Boat Shop That Became a Home for Island Art

When in Edgartown, we invite you to take a walk along Dock street to the northern end. There beside you is a tall grey building. Look up and up and see how it reaches into the sky with cathedral dignity. It has a tower on the front, as does any proper cathedral, and also many windows on the long sides. Farther up are rows of skylights like the clerestory in a Gothic medieval church, but our skylights leak. High in the peaks are two round windows, the glass pink with age, so it boasts two rose windows as well.

The Manuel Art of Building Catboats, Trust and a Life

The story has been told of a sculptor who was asked how he proceeded in carving the statue of an elephant. He is quoted as saying, “I merely break and cut off whatever part of the stone does not resemble an elephant and what is left has to be right.”
 
Of Manuel Swartz Roberts, house carpenter, boatbuilder and cabinet­maker, it was said, “Manuel sees the figure that he plans to make in the rough log before he ever picks up his tools”, and this has never been disputed by those who knew Manuel best.
 

Edgartown’s Own Boat-Builder And Philosopher, Dead

Manuel Swartz Roberts, one of the best known and best loved figures of Martha’s Vineyard, died at 6 o’clock this morning after a prolonged period of failing health. As boat-builder, craftsman, philosopher, and most of all as a wise and warmly humorous friend, he had become a legend in his own time.
 

Portrait of an Artist Who Chose Boats

Note: Mr. Leavens - visited M. S. Roberts and made notes of their talk. He had intended to write this interview as an article in the third person, but Mr. Rob­erts’ own personality so clearly emerged from the written memor­anda that the author decided to write the interview in the first person, following as closely as pos­sible the ideas and modes of ex­pression of the man who sat for the portrait.
 

“For Sale” Sign on Famous Boat Builder’s Shop Causes Consternation - Manuel May Shift Moorings

There is a “For Sale” sign on the boat shop of Manuel S. Roberts at the head of the town wharf in Edgartown, a sign indicating that the historic building and the land upon which it is situated are for sale. Indicating also - and this brings a touch of near-tragedy to the picture - that this building long associated with ships, boats and salt water and men who have gone down to the sea, may enter upon a new and cheaply-gilded existence as a Gifte Shoppe - and its proprietor, as much a landmark as the building, removed from the setting which he has dominated for so long.
 

Old Sculpin’s Quarters - A Door to Enchantment for His Admirers

There hangs upon a wall at the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. C. Coburn Darling at Cow Bay, Edgartown, the most perfect and eloquent record of a famous Vineyard landmark - the memorable and beloved boat building shop of Manuel S. Roberts.
 

Edgartown’s Master Shipbuilder

Generations have taken pride in the reputation of the Edgartown shipbuilder, master constructor of barns, barges and binnacle boxes, Manuel Swartz. Known in every civilized country of the globe for the skill with which he constructs caskets, catboats and checkerboards, he might easily have won a place for himself in world history but for the deteriorating effects of modern milk-and-water mildness inspired by unhampered pacifism.
 

Edgartown Town Column

Manuel Swartz, the boat builder, has moved into new and enlarged quarters - the front end of what was formerly the Norton Bros. mill building. Mr. Swartz has much improved the building and will be better prepared than ever before to cater to his patrons.

A Catboat Finds Her Way Home to the Sea

A boat has a life of its own. This is the story of one boat whose lineage goes back through Vineyard history; one boat who gracefully carried a Vineyard family as it grew up; one boat that I, a sailor and waterfront reporter, had watched in wonder as she sailed these waters, until she ended up in a field collecting lichens, aging as a home for hornets’ nests.

Then she came to me. This is the story, too, of getting her back into the water, and how the sailors who are the fabric of this community helped me to return this personality to the harbor.

Simply Messing About in Catboats

On a recent weekend we got a chance to sail away for a few days, leave Martha’s Vineyard and its drama (an approaching Presidential visit and the August summer in full swing) behind.

Nantucket Sound is a wonderful place to get away. You’re never away from the sight of land. Sailing across the 650 square mile inland sea is like being in the ocean without the huge rollers that can be experienced only a few miles away.

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