Ducks In A Row © EJ Horrocks 2017
J ULY 2017   

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We're proud to announce that the Old Village Newsletter has been named a 2016 All Star Award winner by Constant Contact, marketing advisor to hundreds of thousands of small organizations worldwide. This annual award recognizes the most successful 10 percent of Constant Contact's customer base. Criteria include -

the level of engagement with email campaigns
open and click-through rates
use of social sharing features 

We owe this award to you, and the enthusiastic response you offer with every letter we publish. Constant Contact's tools helps us create polls, support community activities, monitor support and opinion, announce hearings and meetings, honor our history, and share our interests,  concerns and victories.  Ultimately, we are sharing preservation goals and creating closer connections for our community.

Now that I've tooted our collective horn, I have a request:  if you already subscribe to our e-newsletter, but know someone who is still getting the snail mail version, please share your digital copy with them and show them what they are missing! If you're a hard copy subscriber please make the leap to the e-version - you'll be gratified by the difference. Despite our best efforts, the online experience is far richer than the paper copy.  You'll be kept up to date, with the opportunity to explore links and information, and savor gorgeous color photography. Email me below to switch!

Special thanks to Debbie Aikman, Joan Horrocks, Nancy Koerner, David MacAdam,  John Whelan, and Carol Pacun, our stalwart, thoughtful, talented and creative contributors. We are also grateful for the help of the diligent archivists at the Chatham Historical Society.

Thanks again for helping us build a stronger Association.


Dear Neighbors,

After a cold, wet, and rather gloomy spring, we welcome sunny days and cool breezes. The Village is once again bustling with returning residents, curious pedestrians, many babies, and many dogs.  
We have been pleasantly surprised by two major and positive developments. The Eldredge Garage property has undergone a transformation. The barn and compressor building have been razed. The gas station remains and awaits restoration. The sale to the town will most likely take place this fall and plans for the property will begin to develop. We feel strongly that public input will be important in this process and a thoughtful and practical design will result.

The other good news is the reopening of the Chase Cottages. There are already guests walking through the neighborhood enjoying our beautiful  village.  We congratulate the board of the Avis Chase Women's Association of Philadelphia for the successful appeal and wish them a stellar 2017 season.

I look forward  to seeing you at the Porches event August 3rd as well as the annual meeting August 28th. I send my best wishes to you and your families for a glorious summer.
Winnie Lear, President

Sky Over Porches © EJ Horrocks 2017

Property owners who have installed irrigation systems are required to register them with the Town of Chatham. New regulations which were recently adopted by the Board of Selectmen, acting as Water and Sewer Commissioners, include additional language allowing for fines for non-registration of systems that are connected to the municipal water supply. The reason for registering is that annual safety inspections are necessary to make sure that a system has a proper backflow device in order to prevent possible contamination of household potable water. It will also help Town staff in ongoing documentation of the reasons for high seasonal water use. The existing infrastructure is being severely strained in order to keep up with demand for water during July and August. If the situation gets any worse, a total ban on irrigation may need to be considered.
Registration of pre-existing or new systems is the first step in finding ways to deal with Chatham's water infrastructure issues. It's hoped that all who have yet to do so will comply with this requirement as soon as possible. You can find new regulations by clicking on this Irrigation Application document, which includes the form on page 3 that needs to be submitted in order to register.

Additionally, judicious watering of lawns this summer is critically important. To quote my bumper sticker:

Debbie Aikman 

Spring 2017:   Forget the usual Chatham concerns --the crowds, lack of parking, congestion, bans on irrigation and the cost of sewers. On April Fool's Day, our attention turned to the coastline as the ocean cut through South Beach to form what appears to be a permanent inlet linking up with "the bathtub" to the west, thereby creating a new South Beach Island.   Since I had walked past the Outermost Shack about a half-mile down the beach in late March and noticed that the dunes in that area had seemingly flattened out, I suppose I was not shocked at the news. But seeing is believing. When, bundled up on a cold, windy afternoon in April, I finally experienced the new cut, it shocked me because it looked so permanent - as if it had always been there. Surrounded by stretches of sand, sky and water, I felt reduced to an insignificant observer of one of our planet's many changes, which had been going on for some twelve billion years with seemingly little concern for resident species. Whatever I thought or did at that moment paled as the earth careened around the sun and the ocean moved with the tides.

