Monomoy Trail ©ejhorrocks 2017

December 2017   

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As Winnie notes, it's been a somewhat calmer year here in the Village.  We joyfully welcomed new neighbors at First Light Boatworks and old friends in the Porches community, as well as new families to our wonderful neighborhood.

Special thanks go to our regular  contributors Debbie Aikman, Joan Horrocks, Nancy Koerner, David MacAdam, and John Whelan. All their work behind the scenes, and year-round, make this newsletter come together so splendidly. 
Wishing you the joys of the season,

Dear Members,  
As you know, this has been a quiet year for our board. The Water Street steps are built, the Chase Cottages are back serving deserving women of Philadelphia, and the town's purchase of the Eldredge garage is imminent. Therefore,  I want to take this opportunity to briefly explain the terms "The Village", "The Old Village" and the "National Register Historic District".
During the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries, the neighborhood from Chatham Harbor to the east, and both Mill Pond and Little Mill Pond to the west was known as " The Village". This area includes Mill Pond Road and Homestead Lane and ended at the beginning of Bridge Street. Like other Chatham neighborhoods, exact borders are undefined.
The Old Village Association was formed in 1997 by concerned residents, to preserve and protect the historic nature and architectural integrity of the Village. At this time, " The Village" came to be known as the "Old Village".
In 2002, part of the Old Village was placed in a National Register Historic District. This area includes buildings east of 359 Main Street to Bridge Street. Houses in this district were built prior to 1940 and were deemed contributing, and therefore, with the approval of owners, became subject to review from the Chatham Historical Commission  and potentially the Cape Cod Commission. The area of the Old Village is not defined by the National Historic Register District but rather geographically includes the District.
The Old Village Association' s membership is open to all people who live in the area once known as the "The Village" as well as others interested in supporting our goals of preservation and protection of our historic neighborhood.
I wish you all a wonderful New Year and encourage you to communicate with me about any concerns or questions you may have.
Winnie Lear, President
For those of you who missed this year's Annual Meeting, Larry Sampson, Chair of the Water and Sewer Advisory Committee, gave a fascinating and sobering talk about the current state of our water supply. We are grateful to Larry for sharing the following summary. If you have questions, please email DPW Director Tom Temple
The Chatham Water and Sewer Advisory Committee is comprised of the following members: Debbie Aikman, Chuck Bartlett, George Cooper , Michael Skelley, and Larry Sampson. Staff Participants are: Dr. Robert Duncanson, Tom Temple, Pam Jones, and Val Peter.  
Current Assessment:

Good water pumping capacity = 3.7 million gallons/day maximum. Nearly 2 million gallons/day of this capacity may be threatened by the shallow nature of these wells (drilled prior to 1970) during drought.
Wells 6 + 7 capacity = 2.0 million gallons/day maximum (post treatment)
High manganese and iron concentrations required installation of an 11 million dollar facility to remove these minerals, which tend to be present in deeper wells on Cape Cod.
Peak 2015 water consumption = 4.2 million gallons/day
Peak 2016 water consumption = 3.9 million gallons/day
Peak 2017 water consumption = 3.7 million gallons/day
Current capacity = 4.7 million gallons/day (5.7 million after treatment installation)
Maximum capacity exceeds maximum consumption by ~ 10%
Chatham experienced an abnormal growth in peak consumption during fiscal 2014-2015 of 15%. Many efforts have been made to curb consumption during the peak summer season which have yielded some minor success. DPW Director, Tom Temple, has attributed the majority of that recent success to a fairly wet summer of 2017. Even this meager downturn in consumption should not be taken for granted and clearly much greater public response is needed to avoid a return to past bad habits.
The Water and Sewer Advisory Committee has considered many options for long-term stability in use and more importantly to avoid additional large-scale capital expenditures. The cheapest alternative is clearly conservation, so in May of 2017 Town Selectmen were asked to consider regulations to restrict use of town water for irrigating lawns and filling swimming pools. While all of the requested changes were not adopted, sufficient restraints were enacted to better enforce existing and future abusive water consumption. If consumption cannot be frozen at 2015 levels and continues to grow by only 10% per year (or even 5%) we are looking at possible water pressure issues in peak season in only a few short years.  
Reduction in water pressure may affect the thousands of Chatham residents who have unregistered/un-inspected underground irrigation systems. A lack of water pressure may cause water under these lawns to siphon back to the public water supply creating a potential health hazard for all of Chatham's town water users. It's critical to maintain some reasonable buffer capacity in the event of a well failure or a fire. We must move forward to develop additional well and storage capacity regardless of any short term success in Conservation attempts. Increases in water rates are necessary to fund this expansion, therefore a consultant has been engaged to address financial implications. Clearly a disproportionate expense to fund this expansion should be borne by those consuming the most water. Chatham has applied to the State for an additional 70 million gallons of annual withdrawal, which represents an 18% increase in annual consumption to 600 million gallons annually.  
It's my sincere hope that the Old Village Association will help to increase awareness of these issues among its members and the Town at large.  
Larry Sampson  
Like A Mercury Sea ©ejhorrocks 2017

For irrigation systems:
  • Registration with the Town (even if on well water, the Town should know)
  • System must have a backflow device to prevent cross contamination
  • Limited watering by installing timing and rain sensor devices
For pools:
  • Registration with the Town
  • Initial fill with trucked in water
Please note: an increase in water rates is currently under consideration by the Selectmen, acting as Water and Sewer Commissioners. This is the first time since 2005 that water rates are being reviewed.  

