Skiff Condominium (Units 1-3).
The skiff — pointed bow, squared back, and flat bottom — is the little workhorse of the waterfront. It is also the name of the Skiff Condominium Trust, created in 2007 by Judy K. Mencher, a lawyer and financier who owns the abutting properties at 65A Commercial Street and 65B Commercial Street. The condo takes its name, in turn, from the Skiff waterfront apartments, as this property used to be called. The Skiff was owned and managed for many years by the Hiebert family, beginning with Dr. Daniel H. Hiebert (1889-1972) and his wife, Emily Hiebert (1894-1985), then extending through their daughter, Ruth E. Hiebert (1922-2004), a prominent landlord and philanthropist, who also owned and managed Captain Jack’s Wharf. It was Ruth who christened the building “Skiff.”
But it might as well as have been called “Whaler.” Capt. Edward Quincy Weeks (1846-1936), whom The Advocate described as the “last of the old time whalemen,” made this his home, back to the days of the old street-numbering system, when it was denominated 50 Commercial Street. Weeks, born on Long Point, first went to sea with his father, Capt. John C. Weeks, at the age of 10. By his 18th birthday, he was already a boat-steerer (the crewman who guides a whale boat) and “soon after attained a reputation with the harpoon,” The Advocate recalled. He shipped on Mary D. Leach and Agate, went swordfishing on his own account, and worked on mackerel seiners. His own boat was the sloop Sylvian (the first Mrs. Weeks was Sylvia K. Galacar) and it was noted in the 1886 town directory that he was a “maker and packer prepared fish.”
Harry Warren Atwood (±1874-1947) made this his home in the 1940s, though he spent much of his adult life in Brooklyn, working across the East River for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Atwood was the son of Capt. Rodolphus Hatch Atwood (1829-1890) and a brother to Franklin Nye “Frank” Atwood (1872-1946), who lived across the street, at 66 Commercial Street. The house at No. 67 was inherited by Harry’s daughter, Dorothy E. (Atwood) Linskey (1905-1996), who sold it in 1956 to the Hieberts.
The Hieberts added a three-story porch to the waterfront facade in 1957. In the 2000s, the Skiff offered five different apartments, each for $1,700 a week for two persons during the summer season. On the first floor was the Captain’s Quarters, a one-bedroom unit with a kitchen-dining area; on the second was the Bridge, a one-bedroom unit with living-dining area, kitchen, and private decks; on the third was the Penthouse, a one-bedroom unit with kitchen-dining-living area and a private deck. Behind the main house was a refurbished fish house called the Arks, with two units.
The trustees of the Hiebert Charitable Trust sold the property for $2.05 million in 2005 to 67 Commercial Street LLC — Judy Mencher, in fact. In 2012, she undertook a substantive renovation of the building, working with the contractor Scott Czyoski of Brewster. One of the three units in the main house was purchased by a couple from Bridgewater for $575,000. A Jersey City resident bought two units, for $585,000 and $597,000.
For a view of the rear cottage, please see 67B Commercial Street.
¶ Last updated on 5 July 2018.
Ed Fitzgerald wrote on 12 June 2014: Ruth named it “The Skiff” and continued to own and manage it after she moved to Pleasant Street.
In 2008, it was possible simply to drop in at the Skiff. Photo by David W. Dunlap.