Patrick Yaroch of Hamilton plays cornhole during the Swampscott Beer Garden with Bent Water Brewing Co. on Saturday. (Spenser R. Hasak)
Food, Lifestyle, News

Fundraiser was on tap for Swampscott Fish House

SWAMPSCOTT -- Beer on the beach was the perfect way to distract Swampscott residents from Saturday's heat wave. And it was for a good cause.

Back in February, Swampscott resident David Grishman and a group of his friends were feeling the winter blues. They had visions of music and beer on the beach. One of them had the idea for a beer garden on Fisherman's Beach and the organizing efforts began immediately. Trying to pin down a charitable cause for the event, they knew raising money for renovations to the historic Fish House was the only option, said Grishman.

"It became evident to me that the oldest operating fish house on the East Coast is here is in our town and it needs our help and awareness," said Grishman. "We thought this was an appropriate way to bring awareness to this amazing treasure that we have. I want this to continue to be a treasure for Swampscott generations to come."

Kim Beuttler, a Swampscott resident since 2002, said she enjoyed her time at the event. She was one of hundreds of guests who savored the on-site ice cream truck, beer provided by Lynn's Bent Water Brewing, and food on the grill cooked up by a group of volunteers. Live music from a variety of bands also keep the crowd entertained.

"I've never seen anything like this while living here," she said. "It really brought the whole community together."

Restorations to the building, which was constructed in 1896 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, began in the spring with the roof replacement, which cost roughly $50,000. Next steps will include restoring the lookout that sits atop the house, replacing the rotted siding and trim, and repainting the building to its historic colors.

Select Board Chairman Peter Spellios said the full restoration costs to the Fish House are estimated to be "hundreds of thousands of dollars" and could take up to two years before they're completed. Work on the building's siding is next up, he said.

"Our goal is just to show what's possible," said Spellios. 

Jackson Shultz, chair of the Harbor & Waterfront Advisory committee, said the large number of residents who attended the event speaks to how important the historic landmark is to the town. The committee created the Harbor and Waterfront master plan that included concepts to not only address the needed renovations, but enforce resiliency to ensure the fish house can withstand any weather.

"The Fish House is the face of Swampscott's waterfront," he said.

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