                                                                                                                                              Debbie Aikman

Excerpts from a Report in 1950 from the Chatham Information Booth; from Marty Fairbanks' wonderful collection of documents.
"I hereby submit my report.... The total number of visitors to the booth during June, July and August 2 was 19,837. [According to the Chatham Chamber of Commerce this year (2017) the total number of visitors is 19,397!  The Chamber attributes this to a combination of people using both technology to look up local information and the local guidebooks left for seasonal tenants in rental properties.]

The most unusual requests were for a kennel selling miniature French Poodles and for diaper service.
"Some questions posed by visitors:
Where can we bathe after we come from swimming in the salt water?
Do you have branch stores of Jordan Marsh and Filene's here in Chatham?
Can you give me a list of hotels in Boothbay, Maine as I want to mail a letter to a friend and I can't remember the name of the hotel.
May I borrow a pair of scissors?
May I borrow a pencil for the rest of the day?
Do you have any matches?
What is the tax rate in Chatham?
Where is the Algonquin Club in Chatham? We are meeting friends there for dinner.
Where can I find a darkroom to open my camera as the film is twisted?
What are the restrictions in town if I start a poultry farm?

The Information Center site 1949
The Center in 1959 ...
and today
i mages courtesy Nancy Koerner
Very few asked for rooms in Tourists' Houses this year. The greatest demand was for cottages or cabins on the beach - for one night only."
Nancy Koerner  
2017 has been a busy and productive year for the Chatham Alliance for Preservation and Conservation. Early in the new year the forum planning group settled on beach erosion as the subject of its spring forum, and moved the date to late June to make it possible for more seasonal residents to attend. During the winter and early spring we had speakers at our regular meetings who helped set the stage for the June forum.
In May the Alliance held what has become quite popular amongst the voters of Chatham - its annual Selectmen Candidates' Forum on topics of conservation and preservation. This year it was attended by over 100 active voters. The two candidates this year were incumbent Seth Taylor and his challenger Shareen Davis. Both showed themselves to be articulate and on top of the issues. In the end long-time resident Davis won out over Taylor.
The 2017 Alliance Forum's, Living and Working With Chatham's Changing Shoreline; Dynamics and Challenges For the Future was attended by over 200 interested residents. For many years, Chatham was comfortably protected by the outer beach. In 1987 this protective barrier began to be broken through, with nearly a half dozen distinct breaks now, and more likely in the near future. Natural replenishment is hampered by a rising sea level and existing breaks that capture needed beach nourishment as it is carried down from the north by ocean currents. To compensate for this loss more dredging and re-nourishment by artificial means are required - a difficult and expensive process of uncertain sustainability. Without an effective barrier beach Chatham is at serious risk. Not only would shore front properties be threatened, but our fishing industry and tourism could be endangered. Much of the latter portion of the forum was given over to an educational and entertaining description of the challenges faced by present day boaters and commercial fishermen plying the waters around Chatham; challenges likely to grow with time.
7 am, December 2nd ©ejhorrocks 2017

After a summer hiatus, the Alliance held a reception at the Atwood House for the presidents of the Alliance's 14 local non-profit member organizations. The many stresses on Chatham's quality of life as a popular tourist destination were voiced informally in small group conversations. At the November meeting it was decided to focus our very limited resources on our two successful annual forum series. Alliance member organization representatives did some brainstorming regarding a Spring 2018 Forum topic. A large number of the dozen or so suggested topics concern growth, density, and congestion in Chatham. These are the issues driving our challenges in conservation and preservation. While our forums on ground water (2016) and erosion (2017) were important and timely, the problems they addressed are ancillary. What many citizens talk about on a daily basis are growth, density and congestion - all major challenges to quality of life in town.

The question is not to stop growth, density and congestion (an impossible task anyhow), but how to redirect it to benefit all citizens, not just a few. Powerful forces in Chatham are working diligently to bring yet more people into town - both day-trippers and residents - without assessing the costs and benefits for all the Town's citizens. Chatham's primary selling points are rapidly being exhausted by increases in growth, density, and congestion. The current model promoting these, without regard to a corresponding degradation of quality of life, is unsustainable and self-defeating over the long run. But no one wants to talk about where we citizens of Chatham are going with it, or whether we even want to go there. Such talk runs counter to the comfortable illusion of Chatham as a carefree, timeless fantasy land where constraints and worries are all left behind when the line is crossed into town. Be sure to attend The Alliance's spring 2018 Forum next June.  
David MacAdam
OVA Representative to The Chatham Alliance
for Conservation and Preservation
For many years, residents of the Old Village remained in the same house for many years, and in some cases, many decades. The residents all knew each other well. Chatham was a quiet town 9 months a year. The old story that, on the day after Labor Day, you could stroll down the middle of Main Street without much risk, is not really true. But it was certainly true that the summer people left en masse on Labor Day. And the year-round people returned to normalcy.

