Swampscott’s historic fish house’s much-needed facelift is getting help from a local art teacher.
Swampscott Middle School’s art teacher Lisa Harris created her own rendering of the fish house, and sales from the parking sticker she created, along with note cards, will help raise funds for the renovations.
Other funds will come from money set aside in the town’s budget and a number of available grants. Harris’ drawing was made to highlight the importance of the historic house.
“The Swampscott Fish House is one of the most recognizable and important buildings in Swampscott; it’s part of our heritage, it’s part of who we are,” Selectman Donald Hause said in a press release. “I’m excited to see it restored to its former glory. It is very important that we continue to invest in our critical historic resources and to protect them.”
Restorations to the building, which was constructed in 1896 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, will begin this spring. Replacing the roof, at roughly $50,000, will be the first step in the project.
The fish house is the only municipal fish house on the East Coast, according to Hause. It still provides fish lockers and other support for commercial fisherman operating out of the harbor and is used by the Swampscott Yacht Club.
Partnered with the Swampscott Historic District Commission, the town plans to ensure the authenticity and quality of the restoration. Soon after the roof is replaced, Swampscott plans to restore the lookout that sits atop the house, replace the rotted siding and trim, and repaint it in its historic colors.
The town anticipates some funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair the house’s ocean side damage caused by the nor’easter last March. Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald said the town has not yet assessed all the renovation costs.
Within the town’s master Harbor Plan, there are concepts to not only address the needed renovations, but enforce resiliency to ensure the house can withstand any weather. Town officials want to upkeep the historic property while bringing it into the 21st century.
Fitzgerald said there has also been discussion about building a wider pier for programs and initiatives related to the fish house.
It has been an effort from the board, the historical commission, and town elected officials to really fix up the fish house on the waterfront for this generation and the next,” said Fitzgerald. “We need to invest in, maintain, and protect what is the most iconic feature of Swampscott on so many levels.”