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June 2013
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From the Editor

The beautiful photograph above was taken by a flying friend.  It's fun to see a bird's eye view of our little slice of paradise, but the view is also a reminder of how precious and frankly, modest our slice is in terms of size. With this in mind, I direct you to an important letter from the Old Village Board.  Additionally, we are fortunate to get an in-depth update from David MacAdam about the Chatham Alliance. We also welcome David MacFadden, director of the Chatham Historical Society, to our Chatham community and to our newsletter. Be sure to check out some good reading in our Preservation Toolbox, and events and notes in Village News. And to truly launch summer, the Village Kids return!  We are so grateful to all of you who lend a heart and hand to our activities, and wish you a happy and safe summer. 


Jennifer Longworth 

President's Letter

Spring is trying very hard to burst forth here on Cape Cod. As always it is a slow process but the end result is truly rewarding. The return of our Old Village neighbors is much the same! Memorial Day Weekend brought many folks to Chatham. Sadly the weather wasn't nice until Monday when most of them were leaving, but we are a determined bunch and made the best of it. Now a few more houses have lights on at night. As June slowly evolves, we'll see more activity on our Village streets and many more houses will be lighted in the evenings. Of course, it all builds up to the 4th of July when we are in full swing!


As you looked ahead to Memorial Day and now anticipate July 4th you should know how the tempo here picks up. Landscapers, house painters, contractors and others are scurrying to keep the promises they made last fall! It's quite a sight to see! Living here year round gives me the opportunity to see these cycles taking place. Whether it's the seasons, the workers or the residents, the beat goes on and will soon lead us right into summer! And remember, the OVA is always looking for new members, so please reach out to your friends and neighbors to get in touch with us at directors@oldvillage.org for membership information. I'm looking forward to seeing you.


~ Nancy Koerner, President
From the Old Village Board 


Dear Old Village Association Member,


Your Board has been carefully monitoring the decisions made by the Town of Chatham's regulatory boards for several years. In the past, Chatham's regulatory boards were often reluctant to allow builders and developers to stretch the zoning by-laws of the town. That zoning by-law, while it clearly has flaws, has allowed Chatham to retain a great deal of its historic appearance. But, of late, certain decisions have been made that damage that appearance. And while each individual decision does only a little to alter the landscape, the cumulative effect is beginning to show. All of us feel the trend towards "massing and mounding" could, in time, destroy the general attractiveness of Chatham.


In examining the make-up of those boards, it appears that lately lawyers, builders and developers have encouraged individuals sympathetic to their cause to volunteer for service and our Selectmen can only appoint from the list of volunteers. The Old Village Association is fundamentally intended to help preserve our historic and authentic Old Village, but our members certainly also have concern for issues in all of Chatham. Your Board would like to encourage any and all members, who feel a balance between preservation and development is best, to apply to the Board of Selectmen to serve on a regulatory board. Only year-round residents may serve on the regulatory boards. Talent bank applications are available at the Town Office and should be submitted to the Town Manager's secretary. Your participation could restore some balance and, in the long run, help the Old Village and Chatham.

~ The Old Village Board 


The Kids are Coming, the Kids Are Coming! 

Village Kids for Food Drive Is Back!



Who:  OVA's Village Kids 

What: Food Drive to collect food for the Chatham Food Pantry 

  Door to door pick up by Village Kids in the Old Village 

When: Monday July 1, 9 am - 12 noon, rain date Tuesday, July 2

Where: Headquarters at KOERNERS', 99 School Street


The Old Village Association happily sponsors its second Village Kids for Food Drive to benefit the Chatham Food Pantry (CFP). Last year we had 30 young folks and 20 adults helping to collect 300 cans or boxes of food plus $200 in cash! The drive, headed up by OVA President Nancy Koerner welcomes volunteers ages 5 and up to help collect food from participating OVA homes. Children of OVA members, residents and friends are welcome to join the fun. On the day of the drive, participating kids can fill out one card  to enter a random drawing to win one of three $10 gift certificates for Capabilities' Farm to Table store, 195 Main Street. We'll have cool drinks and Village Kids hats. The Drive provides a great way to meet other families while helping to make life better for many local residents.   


CFP serves Chatham residents exclusively and depends heavily on donations of food and cash to carry on their fine work, and requests currently dated non-perishable food items in original non-breakable packaging. Please check that food items have not expired as the Pantry cannot accept food with expired dates. Cash or personal check donations made out to Chatham Food Pantry are also welcomed and receipts will be issued. If you'd like to leave food outside (in fair weather) for collection, please put them in a plastic bag clearly marked "CFP" and leave them by your front or side door Monday morning July 1.