Finally, frozen to the core, I traced my footsteps back to the lighthouse, but once there, I continued walking near the water, to Andrew Hardings Lane, which once had been the victim of the 1987 cut. Now, the sand was plentiful, with small dunes and beach grass. Brand new stairs from Holway Street led down to the beach and a line of houses, safely above, sat quietly, ready-I suppose-for another summer. It was almost as if the 1987 tragedy had never occurred. But, when I reached the warmth of our living room, I wanted to remember those days, for they were just as real as the new cut, and still spoke to Chatham's ever changing shore line. This is what I wrote back then:

1987: We did not know that last summer was to be the last. Yet, there were signs, as the waves rushed through the break and slapped at the shore with ever increasing force. All of us removed our boats to safe harbors...Parents left their books and conversations to patrol the shore, anxiously watching their children in the surf. One of the last days of August, groups of us were huddled at the parking lot as the water crept up almost to the pavement.  
1989: Now, where the lane ends, there is nothing but a fence with a "no trespassing" sign looming up at the side. The parking lot is gone; the beach itself, a moonscape carved out by the sea, is barely accessible at high tide. ..We from the neighborhood wander down to stand at the end of the road. What we see is a disappearing past. Books will be written about houses lost, dunes eliminated and hundreds of feet of beach gone. But to many of us, the sea took away something else - a way of life. We continue to mourn our loss.
From A Requiem for a Town Landing, Carol Pacun, Cape Cod Chronicle
The New Break at Low Tide © EJ Horrocks 2017
Of course, what the sea took away, eventually returned - thanks both to sand which was pumped in by the town, and the natural rebuilding of North Beach which gave some protection to our neighborhood beach. Except for dangerous tides and a lack of tidal pools (a favorite of young children), today's scene on a summer day is not unlike what it was before the cut. However, the story is not over. We would be foolish to ignore the changes that are always occurring on our coast and the devastation they can cause. Even the beautiful, seemingly harmless new breakthrough may require us to adapt to new circumstances.

Scientists make predictions about rising tides and a warming planet. But we cannot really know what the future holds. Back in the '80s, as the sand returned, the Old Village Association contributed one half of the money needed to buy a piece of beach (which once held a house) from a private owner. We insisted that the beach in its entirety to be open to the public free of charge -in perpetuity. Looking at the new changes in our shoreline, none of us can be sure what "perpetuity" really means. For now, perhaps our best strategy is to accept the power of the natural world and try hard to make reasonable decisions which will not hasten the destruction of our much loved fragile space.
Carol Pacun  
The Pleasant Bay Alliance is a municipal organization formed by the Towns of Orleans, Chatham, Harwich and Brewster to coordinate the resource management plan for Pleasant Bay.   In its mission statement, the Alliance states that its projects, programs and studies promote healthy natural resources and safe public access throughout Pleasant Bay.
The management plan was developed in 1998 and is a fluid plan - they adapt it as Pleasant Bay changes. The Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown had prepared a series of reports for the Alliance. The most recent was an "Analysis of Tidal Data From Meetinghouse Pond, Chatham Fish Pier and Boston: January 2012-June 2015". It was published in November of 2015. The authors are Dr. Graham S. Giese and Cristina G. Kennedy. Dr. Giese is one of America's most prominent coastal geologists and has studied our waterfront for more than 50 years. He also has served as a consultant to the Town of Chatham for decades.
We in the Old Village are not very interested in the Boston or Orleans data, but since so many Old Village residents have waterfront homes and are directly impacted by the data from Chatham, I will focus on the local findings. The tide station was located at the Fish Pier. As stated in the report, most of the data was obtained from a NOAA microprocessor-based acoustic tide recorder. The results are somewhat surprising. The tidal range was at a maximum level in June of 2013 and has shown a gradual decrease since then.   The mean low water data has shown a steady trend of increasing elevation throughout the entire period of study.
Ripples - Morris Island © EJ Horrocks 2017

