sunset over mill pond 2
Sunset Over Mill Pond
E. Joan Horrocks 2015

Fall/Winter News

December 2015

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From the Editor

We find we have much to be grateful for this time of year in our community.  The beauty and quiet of autumn in the Old Village has been picture perfect, as the photograph above describes so eloquently. We are welcoming new families to our streets, gaining friendships, and even some preservationists too. We've launched our new Facebook page, and encourage you to follow us as we post news, notices, and even some entertaining tidbits from our past.

Thanks go to our perennial contributors. David MacAdam provides bracing reporting and commentary on Alliance work, Carol Pacun offers perspective on living with small town concerns in the midst of global events, and John Whelan gives us a unique memoir of youthful employment in town.  Debbie Aikman has an update on keeping Mill Pond skiffs safe, and Joan Horrocks graciously acquiesced to our request for some souvenir images for all of us who are not lucky enough to be in Chatham year-round - she's provided appropriately contemplative photographs of our breathtaking scenery. Enjoy your holidays!

President's Letter

Dear Neighbors,

After the most spectacular fall in recent memory, we are hoping for a less severe winter in 2016. As usual this time of year, the  Village is  quiet except for the sound of contractors busily building and renovating.

The Mitchell River Bridge is due to open this coming June. To our great relief the traffic this summer in the Lighthouse area was not as problematic as expected but we certainly look forward to walking and driving "The Loop"once again.

Hallett Lane will remain a one-way street. Thank you for responding to our survey. Although many of you preferred that it be seasonal, the Department of Public Works and the Chatham Police Department recommended no change for practical reasons.

There has been no news concerning the Avis Chase Cottages. We await the results of the appeal.

The reopening of the Water Street steps has been delayed. Ted Keon will present his revised traffic and parking plan to the Zoning Board of Appeals at their February 13 th meeting.  If approved, he will then present the plan to the Board of Selectmen. Although we are disappointed that this process has been slow, we remain confident that the new steps will be built as soon as possible .

Parking  throughout the entire town  continues to be a problem and we trust that our Selectmen will continue to consider this serious issue.

I encourage you to contact me with questions and concerns and always welcome suggestions concerning life in our beautiful neighbor hood. I send you my best wishes for a wonderful New Year.
Winnie Lear, President
Alliance Report 2015
Now well into November, the Village has quieted considerably from the noisy summer - at least during the dark hours. Daytime, the streets are still busy, but now with landscapers, builders, and all the heavy equipment that it takes to renovate the few historic homes left.
The Alliance for Preservation and Conservation has managed a number of meetings over the past year, between the winter paralysis of snow, and the summer paralysis of traffic. The Alliance, you may recall, provides a forum for the exchange of information between and among the various non-profit citizen organizations in Chatham devoted to matters of preservation and conservation. In effect the Alliance serves as an education and communication forum. It does not advocate for preservation and conservation beyond this. The small number of mostly aging year-round Chatham residents are no match for the powerful moneyed interests that now call the shots on virtually all matters relating to the look and feel of the Town. 
Within its narrow boundaries, the Alliance, under the able leadership of the indefatigable Gloria Freeman, has offered a number of interesting and revealing programs to those who stay behind in Chatham to attend. Here is a very brief chronological synopsis covering the period since my last report a year ago:
November 2014 - Meeting not held due to cancellation by speaker. 
December 2014 and January 2015 - Meetings not scheduled on account of the holidays.
January 2015 - A special, unofficial meeting of the Alliance was held, just before the storms came, in response to a request from residents of Stage Harbor Road who wished for guidance in setting up a neighborhood association. To my ears, this was one of the most revealing meetings of the year. The up-shot was that in Chatham neighborhood associations are exceedingly difficult to set up, and once established, of very questionable effectiveness at preserving historic buildings and streetscapes. In this town, renovation (development) masquerading as preservation rules.   
February and March 2015 - Meetings cancelled on account of snow.
April 2015 - A presentation by Pleasant Bay Community Boating concerning their enthusiastic (and successful) fundraising efforts for the purchase of the McClennen Estate on Pleasant Bay as a permanent home for their program.
May 2015 - A q & a session with the two new Board of Selectmen candidates, Cory J. Metters and Dean P. Nicastro, running unopposed. Both came across as reasonable, sincere and experienced.
June 2015 - A power point presentation by Kristin Andres, Town Conservation Officer, on "Coastal Processes: Public interests served by preserving the natural shoreline functions." Very effective during her time in Chatham, Kristin has now left the service of the Town.

sunset over mill pond
Sunset Over Mill Pond 2                                                 E. Joan Horrocks 2015 
July and August 2015 - Meetings not held during the summer months. 
September 2015 - Carol Pacun, a founding member of both the Alliance and the OVA, reviewed the beginnings of the Alliance. She read the original mission statement, admitting that it was rather ambitious, even 15 years ago. The original goal was to bring together local business people and preservationists to seek common solutions to the Town's problems. It was noted that the Town is now fast approaching a tipping point between preservation and over-development.   
October 2015 - Tim Wood, reporter/editor of the Cape Cod Chronicle for 30 years, shared insights on the changes he's witnessed in Chatham over that period. Most illuminating was the tightrope he must walk between business interests and preservationists to provide fair, even-handed reporting - he is surely a member of a vanishing breed. 
November 2015 - Victor DiCristina, Vice Chair of the Chatham Community Preservation Committee, spoke on the Community Preservation Act, the Land Bank, and reviewed 12 years of remarkable Chatham projects and purchases under these programs. 
David MacAdam
OVA Representative to the Alliance

