In 1957, Leo Linquata bought the Tupman Thurlow Fish Wharf, now known as the Seven Seas Wharf. The purchase was a practical one as Leo was supplying oil – via his company, Progressive Oil – to twelve boats which were tied onto the dock.
Leo’s son Michael Linquata, wanted to build a restaurant on the property. After acquiring two partners – Kay Spittle and Fiore Masse – the restaurant opened its doors for business in April of 1958. In 1966 Michael took full control over the restaurant. Since then he has remained President of the company.
During this time, the restaurant was a white building with black shutters and occupied the front of the property where the Compass Rose function facility is now. There was dining downstairs while upstairs there was a dramatic function hall with cathedral ceilings. As today, the delicious, authentic seafood and – of course – the view were the main attractions. So attractive were these that the crew of Bewitched filmed an episode at the restaurant between 1972 and 1973. There is a great picture of Leo and Michael with the entire crew – including Liz Montomergy and Dick Sargent among the other stars – in front of the old building. In the late 70’s the Today Show also filmed
About fifteen years ago, in the early nineties, Leonard, Michael’s eldest son, came aboard as the Treasurer of the company and the Manager of The Gloucester House. “Lenny” obtained an AS degree from the Culinary Institute in America in Hyde Park, New York in 1972 and graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BS cum laude in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1976. Lenny wears many hats around the restaurant from cooking behind the line, to creating new seafood dishes, to ensuring functions run smoothly. He has a passion for politics and local history and is an award-winning raconteur. Today, Lenny’s wife, Dottie, is the office manager and his brother, Michael Jr., is the assistant manager of the Gloucester House.
Although the restaurant was erected in 1957, today it has been completely rebuilt. Unfortunately, the building and the pilings supporting the wharf suffered much damage from the no-name storm that occurred at the end of October 1991. This was the same storm that was featured in Sebastian Junger’s book “The Perfect Storm,” and later in the film based on this story starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. In the winter of 1992 the first renovation took place towards the rear of the property (closer to the harbor). This construction built a new dining area for patrons now known as “The Pub.” The newest addition was completed in November of 2006 and created a new function facility named The Compass Rose Room.
The Linquata family invites you to learn more about the amazing accomplishments of Leo and Michael. Please visit their personal pages by clicking on their respective names:
Leo Linquata arrived in this country from Sicily when he was two years old. He made the then treacherous journey across the Atlantic with his mother, Rosalia, and his siblings. Marco Linquata, Leo’s father, was in the port of Boston waiting for the arrival of the family.
Leo had a primary school education until he was twelve years old. At that point he began commercial fishing to help support his family. After years of fishing, Leo graduated to be captain of the family fishing boat, the Natalie II, a WWI converted sub-chaser.
In 1930, Leo left fishing and, with other partners, he started the Progressive Fish Wharf Incorporated during the heart of the depression in 1930. Even so, at this time Leo was only earning $20.00 per week, a true representation of the difficult economic situation in America. Eventually, he became sole owner of the company around 1949. At the height of production, the company was buying one million pounds of whiting (fish) a week and was producing 600,000 lbs of finished product; the fish was processed, packed, frozen, and shipped all around the country. During that time Michael Linquata, Leo’s first son and eldest child, was running the operations – buying the fish and supervising all production. Progressive Incorporated soon began to supply oil under the Progressive Oil Company’s name. Leo owned Progressive Fish Wharf Inc. until 1970 and Progressive Oil Company until 1990.
It was not unusual for Leo to pursue profitable endeavors; he was a true entrepreneur. In 1941 he began Harbor Cove Fisheries Incorporated which, similar to Progressive Fish Wharf, processed and shipped fish products. This was an incredibly important business during these war years and some of the 20 million pounds of fish that Leo processed and shipped per year was sold to the U. S. Army.
