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Away from the high-season crowds, discover the water-powered brickworks that helped build downtown Boston.
What makes The Brickyard a special place?
While Martha’s Vineyard might seem an unlikely location for down-and-dirty industry, the north shore’s rocky landscape was a perfect fit for brick-making. In the 1860s, under the ownership of Boston banker Nathaniel Harris, the business hit its stride: workers mined clay from the soil, used island-harvested trees and the waters of Roaring Brook to power the operation, and shipped as many as 800,000 bricks a year aboard schooners docked in Vineyard Sound. Before railroads rendered the brickworks obsolete, construction projects from Boston to Newport to New York used bricks made in Chilmark.
Today, visitors can explore the historic remnants of the brickworks, including its iconic 45-foot chimney and 10-foot-high cut-stone walls. But be advised: the trail follows uneven terrain on the way down, followed by a strenuous uphill hike on the way back.
A 1/3-mile path through lush woodlands connects The Brickyard with the trails of Menemsha Hills. Wear proper hiking footwear, bring water, and allow a minimum of 3 hours for the trip down and back to the parking area. Please only embark if you’re physically fit for the round-trip journey.