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"Lingering craft at T Wharf"

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For thirty years, T Wharf, just north of Long Wharf in the heart of Boston, was the thriving center of Boston’s fishing industry. It was crowded with schooners, small boats, and new steam trawlers unloading their catch for dozens of fish dealers on the dock. When this photograph was taken in 1914, however, much of this activity had shifted to the brand-new Pier 6 in South Boston, which had a single, consolidated, modern fish market.

The fishing craft that lingered, pictured here, were mostly smaller vessels owned by Italian and Portuguese immigrants who sold their fish to Italian wholesale dealers or directly to working-class consumers in the North End. The motorboats on the left in this image became synonymous with the Italian fishing community, though they share a design heritage with Irish fishing cutters familiar to earlier generations of Boston fishermen. The sloops and schooners on the left were a mainstay of the New England fisheries for years, but, by 1914, were being displaced by engine-powered trawlers.

Photo taken from the center of T Wharf, looking out into Boston harbor. On the right, several schooners and other sailing vessels are docked against a wall of multi-story buildings; many are drying their sails or engaged in other mundane harbor tasks. The sloop "Pearl" is visible in the center. On the left, a group of motorboats with heavy rubrails and raised cabins are clustered along a wider, open wharf. Two fishermen are at work on the motorboats.