During the sailing days of the 1800s, before the advent of steam vessels, ships sailed from England to our local waters here on the Maine coast to catch codfish and take them back home. Ships often made two trips per season, returning with holds full of fish. The sailing ships would buy salt from Italy and would off-load onto our property here in Boothbay Harbor into the building we now call “The Old Salt Shed.” The salt was used to preserve the cod until they were brought to market in the United Kingdom. Over the years we have carefully built around the salt shed and have managed it in order to maintain it as close to its original state as possible. For this reason, some of the original salt can be found along the beams!
Later in the 1920s, this side of Boothbay Harbor had several sardine canneries, which were not as much publicized but much the same as “Cannery Row” in Monterey, California. We can still remember the ladies cutting and packing the sardines and the singing sounds of the canning machinery. Over the years the canneries were closed and taken down. The Brown Brothers factory, the last survivor, finally closed its doors in the early 1950s. All that remains of the old buildings is “The Old Salt Shed” which is part of our restaurant complex today, one of the oldest structures in Boothbay Harbor.
Today the Salt Shed, with its heavy beams, fireplace, and historic flair, is open during the fall and is a cozy spot where many of our guests enjoy cocktails and dinner.