Neighbors got reacquainted and everyone had hopes of a good scallop season. In those days, scallop season started on October 1st, and preparations began in earnest as soon as possible. Boats were readied and scallop dredges were checked. New lines were installed when needed. Lots of businesses closed to allow the people of town to earn a significant amount of needed income. Chatham often had about two weeks of decent scalloping and the sweet little bay scallops were an epicurean delight.
Stage Harbor ©ejhorrocks 2017
In the 60's, I was a summer employee at the Chatham Post Office for three years during college.   It was a terrific job. Eugene Love, the usual carrier for the Old Village, had a slight disability, and I was chosen to walk the route from the Epicure to the Lighthouse. I knew a great number of the residents before I started and the rest I soon met. I planned my route so that I could go to the beach for an extended lunch on Holway Street.   Some days there was even enough time to go out in the Sunfish. The names of the residents were distinctive and memorable. I've taken some liberties as to the boundaries of the Old Village. Everyone has a different opinion on the subject of boundaries and I would not pretend to have the correct answer.
My quiz is simple. Just fill in the last names of these Old Village and near Old Village residents. The first successful respondent will receive a prize from the OVA Board. Please email me your completed quiz. Have fun!
1. Ernie and Regina

16. Carlton and Dorothy

2. Harold and Harriett

17. Freeman and Lucille

3. Alton and Mary

18. Len and Ellen

4.Clement and Madeline

19.George and Elizabeth

5. Hunter and Aline

20. Pete and Ronnie

6. Spaulding and Doris

21. Tom and Phyllis

7. Richie and Mary

22. Victor and Connie

8. Stewie and Mary

23. Ned and Dorothy

9. Sherm and Priscilla

24. Phil and Fran

10. Charlie and Freddie

25. Chet and Mary

11. Sonny and Ann

26. Spencer and Peg

12. Lester and Anne

27. Roger and Hazel

13. Ralph and Bea

28. Don and Effie

14. Mert and Norma

29. Edna and Grace

15. Dan and Anna

30. Stewart and Grace

John Whelan

A man of many talents, Louis (Louie) Knight has painstakingly worked for more than three months to repair and restore the beautiful curving fence at the entrance to Watch Hill Way. He has replaced rotting wood with Azek where it was needed and it is impossible to tell the difference.

Matt Cannon, the Conservation Foundation's executive director, said that when he passed down Main Street Louie was always at work. Some motorists stopped to photograph his efforts as they drove past, a few feet from his kneeling form.

Louie did not want to pose for a portrait because, he said,"It was nothing," though he did say his wife Helen would have divorced him if he had been working any longer on the repairs! He also said that he had wanted to save this beautiful fence so that it would not be replaced by a lesser one.
                                                                                                                                        Joan Horrocks
Old Village Association Officers 2017-2018   
Officers: One-year terms

Vice President:
Winnie Lear
Debbie Aikman
Nancy Koerner
Bill Horrocks

7-11, each with

a three-year term

Term ending 2018
Winnie Lear
Carol Pacun
Bill Horrocks
Term ending 2020
Lisa Edge
Nancy Phelps
Jennifer Longworth
George Olmsted
Term ending 2019
Debbie Aikman
Nancy Koerner
David MacAdam
Lisa Green
Corresponding Secretary:
Assistant Treasurer:
Lisa Edge
Nancy Phelps
~ Village News ~
From Our Friends at CapeAbilities Farm To Table Market & Gallery

Thanks to your collective generosity, the requested donation total was far exceeded!  Manager Ellen Zeyen said they were "overwhelmed", and that the funds will "revolutionize the working conditions for all of us in the shop." Ellen writes the following:
Cape Abilities would like to thank the Chatham Old Village Association and its incredibly caring and generous members for the $6,500 in donations we received for improvements at our Farm to Table Market and Gallery.  We look forward to seeing you all in May to show you firsthand how your commitment to Cape Abilities and the individuals we serve truly make a difference in the lives of so many.  
Happy Holidays from Cape Abilities!

Sharing good news about the ACWA victory at the annual wine and cheese gathering at the Porches
Enjoying great craftsmanship and lobsters at the First Light Boatworks' open house

Atwood House Holiday Events - December 20th, celebrate winter with Scott Hamilton,
local actor extraordinaire,  as he reads holiday selections written by Chatham's national best-selling early 20th century author, Joseph C. Lincoln.  
Lincoln's stories used local characters and lore of friends and neighbors to entertain readers around the country for 40 years. Refreshments will include wine and hors d'oeuvres and the Gift Shop will be open.
For reservation information and more details, visit the Atwood House.

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. The Alliance also hosts forum/panel discussions on conservation and preservation topics of broad current interest.  For more information email David MacAdam.

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.

Name of first owner
Function of building
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?  Email
Get better connected! Help us conserve resources and funds by subscribing to our e-newsletters - please email Your email address will be used only for OVA communications. We welcome new contributors as well!
Marsh Cornucopia ©ejhorrocks 2017

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