Right now CFP especially welcomes: 


               cereal, cans of coffee, spaghetti or other pasta, solid white tuna,

               hamburger helper, granola bars, tomato or chicken noodle soup,

               pancake mix or syrup, canned chili, mac and cheese, white rice,

               Crystal Light Lemonade, salad dressing in plastic bottles,

               canned vegetables - beans, peas, beets, corn, baked beans 

               canned fruit - peaches, pineapple, pears, fruit cocktail    


To make this event a success we need VOLUNTEERS:


     Runners - kids aged 5 and up to pick up items, deliver and unpack at the Koerners' 

     Team leaders - kids aged 12+ to issue receipts, coordinate, pick up, deliver, unpack

     Adults - provide supervision and safety; help runners and team leaders

     Bring wagons, tote bags, beach carts, wheelbarrows or similar items to transport pickups.


Register at directors@oldvillage.org or call Nancy Koerner 508-945-1912 with:


volunteer names, kids' ages, phone number, Old Village address and email so we can update you.


Dunbar's Yachting Legacy Graces the Atwood House and Mill Pon d

The following is excerpted from The Atwood Log Spring Issue's "Wood, Wind & Water" by David McFadden, Director of the Chatham Historical Society, and reprinted, along with photographs, with their kind permission.  We encourage you to visit the Atwood House to see the exhibit  devoted to F. Spaulding Dunbar, opening June 15,  chathamhistoricalsociety.org - Ed. 

The story of sailing in Chatham in the first two decades of the twentieth century is a subject of ongoing investigation. Photographs in the collection of the Chatham Historical Society document a continuing interest in yachting, especially among those who spent their summers here. Many who came to the summer camps that began to appear around Pleasant Bay during this period were introduced to sailing. Less is known about the various clubs that had sprung up in the 1880s and 90s. Local newspapers like the Barnstable Patriot reported on club activities such as the relocation of the Cape Cod Yacht Club from Orleans to Provincetown in 1897 and regattas in the early 1900s. But activities then seem to slow and when the name Chatham Yacht Club appears in 1921 it is associated with an entirely new organization from that formed in the 1890s. This one grew out of the Regatta Committee of the Chatham Country Club, forerunner of Eastward Ho! In the years that followed, the Stage Harbor Yacht Club was organized in 1932 and the Monomoy Yacht Club in 1937.


The organization of the Chatham Yacht Club and Stage Harbor Yacht Club mark the beginning of a new chapter in the story of yacht racing here. The clubs each identified a "one-design," a boat type that could be built in numbers following clearly defined specifications for all aspects of their design, dimensions, construction, and materials. With all competitors using boats of standardized design, regatta results would better reflect the skill of those sailing them. Chatham's clubs selected boats suited for challenging conditions here and for teaching young people how to sail, and built fleets of these for use by their members. At the Chatham Yacht Club the first fleet was comprised of 19 Baybirds. A year after it was organized Stage Harbor experimented briefly with the Corsair before settling on the Catabout. The 1930s also saw the clubs begin to develop a more structured approach toward teaching as evidenced by Stage Harbor's hiring its first instructor in 1937. Not surprisingly, club activities diminished during the war years. In the late 1940s, however, there was renewed enthusiasm for the programs and both clubs settled on a new design, the Whistler.


Sailing in Stage Harbor, circa 1950

The Corsair, Catabout, and Whistler all came from the hand of a single designer, F. Spaulding Dunbar. Dunbar grew up in Mansfield, Massachusetts and spent his summers in Chatham. After training in the Naval Architecture program at MIT, a period of work at sea, and a brief stint with the designer Gordon Monroe, he settled here in 1932 and established not only a practice as a boat designer but a boat yard, first on Bridge Street and later on Chatham's Mill Pond. He was also a moving force in the early years of the Stage Harbor Yacht Club.



Over the next four decades Dunbar designed a remarkable series of boats. All were wooden. In addition to his one-designs he created a number of larger boats, primarily ketches, for individual clients. During the Second World War he also contributed to efforts to design PT boats, work which led to the development of Bristol runabouts. All of Dunbar's designs, from his 10 foot plywood skiff to his largest private commissions, are notable for their elegance and grace. His cruising designs were also valued for the handsome yet functional quarters he provided for his clients. For those whose knowledge of boat design extends beyond the aesthetic the name Dunbar also calls to mind his technological sophistication. He was an innovator in developing boats of very shallow draft, that is, boats that were capable of navigating in shallow waters like those around Chatham, yet fully seaworthy in demanding conditions. Ocean Pearl, the ketch Dunbar created for E. Seward Johnson, is the design in which the multiple facets of his genius come together most clearly. The 62 foot boat was built almost entirely of teak and had fully equipped quarters below deck. It was built with two centerboards, and with them up Ocean Pearl draws only 5 feet 6 inches of water.