To put the findings in terms easier to understand, the tidal range at the Chatham Fish Pier has been decreasing at an average rate of 3 inches a year. One possible reason is the narrowing of the inlet opposite the Chatham Lighthouse. The report raises some concern about the future of that inlet as a secure navigational channel. The process of southward movement of the entire sand structure continues. The southern end of Nauset Beach at the north inlet continues to add sand. The northern end of North Beach Island continues to lose sand. The rate of this change depends on a number of factors including the direction of winter storms.   At the same time, sand is accruing at the southern end of North Beach Island. In other words, North Beach Island is migrating slowly to the south. The southern inlet also will be migrating to the south.    
One change not studied in this report is the new break in South Beach between Pleasant Bay and Nantucket Sound which occurred on April 3, 2017. The Center for Coastal Studies has visited the site regularly and will be reporting to the Alliance sometime soon. I think our Old Village waterfront residents will want to stay tuned.

John Whelan
This past spring saw the demolition of all the buildings of the 100 year old Eldredge Garage complex save the gas station building. There was a time 50 or more years ago when this business thrived, serving the year-round residents and summer visitors of the Old Village and much of Chatham. But in those days Eldredge's (as it was then known) wasn't just a business, it served also as a central meeting place for much of Chatham. When the locals came in, maybe to make a purchase or maybe not, they would stay long enough to spread the news and gossip of the moment, and sometimes stay longer to spin yarns of the previous century. No one ever seemed in a hurry to leave.
During my college years, I worked summers at Eldredge's, for then proprietors Madeline "Mad" and Clement "Clem" Eldredge. The business consisted of gasoline sales, taxi (both local and long distance) and limousine service, tires and repairs (the last remaining set of Model A tools in town), washing, waxing, and storage. Last but not least was a 1950's version of what today might be called a mini-mart, with an old-fashioned Nemasket soda pop cooler by the door and candy, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, you name it, displayed behind a distinctive antique (even for those days), curved glass show case.
The Eldredge compound and crew, image courtesy M. Fairbanks

For 45 cents an hour I was kept busy much of the time. However, there were always slow days, and later, evenings, when I got to stand, wide-eyed, listening to the stories of olden times in the Old Village. The stories were of fishing, the sea, ship wrecks, the life savers, farming, commercial activity, and most importantly, about village characters both current and historic - not that those telling these stories weren't themselves characters. There were men like Zenus "Uncle Zene" Kendrick, "Uncle Ben" Eldridge, Luther Edwards (the oldest man I'd ever known), John Caton, Mert Rogers, Ritchie "Captain Paintbrush" Hamilton, Millard "Aunt Milly" Eldredge, Frankie Dill, Robbie Tuttle, Captain Sweeny (one of the few bona fide captains), and countless others. Two would make for a good time. Three would be critical mass and the old stories would pour forth.
In recent years Eldredge's has stood as a derelict reminder of the once living and vibrant Old Village community. For most, the demolition of the physical plant was long anticipated. The truly grievous loss had occurred decades earlier with the disappearance of the extended multi-generational community of working folks from the Old Village and much of central Chatham. They were the ultimate heirs of the old stories of the Old Village, and of Chatham more generally. The old timers who kept these stories alive within the grimy Tydol green walls of the gas station building, were the curators.

The handsome livery stable, image courtesy M. Fairbanks
First the old timers died off. Next went their families, the last of generations of year-round residents. Families sold off their homesteads to the summer people they had formerly hosted, and moved away. With every sale, another trove of oral history was lost, and another house darkened 10 months of the year. Next came the storm of renovations. Now, off-season, the Old Village is a worksite by day and a ghost town by night. On winter nights, it is difficult to see another lighted house from your doorstep, and the only sounds are those of the foxes and coyotes, the wind, and the surf on the outer bar - a sea of empty houses in a town no longer able to afford affordable housing.
Just what the future has in store for a village of multi-million dollar summer homes and only a handful of year-round residents, is unclear. What is clear is that with the Eldredge demolition the last glimmer of a very different Old Village has been extinguished. Few will ever truly know what Chatham was for most of its 300 years - the Chatham told of in the old stories, long ago at Eldredge's Garage.

