Original color photo postcard of the Calico Cat Gift Shoppe and Guest House, Main St and Hallett Lane, Chatham, MA - Courtesy of The Chatham Historical (MA) Society


June 2016

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From the Editor

We welcome summer with open arms - the winter, while mild in a meteorological sense, presented many challenges for us in terms of preserving our unique neighborhood dwellings; more on that in this issue. If you haven't already, please like us on our Facebook page , so you have an additional channel to follow as we post items of interest. And when you want to take a stroll through our colorful history, be sure to visit our archives for a trove of stories and characters.

Thanks go to many: Carol Pacun, ever-vigilant on our behalf, and John Whelan for returning to our beloved Village People.  Debbie Aikman has an update on the 2016 Chatham Preservation Awards. Joan Horrocks' superb images of both our architecture and natural environment grace our pages, and Don Broderick and Margaret Martin of the Chatham Historical Society have delved into their archives to furnish us with some vintage, yet recognizable building "portraits". 

Which brings me to this plea - we must all continue to do what we can to maintain our misleadingly simple looking, yet incredibly rich landscape and history.  Long established structures and even social patterns can change and disappear all too quickly, even while we could swear things look and feel the same as always. My father, who we lost this spring, told me recently, with considerable feeling, that in general, "things change. But here in Chatham, it feels the same, that's one of the nicest things about this place." I hope we can prove him right. 
President's Letter     

Dear Members of the Old Village Association,

Upon your return this summer you will be greeted by a brand new Mitchell River Bridge. Although the plans will not be entirely implemented, it will be open to vehicular and nautical  traffic by the end of June. We appreciate the town's efforts to expedite the opening for our residents as well as our many visitors.

The building of Water Street steps has begun and the stairs should be installed in a few weeks. We are thrilled that this project is going forward and are also very aware of the neighbors' concerns about increased parking and traffic. We trust that the signs will be heeded and only pedestrians will take advantage of this new addition to our neighborhood.

We thank you for your support of the OVA's opposition to  the partial demolition of the Apple Cottage and the transferring of coverage to the main house. Unfortunately your letters to the ZBA were mentioned by author and position but not read, which I feel put the OVA at a distinct disadvantage at the hearing. Input from neighbors and abutters is usually taken seriously and should play an important role in deliberations. While we did not prevail, the variance that was granted leaves 16 feet of the existing cottage  which will be used as a shed. We plan to have further conversations with the Chatham Historical Commission and the Cape Cod Commission in order to gain a better understanding of the seemingly changing guidelines of the National Historic District and will continue to try to find ways to maintain and protect the character of the Old Village.

Because the appeal is on-going between Boston and Philadelphia, the Avis Chase Cottages will unfortunately be closed this summer. An afternoon event at the Atwood House is being planned in lieu of meeting at The Porches.

The Annual Meeting is scheduled for August 29th at 5:30 at the Chatham Beach and Tennis Club. Please attend and hear John Whelan speak about the history of the iconic  Eldredge Garage.

We  all look forward to another wonderful summer and welcome back our many neighbors. As always, I  value and encourage your comments and suggestions. 
Winnie Lear, President
Bridge Street View - E. Joan Horrocks 2016
This article is the personal opinion of the author and not necessarily of the Old Village Association Board or its members.

You can find video recordings for the following hearings regarding Hallett Lane at the town's Channel 18 Streaming/Archives . Relevant meetings were: Feb. 2nd Hearing 43B; March 15th Hearing 43A and 43B; April 5th Hearing 43A, correspondence OVA email 43B; May 3rd Correspondence CCC memo, timeline details; May 17th Prepare for ZBA.

Please note Live Meetings are available same day as airing. Live Recorded Meeting Index Points can be found using the Search Feature on the Archive. - Ed.
A Very Personal View Of The ZBA Hearing On 43 Hallett Lane  
            I can't tell you, minute by minute, what happened. My memories of the OVA Board's effort to save Apple Cottage slide in and out as I recall how we were continually shoved off course by events and decisions that, even now, seem bizarre.  Who, for example, would have ever guessed that the whole crisis would start with a developer's statement to a Cape Cod Commission staff member that a 1940 cottage built by two local guys to use as a summer residence was really a shed?  And that even in the last moments of the last hearing, some people would still be sure that there was never, ever an "Apple Cottage" - just an old shed or shack. And at least one ZBA member questioned the value of small houses.  According to the Historical Commission, we in the Old Village are lucky to have a commission that encourages major demolitions so we can sell our run-down Old Village homes that only those who are criminally negligent would rent to the public?    In short, we had to adjust to unpredicted comments by a tribe of insiders whose thought process was - well, unexpected.  We worked hard.  We did our homework.  But, also, we played it straight, as if there was a process with rules. We were wrong.

