By Richard Gaines
---- — A Watertown restaurant owner and the proprietor of the Good Harbor Beach Inn, has acquired the Studio, one of Rocky Neck’s longtime stalwarts on stilts, for $1.4 million from Studio Deck & Lounge Inc.
With the Studio, Dennis A. Dyer extends his influence on the Neck, where he already owns of The Rudder, and the Rocky Neck Art Colony Inc. All rest on pilings built out over Smith’s Cove, an area undergoing a major revitalization spurred by the redevelopment of Bickford’s Marina and the Paint Factory.
Dyer, who did not return several phone calls by the Times Thursday, also acquired the building at 53 Main St. in Rockport that houses the Tutweiler Gallery last month.
Dyer, who owns the New Yorker Diner near Watertown Square in Watertown, paid $575,000 in November 2011 for the dark brown art gallery which has — like much of the Neck — been through many manifestations over the years.
The Rudder, like the Studio, has been a seasonal restaurant that combines relaxed dining, a sophisticated bar and idyllic views of the cove. It has also been rumored that Dyer flirted with making an offer on the Madfish Grill.
For orientation, Madfish, at 77 Rocky Neck Ave., is farthest north. The Rudder is at No. 73, the Rocky Neck Art Colony is at No, 53. and the Studio is No. 51.
The former owner of the Studio was Studio Lounge & Deck Inc. It had been owned through 2001 by Frank Ahearn, who sold it to Mary Kim.
Rocky Neck developed as a hybrid neighborhood in the post Civil War era, as the Paint Factory and the Gloucester Marine Railway were built opposite ends of the Neck and artists began concentrating amidst summer homes and a handful of great Victorians. The Rockaway Hotel offered nearly 100 rooms in the era of Gloucester’s great summer hotels, which came to an end with a chain of still mysterious fires in the 1950s and 1960s.
Possibly the neck’s greatest Victorian home was that of Augustus Wonson, who was co-founder of the Tarr & Wonson Paint Factory. In 1923, Edward Hopper immortalized Wonson’s Mansard Victorian in one of his house paintings of Gloucester. The idea for the painting, in watercolors, rather than oil, was that of his fiance, Jo Nivison.
That painting, which helped launch Hopper’s career, was purchased by the Brooklyn Museum. He started visiting Gloucester in 1912, and returned often in the 1920s.
Rocky Neck, recognized earlier this year as one of the state’s first designated cultural districts, would also be in the running for the laurel that goes to the nation’s first summer arts colony.
Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3474, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.