JULY 2022
Keeping Our History Alive
© EJH 2022

This newsletter is a joy to share with you! We have stories about art and architecture, families and dear Old Village friends, community and conservation.

Heartfelt thanks to Tracy Foley and Nancy Phelps for their stellar collaboration, John Whelan for his entertaining and light-as-a-summer-breeze history/memoir, Nancy Koerner and Lisa Green who wrap up a decade of Old Village community service, Carol Pacun for her eloquent tribute to two dedicated neighbors, and Joan Horrocks for training her lens on some of the beautiful places and moments in our corner of Chatham.

I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we delighted in putting it together.

Happy summer,

Jennifer Longworth

Greetings Villagers,

Welcome to summer 2022! We have had another quiet winter and spring and are looking forward to a lovely, warm summer. While we will miss Cape Abilities at the corner of Main Street and Hallett Lane, we welcome The Loop, a new gallery and shop whose sales benefit Monomoy Community Services. Sadly, our wine and conversation gathering scheduled for July 20th is cancelled due to ongoing work at the Porches.

You may have noticed the new no overnight parking sign at the west end of Water Street, approved by the Traffic Safety Committee and the Select Board. Cars parked overnight prevent shell fisherman and neighbors who have moorings in that area of the Mill Pond from parking in the early morning. It is a town landing where parking should be available for residents who need access to the path to the water.

Our annual meeting is scheduled for August 8th and includes a fascinating program - we hope you will attend! Enjoy the season with your family and friends and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Winnie Lear, President
Homestead - 135 Main Street
The flag painted on the side porch and the magnificent copper beech are well-known highlights of the sprawling family homestead at the corner of Water and Main Streets, a fixture in the Old Village since at least 1810. Passersby who see the property at 135 Main Street as a charming Greek Revival home will be interested to learn the home has been in the same family for nine generations, including some significant early settlers of Chatham.

In the early nineteenth century, the lot was owned by the Bangs family and through marriage became a Harding property. Mary “Polly” Harding and Captain Heman Eldredge were given the homestead in Chatham as a wedding gift. Over time, Heman added a living room, front bedrooms on the second floor, and a pump house. Mary and Heman had two sons, Marcellus (b. 1838) and H. Fisher Eldredge, who were born in Chatham but also lived in Portsmouth, N.H. where Heman owned the Eldredge Brewing Company in Portsmouth, at one point the second largest brewery in New England.
Early photo showing the Temple of Reason. Courtesy Nancy Phelps
Nearly contemporaneous view of East Main Street. Courtesy of the Chatham Historical Society.
Marcellus and Fisher had an equally strong impact on Chatham. The younger brother by thirteen years, Fisher lived at the homestead and as time went on also transformed the property, raising the roof, adding a back staircase, a bathroom and the front porch. He also electrified the pump house. Fisher built a three-story barn to house his many carriages and horses. The barn also had ties to the spiritualist movement. The second floor of the barn was called the Temple of Reason and became a place for spiritualists to gather weekly for meetings. The spiritualist movement was gaining popularity in 1870 but by 1879 the Temple closed.
The brothers began investing more in their hometown by donating 5,000 volumes of books from their personal library while helping to found the Eldredge Public Library. Along with several others, Marcellus and Fisher invested in Nickerson Neck, Strong Island and Eldredge Neck in preparation for the building of the Hotel Chatham (the fourth green of Eastward Ho! Is where it was located). The hotel operated for only four years before it closed and the trust that built it was dissolved. The property was sold to Fisher who proceeded to build a farm on the 100 acres. On his farm overlooking Crows Pond he built a barn widely considered the largest on Cape Cod. He added a cottage, a gate and a gatehouse, a dance pavilion, a carriage house, chicken coops and an icehouse. He loved to entertain with dinners and husking bees. Fisher’s two daughters inherited the farm after his death in 1919 but they preferred spending time at the homestead on Main Street. In 1948 his daughter Sadie Wilder Eldredge sold the 100-acre property which was then developed as Harbor Coves.
Cottage built by H. Fisher Eldredge (near the cook's house). Note the extravagant pram at left. Courtesy of the Chatham Historical Society
Around the time Fisher took over the 100-acre property, Marcellus was working on another project. In September of 1894 Marcellus purchased the Watts boarding house on the beach next to his Watch Hill estate. He made additions to the home and named the hotel the Dill House, which later became the Mattaquasson Hotel, and eventually the Surfside Inn.
A stunning view of the Homestead today. Courtesy Tracy Foley
The homestead has maintained a significant place in the history of Chatham. The daughters of Fisher Eldredge were able to continue to pass the home down through the family lineage and it is still in their family, with children and grandchildren continuing to fill the home with memories and stories. There are still glimpses of the homestead’s early years. The three-story barn is gone but the pump house remains, as do the gracious verandahs. The majestic copper beech stands tall along with the home and its rich place in the history of Chatham.

