parking.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at [email protected]

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