David MacAdam
Following are excerpts from a transcription of a gathering of Old Village neighbors in the 1980's. These folks all grew up in the Village and got together to reminisce, including: Mrs. Cluett, C. Baisly, Meany, Mrs. Weidman, Wallace Dexter, Clint Hammond, Joe Weidman, Joe Nickerson, Howard James, Trudy James, F. Walther, George Lake, Connie Chase, Gunny Eldredge, N. Taylor and M. Brown. From a recording made by Claire Baisly and transcribed by Murial F. MacAdam. Edited by Nancy Koerner from the papers of Connie Chase, mother of Marty Fairbanks.
In 1903 my parents decided to spend the summer in Chatham. We...rented a true Cape Cod cottage. There was no running water; we bathed in the ocean and had a pump in the kitchen; water was heated on the kitchen stove. We took our meals at the Hawes House. Mr. and Mrs. Hawes had a wonderful boarding house which stands on the corner of Main and Water Street. Meals were $7 per week per guest. The Sunday breakfast menu never varied: beans, fish cakes, bacon and eggs. (Note: Miss Eva Hawes married Ike Howes and they kept the name T  he Hawes House.)

Andrew Harding's Store, situated by Lighthouse Lane
The "duffers" at Harding's Store
all images courtesy
The Chatham (MA) Historical Society

Hawes House, 1882

Discussion about the village borders: It started just about the Mayflower Shop at Mill Pond Road and came down over Bridge Street. Maybe it was if you went to school on School Street. ...we were quite segregated from other areas; if you grew up in the village, you just played and knew those village children. Some of the children from the Atwood School wanted to play with us sometimes.
Andrew Harding's store: That's where all the duffers used to set on the porch and just whittle and see who could tell the biggest story. Incidentally, Joseph Lincoln was one of the ones that used to hang around down there, and while everybody else was talkin' he was listn'n', takin' notes. Next thing you know, he'd write a book.
Harold Tuttle and Luther Edwards happened to chance to meet this day...and Harold said to Luther, "You know, Luther, at the rate" - this was some years ago - "these summer people are buyin' property around here, won't be long before you and I'll be the only two natives left." And Luther kinda smiled; he says, "Native? You're no native." Harold said, "I'm not? I was born in Chatham; I always thought I was a native." Luther says, "Your father was born in Harwich!"
Mr. Tuttle the butcher...."Mother used to send me down there to get a dozen fresh eggs and that was always good for a riot. I said to Mr. Tuttle, "I want a dozen fresh eggs." Mr. Tuttle, he let out a terrible oath and he said. "What the hell do you think I sell - stale eggs?
I'd come in the market and he recognized me right away. "Oh, so you're after Mattie's meat". I'd stay close to the door, but he'd go in that big freezer and he'd leave the door open; he'd be talking to me and everything, you know, and I'd answer him, and he wanted me to come a little nearer, and I'd say, "No, I can hear you." And so he'd come out with the meat, and all, and I was so glad when he shut that (freezer) door!" I thought, boy, he's gonna put me in there some day! But he was a (really) nice man.
In 1920 there was Prohibition - I was driving trucks and (the) bus for the Chatham Bars Inn and one of the pantry men got into the extract of vanilla; he got rather roaring drunk on it and stole one of the trucks, so we followed and we knew about where we was, so we went to get the sheriff, which was on the same street as the Catholic church. We went up and called him and he rode on the running board of the Ford ... stopped out there by the Acme Laundry and he was taken and put into jail back of the movies - underneath the movies - remember the old jail house they had there? Next day he was taken to Provincetown, put through court, put on the boat; he was in Boston before he knew what happened.
There was one woman there ...she was a guest at the inn there, so she says "Good morning"; he says :Good morning"; she say "Good morning; d'you think it'll stop raining?" He says "If it don't it's going to be a hell of a long wet spell!"