Ocean Pearl moored in Mill Pond

A year ago when Ocean Pearl returned to Chatham's Mill Pond news spread fast and many found their way down Eliphamet's Lane to admire her from Pease Boat Works & Marine Railway, which now occupies what had been Dunbar's own yard. Some recognized who she was and knew her story, others simply responded to her beauty. For the Atwood House Museum the presence of one of Spaulding Dunbar's crowning achievements set us thinking about how important sailing and the beautiful boats that call Chatham home are to our identity as a town. With Wood, Wind & Water: The Genius of Chatham's F. Spaulding Dunbar, our summer exhibition which opens on June 15th, we will celebrate this, keeping in mind and perhaps sharing with our visitors a playful warning in that 1892 Hotel Chatham booklet, "One must be resolute indeed if in Chatham he does not soon become a sailor, for an object lesson in sailing is ever before him from the moment of his arrival." 

~ Dennis McFadden  




Chatham Alliance for Preservation & Conservation - The Year's Highlights


The past year at the Chatham Alliance was varied and informative. I will try to provide some substance on a few topics I feel are particularly important. Our three fall meetings featured the following speakers: Chatham's new Town Manager Jill Goldsmith, the new Director of Community Development Deanna Ruffer, and the new Planning Board Chair Peter Cocolis.


Goldsmith reviewed her first year on the job and shared some ideas and plans for the future. She described organizational changes, in particular within the newly reorganized Planning Office. She cited Ruffer's broad background including economic development, conservation and planning. Ruffer's focus will be on planning and zoning issues. Goldsmith is confident that Ruffer will be a hands-on, customer service oriented director. One goal is for Ruffer and her staff to do much of the legwork for the Planning Board so the Board can focus on making decisions. There was also discussion of the new Economic Development Committee Goldsmith has formed, and in particular how its agenda will dovetail with issues of conservation and preservation. This new committee had not met yet, so it was a little early to tell how it will take shape.


Deanna Ruffer presented herself as a conscientious, experienced and fair professional with wide experience, who is honored to lead the newly organized Planning Department. She sees herself as a facilitator who can help communities achieve their goals. She endeavors to seek input from as broad a spectrum of community voices as possible and then relay this to the decisionmakers on relevant boards and commissions, to ensure they are informed and engaged in the planning process. In the near term Ruffer will also work with the Planning Board to prioritize tasks.


The fall series of meetings concluded with a presentation from the new Planning Board Chair, Peter Cocolis. He shared his hopes and aspirations for the position. A relative newcomer to Chatham, Cocolis brings considerable planning experience from years of service in Virginia communities possessing significant historical assets. He spoke highly of the talent that he sees on Chatham's Planning Board. It was noted that the Planning Board does not include a preservationist among its members. Cocolis indicated he intends to take on that role in light of his preservation background. He emphasized that preservation does not exist in a vacuum, but needs to be balanced with growth related objectives in the Comprehensive Plan. With these three in lead, there is the possibility of some exciting new opportunities in Chatham.  


Winter meetings began with a presentation of competing plans for the Ryder's Cove waterfront. The Friends of Marconi Park proposed that the upland portion of the Ryder's Cove waterfront -Marconi Wireless Station triangle could be made into Chatham's only upland coastal walking park. The other plan, offered by the Town's Waterways Advisory Committee, proposed expanded parking on the upland to accommodate the vehicles and boat trailers of seasonal bass fishermen out of Ryder's Cove.


In early spring Kristin Andres, Chatham's Conservation Agent, came before the Alliance with the power point presentation "Issues Facing Chatham - A Conservation Perspective."  She discussed water quality, the proper use of fertilizer, sustainable landscapes, and invasive species and the problems they create. Andres illustrated the surprising diversity of life on Chatham's conservation lands, and concluded with a plea to respect and protect these hidden treasures. At the same meeting, Carole Ridley, Coordinator of the Pleasant Bay Alliance (PBA), explained their new five year plan for Pleasant Bay.  The PBA was established in 1987, including member representatives from Orleans, Chatham, Harwich and Brewster, with a goal of preserving and conserving Pleasant Bay as a shared natural resource for the four abutting towns.  A plan update has been approved every five years by each of these towns, Their current project is to help implement, in concert with the State, the return of the natural tidal flow under Rte 28 between Muddy Creek and Pleasant Bay, to what it was a century ago before the inlet was filled in for the highway.  The plan proposes to designate the area  as a Critical Marine Habitat.  a 110 foot span bridge, to replace the existing small culvert has been designed, and now needs Mass DOT approval.  


