Nowadays, the aromas around Woods Hole will more likely be salt air or enticing aromas from the village’s numerous eating establishments. Prior to the 20
century, it was a different matter. The fish packing and dried fish business on the edge of Little Harbor must have sent some pungent smells into the village’s homes on the prevailing southwest wind. Then, in 1828 another business, whaling, brought more odors to town.
Woods Hole had the only deep-water port on Cape Cod and, with the construction of a better road and bridge to span the Eel Pond channel, the lower, western section of Water Street became the new center of business in Woods Hole. Not only was the Bar Neck Wharf Company housed there, but numerous businesses that served the whaling industry as well.
There was a try-works for processing whale oil, a candle manufacturing building which used spermaceti, a waxy substance found in the head cavities of sperm whales; a cooper’s shop for making barrels to house oil tryed-down on whaling voyages, and a bake shop which manufactured the dry biscuit (hard tack) which was taken on the average 3-year whaling voyage.