After the Summer Comes the Fall  
Summer in the Old Village requires all our energy and attention. In the early morning, the sun slides forth from the horizon over North Beach welcoming us to another near perfect day. Neighbors stream out of newly opened houses, pausing to gossip with friends or pull a few weeds from the garden. Sun worshipers and children of all ages relax on our beaches, or climb on boats to cruise Chatham's waters. If this is not enough to occupy our thoughts, just a moment away, Main Street becomes impassable with bumper to bumper cars, a lack of parking spaces and visitors on foot who do not seem to understand that walking out into traffic is not a wonderful idea. Our life is replete with fun and friendship... and time-consuming battles with overwhelming crowds.
Autumn beauty
Autumn Beauty                    E. Joan Horrocks 2015
Then suddenly - almost without warning - everything stills. Most Old Village houses now are dark, our daily chores accomplished quickly. We walk alone on empty beaches, with time to think about ourselves and the world beyond our borders. This November, our sense of well-being has been jolted by the violence in Paris and the endless masses of emigrants who are running from a reality which is both frightening and incomprehensible. While we are grateful that we live in a small town miles away from danger, mixed thoughts about the suffering of others and our own good fortune are troublesome.
Indeed, with much of the world in chaos, how can we be so petty as to worry about what sidewalks need to be replaced, when the bridge will be finished, or who owns a piece of ocean off Monomoy. Shouldn't we.... shouldn't we what?   The problems seem so overwhelming that we are at a loss on how to respond. However, what we can do here in Chatham is to reaffirm the importance of our nation's democratic principles by working together, with reason and fairness, to make our town as good as it can be for all our citizens and for the environment. In Great Britain during World War II, citizens were urged to "keep calm and carry on." Perhaps, at least for now, we should try to follow that advice.       
Carol Pacun 
The Old Mail Route

Fall has been beautiful in the Old Village and the warm days have been ideal for someone who likes to walk. I enjoy walking and particularly in the Old Village. And now that Nancy and I have a little dog, I have even more reasons to walk around. I say often that Monomoy, our year and a half old Jack Russell, wants to see all the streets of Chatham and that I am just following along. That statement may be a stretch of the truth. But, walk we do, and walking this fall has been just terrific.
I had the good fortune of walking the streets of the Old Village starting when I was a college student.   We lived
View on Main Street from 1916 courtesy N. Koerner
on Holway Street and just around the corner on Hallett Lane lived Harold Tuttle, who was the Assistant Postmaster in Chatham. Harold or "Tut" was an old Chatham High School friend of my mother's and he was in charge of hiring the summer substitutes for the Chatham Post Office. Those were the days of the walking mailman and all the mail was put out in the blue mail boxes that were found all over town. At the Post Office, the mailman arranged the mail according to how he or she walked the route. The first section was put in the leather bag for delivery. The next two or three sections were wrapped in a leather strap and driven to the mail boxes along the route. The walking mailman had a key and picked up the "relays" as he went along. There was a relay at the Mayflower and one at the corner of Main Street and Shore Road and one more by the Lighthouse parking lot.

The mail was very heavy in those days. No emails existed and magazines and catalogs were very popular. Eugene Love was the mailman for the Old Village and Gene had some minor heart ailment. It was decided that it was best that a summer "sub" walk the route during the heaviest periods of mail. So Gene worked inside the Post Office and I got to walk Route 2 which started at the Epicure and went all through the Old Village and ended at the Beach Club. Some houses had mail boxes by the street and some had mail containers attached to the house. My first day, I was quite slow arranging the mail, so when I started at the Epicure and worked my way east, I walked as fast as I could, taking every short cut through back yards. I didn't stop to talk with anyone for fear I would arrive back late. Well, I arrived back at the Post Office an hour early and was immediately ushered into the Post Master's Office. Tut asked how I got back so soon and I explained what I had done. He laughed and said that the short cuts through back yards were off limits and certainly unnecessary and that in the future I was to arrive back at the proper time. I learned about proper delivery that day and enjoyed walking Route 2 for the next three summers. A little after Labor Day, the mail lightened up, and Gene Love resumed his normal duties and I went back to college.

Chatham Light with view of the Beach Club               courtesy N. Koerner

It was a terrific summer job. I loved walking and I met lots of friends along the way.   Gladys Atwood, at the Atwood's Grocery Store on Main Street, was a very special friend . I would always go in for a short visit and often she would give me some grapes or cherries from their fruit department to eat along the way. I met Bob Ridgely who lives now on Silverleaf Avenue. He was the manager at Mark, Fore and Strike. He and I hit it off right away and he has been a close friend ever since. And at the end of my route, I met Vito Sammartano who was the manager at the Beach Club. Mr. Sam or Vito was a wonderful character and he would give me a Coke and we would sit on the benches overlooking the tennis courts and settle all the problems of the world. For those of you who knew Vito, you know how special those times were for me.