The Alliance's year concluded by hosting an "Ask the Candidates" forum in which the three selectmen candidates (one in absentia) were given the opportunity to showcase their positions on preservation and conservation. A question was raised from the floor asking how they would balance homeowners' rights to do whatever they choose to their property with their neighbors' right to retain neighborhood integrity in so far as that contributes to the value of their property. Of course no answer to this impossible question was given, but the ensuing discussion revealed volumes about the candidates' positions on matters of conservation and preservation.


Although the Alliance has yet to come to grips with how it will meet the action portion of its mission, it had an interesting and informative year. Once again the Alliance demonstrated its value as a forum within which local citizen non-profit groups can share information, problems and solutions.


~ David MacAdam 


Natl Trust blog logo
Preservation Toolbox

The National Trust's online Ten on Tuesday series contains many useful blog posts, including  Restoring vs. Rehabilitating Your House, contributed by Julia Rocchi, Managing Editor/Associate Director for the National Trust's Digital and New Media. Also see Emily Potter's Checklist for Buying a Historic Home.

For further reading on what's current in the minds of fellow preservationists, have a look at http://blog.preservationnation.org/.

~ Village News

 Events in the Village and Close By   


July 1- Village Kids for Food Drive, 9 am - 12 noon, rain date Tuesday, July 2.

Headquarters at Koerners', 99 School St.   See above for details.  

July 19 - The Chatham Conservation Foundation - will sponsor a kayak trip to Strong Island on Friday, July 19th. The trip will be led by well-known kayak instructor, Dick Hilmer, an American Canoe Association certified instructor and owner of Explore Cape Cod Tours, Inc. The trip will start from Jackknife Harbor where there is adequate parking. The meeting time is 8:30 AM beginning with a short instructional session, and push off at 9:00 AM. The plan is to paddle to Strong Island where the Foundation will provide guides for a tour of the island. Participants are encouraged to bring water and a small snack such as fruit or a granola bar. Life preservers must be worn by all participants. People with canoes are also invited. There is no charge for this trip, but registration with the Foundation is required. The telephone number for information and registration is 1-508-945-1980. This trip is a wonderful opportunity to visit Strong Island, one of Chatham's most beautiful places.     


The Porches

August 1- Iced tea at The Porches. 1-3pm, a convivial get-together. Bring your own chair if you wish.    


August 25- Annual Meeting at the Chatham Beach and Tennis Club.  The Chatham Historical Society's new director, Dennis McFadden will be our entertaining speaker!                                                                                                    



Chatham Alliance meetings are open to everyone, and usually held 3:30 to 5:00 pm at the

Eldredge Public Library , the first Thursday of the month, September through June (except January). 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.


The Old Village News has been honored with a 2012 Constant Contact All-Star Award! Constant Contact has recognized us as a "'power user", great at building relationships, and outstanding among more than 500,000 small businesses and organizations. All Stars are chosen by Constant Contact, and there is no application process. We thank all our loyal readers for reading, forwarding and subscribing to the Old Village News!  



Remembering Russell Bearse    


Do you remember Russell Bearse, or Russell A. as he was often called? He lived on Silverleaf Avenue (probably) from his birth in 1879 till his death in 1953. He was a true Cape Codder - he did for himself, didn't waste anything, only spent money on things he needed, fished and hunted for eating, and grew what he could in his garden. He dug quahogs and put them into empty milk bottles when he had extras to share. He and his dog
Bearse's geese enjoy the breezes
Spud delivered eggs to the neighbors. Spud carried one egg in his mouth as a way of learning how to treat wildfowl gently when working with Russell on hunting expeditions. A sister-in-law of his, Lonnie Willis, donated a number of family items to the Atwood House before she died. One of the items donated to the Atwood House is a Register containing signatures of folks who visited his Inward Point Shack. Since Lonnie's death last November, a pair of geese decoys that belonged to Russell have also been donated. If you have memories of Russell, please share them with Nancy Koerner at nbkoerner@yahoo.com as she is gathering stories about him.                      

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Happy Summer! 

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