Leo was a man of many accomplishments. He was especially proud in his involvement in establishing the St. Peter’s Club – a club for fishermen which opened in 1935. Today it is a yellow brick building on Rogers Street near St. Peter’s Square. As a founding member of the St. Peter’s Club, Leo played a large part in the creation of the St. Peter’s Fiesta celebration. Fiesta pays homage to St. Peter – the patron saint of fishermen – and includes many traditional events from Italy such as the walking of the “Greasy Pole” and the rowing of “Seine Boat Races.” Today, it is one of the busiest times of the summer months and is certainly the most anticipated event in the Gloucester area – a true testament to the spirit and rich tradition in the community. The Fiesta is held in the last week of June.
Leo’s other contributions to Cape Ann are numerous. These include being the Director of the Sawyer Free Library, Director of the National Fisheries Dealers, and President of the Gloucester Fisheries Association for several years each. Leo was a member of the Knights of Columbus for over fifty years, and a member of the Rotary Club for fifty-nine years. He was Director of Gloucester Safe and Trust Bank and was President of the Cape Ann Savings Bank for two years. He was Chairman of the Red Cross for five years, was the President of the Cape Ann Symphony for one year, and served a term as a Gloucester City Councilor. Leo was additionally part of a group which sought to bring new business into the Gloucester community in the early 60’s– the Cape Ann Industrial Group was responsible for the building and zoning of Blackburn Industrial Park in 1963.
Leo passed away in 1996 at the age of 97. His wife, Anne passed before him in 1993. Leo has five children – Michael Linquata, Rosalie Parco, Julia Scandalito, Anita Curcuru, and Maryanne McCollum. All of his children have remained in Gloucester and are very active members of the community.
Michael Linquata, much like his father Leo, has an impressive list of community and national accomplishments. When he was only a teenage, he volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army as a medic in WWII. To read Michael’s heroic and compelling story of his time in the European Theatre with the 134th Infantry Regiment, please click below.
Upon his discharge from the Army in December 1945, Michael went to work full time for his father’s Progressive Fish Wharf Incorporated. Soon, he applied to colleges and was accepted and enrolled in Suffolk University in Boston, MA in the fall of 1946. Michael earned a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration in 1950. He also served as President of his class. During his summer breaks from Suffolk, Michael still worked at Progressive and was the full-time production manager after graduation.
Despite having strong commitments in Gloucester, Michael remained active in Suffolk’s affairs. First, Michael served as the General Chairman for the First Annual Fund Drive for the University. Then, in the early seventies, he was elected as an Alumni Trustee of the University. One of the committees that he was assigned to was the Building Committee. Within a year he was named chairman of the committee. During this time the University purchased and renovated of the old United Way building on Asburton Place in Boston. This is now the Suffolk University Sawyer School of Business building. The project was completed under budget and ahead of time. For his accomplishments, in June of 1984 the University honored Michael with an Honorary Doctorate in Commercial Science.
In the fall of 1966 Michael took over active management of the restaurant. While this is a full-time job, he also found time for community involvement and betterment endeavors. For fifteen years he was the majority owner and president of the Seven Seas Whale Watch, which still docks on the Seven Seas Wharf today. Michael has also been President of the Gloucester Rotary Club, President of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, and President of the North of Boston Tourist Council. He has served the City of Gloucester on the Harbor Improvement Commission, the Boulevard Reconstruction Committee, the Traffic Commission, on a Bridge Feasibility study, and as the commander of the Gloucester VFW Post. Michael’s most recent accomplishment is the founding of Gloucester WWII Memorial Committee which raised funds and erected a monument on Stacy Boulevard honoring Gloucester’s significant contribution during the second World War. To learn more, please visit their website at www.gloucesterww2vetsmemorial.org
Today, Michael enjoys spending his winters in Naples, FL with his wife, Lillian. He has four children – Leonard (Lenny), Lawrence (Larry), Mike Jr., and Anne Mortillaro.
Include a link to http://coulthart.com/134/linquata%20history.htm
And to http://www.gloucesterww2vetsmemorial.org/