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Hanff Boat Yard & Wooden Boat Works - TravelStorys

East End Back Story

Location Trip Time Travel Type
New York 1 hour

Hanff Boat Yard & Wooden Boat Works

Kevin Rogan: Welcome to the East End Back story tour.The Hanff boatyard is owned by John Costello, where they build barges and care for historic wooden boats and modern fiberglass and steel boats, both recreational and commercial. Wooden Boatworks is also based here. The yard has a long history. Listen to John Costello and Greta Scanlan and Charlotte Mullen, daughters of Bill Hanff, who founded the yard. John Costello: It's a little bit strange but my father was a local Greenporter. His parents came from Ireland. And they came to Greenport with the railroad. And the railroad came here and they were trucking and shipping everything by water. That was part of the deal. When the railroad came to Greenport, my grandparents came to Greenport. Greta Scanlan & Charlotte Mullen: My grandfather came out here looking for work, and he found work building docks. And a lot of the docks that are on Coecles Harbor and some that are on the other side of Shelter Island are still the same docks they built then. They were dock builders before they got into the boatyard itself. John Costello: I was born right there -- the hospital out the window there. I was the football star married the cheerleader. So I haven't gone very far. My son, my daughter is in the business too. We all have saltwater in our blood. And I'm going to remain in dock building business for the rest of my life and this shipyard in marine usage. Greta Scanlan & Charlotte Mullen: They built several boats that were identical. They were all 42 feet long. They were very nice looking boats really, 42 feet long with a long stern. All along the shop they had a long box that was a steam box and they would steam the wood and when it was still warm they would go up and put it on. And then in the winter, daddy made skis down there for us and we skied off the oyster pile. John Costello: We only want a maritime business in here. Keep the marine heritage of Greenport here and alive. Greta Scanlan & Charlotte Mullen: I think that's what he liked more than anything – just the people that would come in there. He didn't judge anybody. No. They could come down there and hang out and say almost whatever they wanted, you know. And he wouldn't judge them. He did a lot of quietly good things for a lot of people who remembered, you know what I mean, yea, as they grew older. And people would bring down things to be sanded or to be claimed or to be cut off on the band saw – all kinds of stuff. John Costello: Building metal boats and maintaining metal boats is a portion we could do. But we're blessed that the Wooden Boatworks people are working out of the same facility so that they can manage and maintain wooden boats the way they do. I think that's the most unique part about Hanff Boatyard – the ability to do both. It's still tremendous amount of fun. Can't wait for tomorrow. Kevin Rogan: Three marine railways were installed at the Hanff boatyard in the early 20th century. There have been few changes over the years, making it one of the best-preserved boatyards on Long Island. Ready for more stories? Continue on our East End Back Story journey. This program is funded by the NY State Council on the Arts and the Robert Gardiner Foundation.

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