Russell Bearse with a fine catch
Connie Chase wedding party
all images courtesy
The Chatham (MA) Historical Society

The Village School (built 1859) -
 before trees were invented

Lots of stories about Russell A. Bearse: He had a few hens up there in his back yard - not many - 5 or 6 hens, and he used to sell eggs to the summer people. So - he was a pretty sharp boy, this Russell A. Bearse - he'd go up to the A & P, you know, like he'd get these cheap, cold-storage eggs and he'd go home and he'd put them under 2 or 3 hens; and the people'd call and say, "Well, Russell, you got any good fresh eggs today?" Well", he says "let's go out there in the hen yard and take a look." So they'd got out, you know, "Well, don't know if this old hen's laid any eggs or not," so he'd reach underneath the hen, you know, he'd drag out a cold-storage A & P egg and he always charged a good price for 'em.
Fresh milk and cows. ... to get milk, we went after it. Lennie Mullet, he had 2 - 3 cows, used to walk up through Hallett Lane and we used to go and get milk right out of the cow, 10 cents a half a bucket. And then Mert Rogers, had quite a few hens. We'd go down and get eggs there and they were a penny apiece, and if you was a good little boy or girl you got 13 eggs for a dozen.
Most of us burned driftwood; only the wealthy people had coal.
Mr. Keeler came around with his horse and wagon with the vegetables - watermelons, and cherries, peaches and everything. He didn't let you touch those things. And shoes, too; to get shoes sometimes there was the shoe man'd come around or my father used to trace our foot on a brown piece of paper and then when he went back to the city he would get shoes.
When Howard James was in high school he used to mow the lawn for John Taylor, the undertaker. When I graduated from high school - 'course, the girls all had a bouquet - big deal- next thing you know my name was called and I had a beautiful bouquet from John Taylor. Only boy in the class that come out of graduation with a bouquet!

George Rogers on the Mill Pond...Water Street to Eliphamets Lane, School Street to the Mill Pond, and all the shanties - he used to rent them out ... $3 a year.

The Village looked quite a little different from what it does now, you know; it wasn't so luxuriant, was very rural and sparse - hardly no trees, cows grazed around in different fields - there were a great many fields - and it was barren, very barren. On the beach side there were high cliffs of sand and it wasn't the lush place that it is today; dirt roads, dirt paths ...
We had a lot of silver leaves and wild cherry - down in the village part. What is it that was called silver leaves? It's a poplar grows like a weed.


Our friends at Mass Audubon offer a host of activities for the whole family, including their Chatham Day Camp which has one-week sessions for kids ages 4-13, and Field School Courses like the Hatching Diamondback Terrapins 3-day course trip for adults.

Also this year for the first time they will offer a special Family Movie Night in Chatham: Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction, Wednesay August 2, 7-8:30 pm at the Chatham Community Center. Admission is free, but limited, to reserve please email Sheila Hoogeboom.
Summer programs include:

Marine Life Cruise
Cruise from Sesuit Harbor in Dennis into Cape Cod Bay aboard the Albatross to look for marine creatures. Our naturalists will use a plankton net, scallop drag, and fish pots to bring up fish, crabs, shellfish, and plankton for you to see and touch. This is a very popular family trip!
Wednesdays, July 12-August 23, 6-8 pm
$42 M/$52 NM for adults, $32 M/$42 NM for ages 4-17

North Beach Island Adventure

Join a Wellfleet Bay naturalist for a short boat trip over to North Beach Island, a remote barrier beach in Chatham where seals are plentiful. We'll comb the beach and the wrackline to see what natural treasures we discover. Be
prepared to walk up to 2 miles in soft sand.
Fridays, July 21 and August 4, 2:30-4:30 pm
$40 M/$50 NM for adults, $30 M/$40 NM for ages 6-17