So now when Monomoy and I walk around the Old Village, I remember some of the fun times and great people I knew, and some I still know. Yes, the Old Village has changed in 50 years, but a lot of it remains the same. I credit The Old Village Association for their effort to preserve a beautiful and historic part of Chatham.

John Whelan
Most Skiff Owners Cooperating With New Town Regulations

A year ago, new regulations were instituted requiring all dinghies, prams and tenders used to access moored vessels to display a decal issued by the Chatham Harbormaster, on the port side inside of the transom. The decal must clearly indicate ownership and contact information of the watercraft.

As a condition of each mooring permit, no one is permitted to store their dinghy, pram or tender on town owned property after November 30th or before April 15th of each year, unless the dinghy, pram or tender is in active use by the owner/permit holder. Failure to remove the vessel from town property by those dates will result in being removed, fined or both. Any removal will be at the owner's expense. The two photos below of the Water Street town landing show a big improvement from a year ago, in that almost all skiffs have been removed.

November 30, 2014 
November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015
Another photo taken facing south, looking toward the landing, shows that a number of skiffs remain on private property. Most of them have no indication of ownership or contact information. If any of these should break loose in an extreme weather event, the Harbormaster will have no way of returning them to the rightful owner once they're retrieved.

The best option would be for owners to remove their skiffs from the beach prior to the onset of winter weather.

Debbie Aikman
Natl Trust blog logo
Preservation Toolbox highlights a fascinating feature on the globally popular online game Minecraft, which now has a component allowing schoolkids to recreate virtual historic sites! Read the article at Education Week.

You can also find a fascinating round-up of both restored and lost Boston theaters and film locations, in Cinema History. It's a great reminder of our good fortune in having the refurbished and better-than-ever Orpheum!

~ Village News ~
Events in the Village and Close By

Pease Boatyard
Pease Boatyard
E. Joan Horrocks 2015
Sunday, January 17,  2 PM - Historical Society Lecture at the Atwood House  
Chris Weidman discusses Salt Farming in Chatham Past and Present. For the past few years, Chris farmed salt in the yard of his School Street home, selling bottles of salt at a self-serve booth.

Chatham Alliance For Preservation and Conservation meetings are held and open to everyone, and usually from 3:30-5:00 pm, the first Thursday of the month, September - June (except January) at the Community Center. There is usually a speaker/lecture on a topic relevant to conservation and preservation in Chatham at each meeting. Once or twice a year the Alliance also hosts forum/panel discussions on conservation and preservation topics of broad current interest.  For more information email David MacAdam.

Our friends at Cape Cod Modern let us know the following: You can now buy signed copies of Cape Cod  Modern directly from their website at Cape Cod Modern House Trust. It makes a great holiday gift!

Plus, buying it from them contributes to the maintenance of the houses! They've also made it easier for you to  become a member online.

In Memoriam

Our dear neighbor, Mary Olmsted, has passed away after a long illness, which she fought with grace and dignity. Mary, a long time Chatham resident, was an enthusiastic member of our Old Village Association Board. Her common sense, ability with numbers and cheerful willingness to lend a hand will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathy to her husband George and her family.
I am sad to report that Sunny Pennypacker, a partner of The Red River Print Shop/Desk Top Images in Harwichport and (even more important!) designer of the Old Village Association Newsletter from 1997-2010 has passed away. From the first day I brought in pages of the newsletter to be put together and copied, until early this year when she searched through her copies of old newsletters and helped Nancy Koerner digitize them, Sunny played a huge role in the Association's ability to put out materials for our members which looked good, were easy to read, and were on time. Thank you Sunny!
Carol Pacun 
Historical Signs for Pre-1914 Houses 

Eligibility for Chatham Historic House Signs has been revised by the Historical Commission, and now houses 100 years or older are eligible for the white rectangular signs that, in three lines, summarize the early history of pre-1915 buildings, e.g.
The name of the first owner     FRANKLYN NICKERSON
The function of the building     Market 
The date                                       c. 1850
Over 670 Chatham houses are eligible for these signs, 107 are in the Old Village. The information and
application form are available on the Town web site under Historical Commission. For street designations in the Old Village visit our National Register District webpage . Questions?  E mail .
Help us conserve resources and funds! To contribute or subscribe to future e-newsletters please email Your email address will be used only for OVA communications.   

Happy Holidays!
Old Village Association Officers 2015-2016 
Officers: One-year terms

Vice President:
Winnie Lear
Debbie Aikman
Nancy Koerner
Bill Horrocks

7-11, each with

a three-year term

Term ending 2016
Debbie Aikman
Nancy Koerner
David MacAdam
Lisa Green
Term ending 2018
Winnie Lear
Carol Pacun
Bill Horrocks
Term ending 2017
Mary Ann Gray
Nancy Phelps
Jennifer Longworth
Lisa Edge
Corresponding Secretary:
Lisa Edge

Old Village Association
P.O. Box 188
Chatham, MA 02633