Hilliard’s Wharf cut a most unusual profile on the waterfront. It didn’t run perpendicular to the shore but was canted discernibly to the southwest. According to Napi Van Dereck, this served to make the wharf more easily approachable by ships heavily laden with lumber, since they could count on prevailing southwesterly winds to ease them into port. Some pilings still remain from this historic structure. Originally 600 feet long, the wharf was unusually wide, and so could accommodate a large number of fish flakes.
“Fishing was the most important industry carried on at this site but the pier was was also a blacksmith shop, sail loft and ship chandler’s store,” Irving S. Rogers wrote in his three-part series on town wharves for The Advocate in October 1941. “In recent years, the premises have been used for a lumber yard, coal yard and hardware store.”
Through the early 1940s, the Higgins Lumber Company was doing business here, and so you’ll hear the wharf referred to as Higgins’s Wharf or Higgins Wharf, though the company used the Hilliards name on its own account. With considerable fanfare, it moved to 21 Conwell Street in 1945, a site that is still in use as a lumberyard and store. During the devastating hurricane of 1944, Albert Avellar’s Blue Gull landed here. After Joseph Macara acquired the wharf, it was known as Macara’s.