            As the hearings progressed from the Historical Commission to the Zoning Board of Appeals, alarms were set off. Few seemed interested in Old Village history or statistical evidence of cottages, sheds, ancillary buildings and small houses that had been saved over the years.  The so-called "shed" (a contributing house in our district) didn't matter. No demolition delay bylaw hearing would be held.  Only one member voted to follow the accepted protocol.   He later resigned.

            Then, just as we realized the fight we had ahead, most of us had to leave town.  Planned vacations sent three members to Florida (with Winnie Lear talking on the beach by phone with developer Peter Polhemus about additions and  dealing with what appeared to be his son's joke - a request to become a member of the OVA, whose preservation goals he was about to destroy.)   We had a brief, but uncertain moment of levity.   The so-called process dragged on. I left for London, where - and I'm not sure this is relevant - Norm and I saw a very funny Restoration style comedy about "pretty, witty" Nell Gwynn, a low born street vendor turned actress who managed to work her way through a maze of corrupt officials to charm Charles II and earn a nice inheritance.   At this point, happy endings for outsiders, even those from the 17 th century, were welcome.

            Finally, the ZBA met and promptly voted against us - issuing, first a special permit, and then a variance for a 16-foot shed in place of the cottage.  Most shocking was that none of the letters from the neighbors (whom the ZBA always cites as important to the decision-making process) were read.  To me, the ZBA board sent powerful signals that it pretty much had had it with all this preservation/National Register District business and our unreasonable support of small houses and zoning bylaws.

We on the Board got an education in regulation, Chatham style. As outsiders, we simply couldn't keep up with the unanswered emails, unexplained procedures, unread letters and behind the scene deals (even with the Cape Cod Commission).  The issuance of a variance for the first developer who has ever tried to demolish a contributing house in the Old Village will have long lasting effects - none of them good.  Today, more than ever, demolishing the old brings with it big houses and big money.  I don't mind Chatham's "new architecture". I just don't want my beloved neighborhood to be treated like a commodity on the stock exchange.
Carol Pacun 
   Merry times at the Apple Cottage. Photos courtesy of Winnie Lear
Village People - An Artist In Bloom

This is the latest of an on-going series on people who live in the Old Village. This time we spotlight Maryalice Eizenberg.  
Maryalice Eizenberg is a student of art, although she never actually went to an art school. Maryalice grew up in Chicopee, Massachusetts and went to Clark University in Worcester. Looking ahead, Maryalice took art classes at the Worcester Art Museum. She married her husband, Danny, and had three children. Maryalice told me she didn't paint when the children were little. She focused on the kids, two girls and a boy, and she went back to painting when they got a little older. She and Danny purchased the house on the southeast corner of Main and Water Streets from John Ventola in 1978. Danny had done a lot of work for Mr. Ventola, so it was fitting that he and Maryalice bought what had been known for so many years as The Hawes House.
Early Harvest
24 inches x 36 inches, oil
by Maryalice Eizenberg

The Hawes House was an iconic inn/boarding house in the Old Village. It had been operated by the Howes family for decades. My memory of it in 1962 through 1965 remains vivid. In those years, I was lucky enough to be the walking summer mailman for the Old Village, and The Hawes House was always an eye-opener for me. The things I remember most after 50 years were the porch and the kitchen. The entire porch was full of chairs and every chair held an older lady and every older lady was dressed in white.   And the kitchen always had huge pots of soup or chowder boiling and was stiflingly hot. Maryalice told me that when they bought the house, the big kitchen was in the cellar and had a massive industrial stove and a dumb waiter to transport the food upstairs. How many of us have always wanted a dumbwaiter?
Danny and Maryalice initially purchased the house as an investment. At first, Danny's parents moved down from Boston and lived in the house. Danny and Maryalice had another property in Harwich.   After Danny's parents died, Maryalice's father lived with them in the house. They started remodeling The Hawes House piece by piece beginning in the rear of the house and later moving forward.   And Maryalice started taking art classes with Chatham artist, Marie Griffin, at her little gallery on Silverleaf Avenue. She later worked 10 years for Jim Holmes at his glass-blowing studio on Main Street. And all the time, paint, paint, paint.
I asked when she felt she was in the art business. The answer was very revealing. Maryalice told me a story about going to a session with a very successful young artist. The subject was the difficult relationship between artists and their galleries. The wonderkind artist asked those assembled a question. If all the galleries in the world closed, would you still paint?   The answer for nearly all was, of course, yes. He urged the artists to recognize that they were artists because they had to be. And Maryalice told me that yes was definitely her answer. She loves to paint, and, if not one of her paintings sold, she would still paint. Well, she paints and now they do sell.  
Beauty And The Beets
24 inches x 24 inches, oil by Maryalice Eizenberg

