The crew led by Thomas Gardner1 came into Cape Ann in 1623/24
with some provisions, however they were on their own. Since the colony was to provide produce and fish, their tools were for that purpose. Cape Ann was renowned for its fishing.2 Hence, fishing crews from Plymouth had built structures for drying fish in the area as they had regularly visited the spot. The Dorchester crew brought the material for building a house.3 Other structures put up the first year would have been the New England wigwam4 which was an adaptation of the one built by natives. It had an internal fireplace. Massachusetts is fairly far north and can have severe winters. In 1607, a party landed in what is now Maine at Popham and survived a winter with no casualties.5 Actually, they built a sea-going vessel while there that they sailed to Virginia. Ingenuity was not lacking. Not long after the successful establishment in the Salem area where the Cape Ann party moved in 1626, more people began arriving than resources could handle. 

1. See Cape Ann, 1623
2. See Cape Ann, Retrospective.
3. See Thomas' house.
4. See The 1st Year.
5. See Gardner's Beacon, Vol. III, No. 3.

Contributor: Gardner Research
The Gardner Annals, Vol. I, No. 1 (August 2014)