Tern Island Birding
Join an experienced naturalist for an excursion to Mass Audubon's Tern Island, a 28-acre island in Chatham.
Friday, June 23, 1-3 pm
Wednesday, August 2, 10 am-Noon
Tuesday, August 8, 2:30-4:30 pm
Wednesday, August 16, 9-11 am
Tuesday, August 22, 2:30-4:30 pm
Wednesday, August 30, 9-11 am
Sunday, September 3, 12-2 pm
$40 M/$50 NM for adults

South Monomoy Birding
Bird the remote, southern tip of South Monomoy in search of shorebirds, terns, waterfowl, and seals. Be prepared for walking in soft sand and through poison ivy.
Thursday, July 27, 9 am-1 pm
Thursdays, August 3-31, 9 am-1 pm
Thursdays, September 7, 14; 9 am-1 pm
$80 M/$90 NM for adults
Old Village Association Officers 2016-2017  
Officers: One-year terms

Vice President:
Winnie Lear
Debbie Aikman
Nancy Koerner
Bill Horrocks

7-11, each with

a three-year term

Term ending 2017
Mary Ann Gray
Nancy Phelps
Jennifer Longworth
Lisa Edge
Term ending 2019
Debbie Aikman
Nancy Koerner
David MacAdam
Lisa Green
Term ending 2018
Winnie Lear
Carol Pacun
Bill Horrocks

Corresponding Secretary:
Lisa Edge
~ Village News ~
Mary Ann Gray retires from the OVA Board
Mary Ann Gray at Lighthouse Beach with one of the historical plaques she authored - OVA 2015 
Mary Ann and her husband first came to the Old Village in 1975 when they purchased the half Cape at 233 Main St. In 2003 Mary Ann was elected to serve as Treasurer for the OVA Board and continued in that role until 2010.  She was also elected to be one of our Directors in 2003   While Mary Ann has now retired from the Board she assures us her heart remains in the Old Village and she will continue to support our association and the principles it represents. 

With our deepest appreciation for her years of service,
Old Village Association Board 

Kids For Food - bag drop off day Tuesday, August 1 : we need one or two families from each of our streets - children and/or adults - to drop off an empty food bag at each house on your street (or a section of your street) and collect the bags the next day.    We count on your help to continue this successful neighborhood event that helps so many  Chatham residents. To volunteer please contact us now:

Nancy Koerner 508-945-1912, [email protected] 
Lisa Green 617-680-1166, [email protected]  

Thanks for your support! Details will follow soon.

Annual Wine + Cheese Gathering
returns to The Porches! Plan to join us Thursday, August 3 from 4 to 5:30 pm. Joan Horrocks will recount to us "How Philadelphia Saved the Avis Chase Cottages". Bring a chair!

OVA Annual Meeting with a bonus, Monday August 28, 5:30 pm, Chatham Beach and Tennis Club -  
Our featured speaker will be Larry Sampson, Chair of the Water and Sewer Advisory Committee.  The topic will be irrigation regulations along with other issues relating to the Town's water system.

Bonus: ever wondered what people years ago saw as they strolled down Main Street from the lighthouse? The meeting will provide a special viewing of that Village scene, thanks to Jean and Andy Young, who will be sharing with us two panoramic pictures - one from around 1920, the other of the same scene today.   The early photograph was made from an acetate negative which was part of a collection originally owned by William and Jackie Cotter and donated to the Chatham Historical Society.   Jean Young, a Historical Society archivist, will talk briefly about the importance of this rare gift, and the work required to restore the old, very worn negatives as well as the on-going efforts to identify all the scenes. This is really an example of history in the making and we're honored to be a part of it. Four additional photos will be shown at the Atwood House Museum Columbus Day weekend, and the complete collection will be on view in the spring of 2018.   
Atwood House Events this summer include a lecture The Tin Ticket with historian Deborah Swiss, an exhibition Chatham in The Military and their annual Evening To Remember celebration - for more information, visit Chatham Historical 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.

Chase Park Grist Mill © EJ Horrocks 2017
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 [email protected].
Get better connected! Help us conserve resources and funds by subscribing to our e-newsletters - please email  [email protected]. Your email address will be used only for OVA communications. We welcome new contributors as well!

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