PETER B. MURPHY, 74
Peter Murphy, the long time owner of the Woodshed and the Brewster Inn and Chowder House, has peacefully passed on May 10, 2012. He has ended one journey in order to start another and left us to ponder the many years spent with him and his influence upon us. Pete, or Uncle Pete to his many nieces and nephews, has made a lasting impression on the many people who were fortunate enough to work for him, who were part of his extended family, or had the good fortune to frequent the Woodshed between the years 1969 through 2012. I was one of the fortunate ones who stumbled into the Woodshed during the spring of 1975 to audition for a gig playing music on the Cape, a coveted position for a couple of musicians in their late 20's. We got the job and for the next five summers, we lived in a room above the Shed and played music 5 nights a week to locals and tourists. Pete's nephews, affectionately known as coolies, were among the bartenders, doormen and waitresses who worked there during those years and simply stated, a great time was had for all!
Pete ran a tight ship. Some would say that he was a firm taskmaster and he ran his business accordingly. He was always there each night standing next to the cigarette machine keeping a low profile in the always, packed house only making his presence felt when necessary. There next to him was a cold Bud draught that somehow always appeared to be bottomless. During the day, you could often find Pete in the kitchen making sandwiches for the coolies and later when the Brewster Inn was opened, cooking and making his homemade soups for the lunch crowd. He was a hard worker and this was not lost on those who worked for him. At the same time, Pete loved to hang out with those of us who worked there and he was truly, young at heart. Pete owned a 1920's era Model A fire engine that he would crank up on Memorial Day weekend to make the annual pilgrimage to the opening of the now defunct Thompson's Clam Bar in Harwich or to be part of the 4th of July parade. We would climb aboard finding a seat wherever we could and we'd make our way across Cape with a nice cold keg of the aforementioned Bud draught to quench our thirst along the way. There were softball games every Sunday morning at 10am with employees and the Shed regulars, and somehow we'd make those games, even with the after hours carrying on that took place until the wee hours the night before. At the end of the season, there was a huge Labor Day party followed the next day with a trip off Cape in a rented bus to a restaurant where Pete would treat us all to dinner. Pete's generosity was well known to all his employees and friends and was often exhibited, in his own quiet way, to those in the community who were in need of a helping hand.
The Woodshed and the Chowder House are still open and thriving now under the able management of Bobby Ford. The crowds will keep coming, and the music will play on. But, for those of us who shared over 35 years with Peter Murphy at the helm, it will never be quite the same. We all thank you for those incredible times Pete, you will be missed and not forgotten.