Search this catalogue
 [?]
 [?]
 [?]
 [?]

Historical Materials

Historical Materials  »  Gloucester Buildings & Businesses  »  Flake Yard

Flake Yard

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (5) »

In the days prior mechanical refrigeration, salting and drying were the most common methods of preserving fish. Split cod were spread out on wooden racks, called "fish flakes," to dry. Drying time could take days, depending on weather and temperature. Warm, sunny weather could speed up the drying time, but also "burn" the fish, spoiling its texture and flavor. To prevent this, canvas awnings were stretched over wooden frames built onto the flakes. In wet weather, wooden boxes were placed over the flakes to protect them.

There were several large flake yards in Gloucester in Lane's day. One was situated between Battery Street and the beach, on the long point of land leading to the Fort, and is clearly shown in the 1851 Walling map.

Related tables: Drying Fish »  //  Waterfront, Gloucester »

photo (historical)
J.F. Wonson & Co's Wharf, showing fish flakes
From Gloucester Picturesque, published by Charles D. Brown
c.1900.

Also filed under: Drying Fish »

photo (historical)
'"Fish out of Water"; drying cod from Grand Banks on racks at a Cape Ann wharf'
Underwood & Underwood, Publisher
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Gloucester Harbor)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Printer. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 2)
John Mason
1834–35
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35."

This map is especially helpful in showing the wharves of the inner harbor at the foot of Washington Street. 

map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 3)
John Mason
1834–35
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35."

This map is especially useful in showing the Fort.

object
1892 Gloucester Harbor Diorama (detail of fish flakes)
Lawrence Jensen, Erik A.R. Ronnberg, Jr.
Detail views: fish flakes on wharves
Wood drying racks, metal split salt fish. Scale: ½" = 1' (1:24)
Original diorama components made, 1892; replacements made 1993.
Cape Ann Museum, from Gloucester Chamber of Commerce, 1925 (2014.071)

Fish flakes are wood drying racks for salt codfish, and have been used for this purpose in America since colonial times.

Also filed under: Drying Fish »

map
Locator map showing fish flake yards
H.F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 inches
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
map
Locator map: Flake yard in West Village
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

Also filed under: Maps »

photo (historical)
View from Belmont House, of a fishing wharf, with the Old Fort of 1812 opposite
William A. Elwell
1876
Photograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Ignatius Weber's windmill (now defunct) is shown.

Citation: "Historical Materials." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/historical_material/index.php?section=Flake+Yard (accessed April 30, 2017).
Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
Please share your knowledge with us: click here to leave feedback.