A yearlong court battle has ended with the removal of a historic Coast Guard boathouse that Hull marina owner Mike McDevitt had hoped to transform into a nautical museum on his property.
“The goal was just to save the building even though the town of Hull didn’t want it here,” said McDevitt, owner of Acushnet Marine at 125 Main St., where the building sat for nearly eight months.
In late January, McDevitt had the 30-by-60-foot boathouse placed on a barge and removed to a shipyard in Quincy.
The structure is now back in its original location in Chatham with a new owner, David Doherty, who did all the “legwork” prior to the boathouse’s relocation, McDevitt said.
McDevitt and Stephanie Aprea had been in negotiations with a nonprofit in Chatham that hoped to purchase the building. Aprea had described the effort as an “uphill battle,” trying to get the building to stay on the one-acre land lot in Hull while facing eviction by court order.
Built in 1936, the 1,793-square-foot boathouse was once a part of the Chatham Coast Guard station before it was later closed down. Jay Cashman eventually acquired the building and had it loaded onto a barge and transported to Quincy in 2009.
Weighing in at 50 tons, the boathouse had been the home of the famous CG36500 motor lifeboat that was used to rescue the crew of the Pendleton on Feb. 18, 1952.
McDevitt later purchased the boathouse from Cashman and, using a crane and barge, had it transported onto his property in July 2019. However, McDevitt did not receive prior approval from the town. Nor did he acquire the necessary permits to site the building in Hull.
In a previous interview, Doherty, a Chatham resident, said the nonprofit Stage Harbor Boathouse Preservation Inc. was created in 2009 in hopes of acquiring the boathouse for historic preservation in Chatham.
The effort won the support of Chatham’s Historical Commission and other local agencies and residents.
Doherty said the building would fit into the exact footprint of a proposed upwelling building at 90 Bridge St. in Chatham, where it could be used in place of new construction.
The estimated cost of moving the building back to Chatham, with the use of a crane and barge, is $100,000 to $200,000, according to Doherty.
Hull Town Manager Philip Lemnios did not respond to an email requesting comment on the boathouse’s removal.
In the meantime, McDevitt said the experience has been costly, in terms of fines and legal fees.
“It was a good learning curve,” he said. “I won’t do it again. But it feels good at least to be able to save the building. It would have been a great Coast Guard museum.”