One other thing she told me was that at one point, she and Danny decided to move to Florida. They didn't like the South and lasted only a year and a half, and quickly made their way back to Chatham. Maryalice enjoys life in the Old Village and in Chatham.   She appreciates Cape Cod where there is an vibrant arts community with so many talented people. Maryalice is a plein air painter, and, in the warmer months, she can often being seen painting an arrangement of flowers in her front yard. She said that plein air painters face the challenge that the light changes in just a very few minutes.   She feels the light makes the flowers more vivid and clear. Two examples of her work accompany this article.
Maryalice is represented by the Addison Gallery in Orleans. She is an instructor at the Creative Arts Center. She is a grandmother of six girls, with both of her daughters having three apiece. Her youngest child, her son, is not yet married. A few years ago, she made the remark that she had waited her whole life to do what she is doing now. She and Danny have lived in their home and the Old Village for most of 41 years. When I spoke with her, Maryalice was most gracious and I appreciate the opportunity to get to know her a little better. She is a wonderful artist and clearly someone among us who is enjoying her work and her life. When you see her in the yard painting, say hello. You will be glad you did.               
John Whelan
Photograph of the house built by Richard Gould ca 1808 at the corner of School and Water Streets, from the book "Chatham's Admiral Charles H. Rockwell" - Courtesy of The Chatham Historical (MA) Society
2016 Chatham Preservation Awards

Hearty congratulations are extended to our neighbors who have been honored with a 2016 Preservation Award. Winners are Carolyn Wheeler, owner of the Joseph & Azubah Jones House on Holway Street; Rebecca Smith-Coggins and Dwain Coggins, owners of The Asa Nye House on Silverleaf Avenue; and Deborah and Mark Fortin, owners of The James & Sally Gould House on Main Street.

You can see the winning projects at
2016 Chatham Preservation Awards.

Debbie Aikman
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
~ Village News ~
Events in the Village and Close By

Thursday July 7 - 10am to noon 
Fifth Annual Village Kids for Food Drive!

Village Kids will be knocking on your door July 7 hoping you'll have food or a cash donation for the Chatham Family Pantry. As always, the food must carry a
current expiration date, and be a regular sized item in an unbreakable container. Especially needed are juice and cookies, cereal, chili, brownie mix, canned fruit, beans or chili. To volunteer, or for more information, contact co-chairs Nancy Koerner 508-945-1912 [email protected] or
Lisa Green 617-680-1166.
Atwood House Events and News - visit  Chatham Historical Society  for more information:  

Saturday July 9, 3 pm - 4:30 pm
, book signing for Allan Pollock's Chatham .

Saturday July 16, 5pm - 7 pm, annual summer celebration  - "An Evening to Remember" .
The initial phase of the Chatham Nautical Charts Initiative has been completed, and this new and important way to view Nautical Charts from the Museum's collection is now offered via three new website pages, including the Nautical Charts Virtual Gallery .

Photograph of the John Kelly House on the corner
of Water Street and Mill Hill Lane. Date of picture probably 1900. Courtesy of The Chatham Historical (MA) Society

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.

Monday, August 1, 4-6 pm - Old Village Association Annual Wine and Cheese Gathering at the Chatham Historical Society's Mural Barn at Atwood House.

Monday August 29, 5:30 pm, Old Village Association Annual Meeting - at the Chatham Beach and Tennis Club. John Whelan is the featured speaker and will talk about the storied Eldredge Garage. 

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 [email protected] .

Help us conserve resources and funds! To subscribe to our e-newsletters please email [email protected]. Your email address will be used only for OVA communications.   We welcome new contributors as well!

Hardings Beach - E. Joan Horrocks 2016

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