It is important to appreciate the homes in the old village, some of which have stood for over 200 years, but it’s equally essential to share the stories of the people who lived in these homes. That is truly the way to preserve our past. Special thanks to Nancy Phelps for her many papers and photographs illustrating her family history.

~ Tracy Foley

Small Inns of Chatham and the Old Village
I recently wrote two articles for the Cape Cod Chronicle about a number of inns in Chatham that are no longer around. The first article was about the Old Harbor Inn in North Chatham and the Cockle Cove Inn on Cockle Cove Road in South Chatham. Both have been closed for a long time after many years of operation. They were a place to stay in Chatham before the housing boom in the 1960’s. The second article was about the Rose Acres Inn on Cross Street and the old Hawthorne Inn on Shore Road. The present Hawthorne Motel stands on the property that the hotel once occupied. Both the Rose Acres and the Hawthorne housed military personnel during World War II.

Those four long-gone inns were not the only ones in Chatham. The Old Village was the home of the Hammond House and the Hawes House. The Hammond House was just north of the Mack Memorial on Main Street by the Lighthouse. The Hammond family had been living in the Old Village since Calvin Hammond of Sandwich married Patience Young of Harwich and settled in the Old Village about 1765. Calvin’s grandsons, Calvin, Luther and William, were all sea captains and were born in the Old Village. Captain Darius Hammond was born in 1834 and he built a handsome home on Silverleaf Avenue which is still standing. In their book “Chatham Sea Captains in the Age of Sail”, Joseph A. Nickerson, Jr. and Geraldine Nickerson wrote about Captain Darius Hammond. Darius ran a packet between Chatham, New Bedford and Long Island for 32 years commencing in 1876. It was noted during the 1880’s in the Chatham Monitor that Captain Hammond’s packet left New Bedford early in the morning and that the fresh produce and other goods were available in Chatham stores at 3pm that day. 
View of Mack Monument and Hammond House
Dill Cottages
above images courtesy of the Chatham Historical Society
The Hammond House had rooms for rent and a restaurant for the guests and the public. Some older Old Village residents may remember Jeanne Hammond Cassis and her husband, Joe, who ran the Hammond House in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The property was sold in the 1980’s and was converted to condominiums. Perhaps only a few of us can remember enjoying a meal at the Hammond House. 
The Hawes House at the southeast corner of Main Street and Water Street was owned and operated by Freeman Howes and his family.A number of people have questioned the fact the owners were named Howes and the inn was called the Hawes House. I remembered that Debbie Aikman and Nancy Koerner had been waitresses there in their college days. So I called Debbie and she told me the story on the two names. Eva Hawes, whose family owned the property, had married Ike Howes. Eva and Ike were the parents of Freeman Howes. Thus, the Howes family ran the Hawes House.
Two images of Hammond House. Courtesy of the Chatham Historical Society
My memory of the Hawes House is very vivid. I was the walking mailman for the Old Village in 1962, ’63 and ’64 as a summer sub for the Chatham Post Office. I remember well a number of elderly ladies in white dresses sitting on the front porch each day when I delivered the mail. Many of the guests had returned each summer for decades. Dan and Maryalice Eizenberg live in the house today. Maryalice is an accomplished artist and connected to the Creative Arts Center. 
postcard showing the Mattaquasson Hotel. Courtesy of the Chatham Historical Society
Unfortunately, those inns are long gone and today the last inn standing is the Surfside Inn on Holway Street. The Surfside is a bed and breakfast and was run for many years by Anna McDonald. Anna’s daughter, Marilyn, was married to Dick Robbins. After Anna and Marilyn died, Dick inherited the Inn and ran it for twenty years with the aid of his friend Joan Hildebrandt. Dick and Joan were hands-on managers and present at the Surfside every day. Breakfast and the evening cocktail hour were the high points of the day. The Surfside was sold in 2016 and Dick died in August of 2020. The Surfside goes on, now owned by Mark A. Hagopian of Boston, and looks the same as it has for many decades.
~ John Whelan
True Colors
Like many neighbors in the Old Village, I spent childhood summers at a variety of houses my parents rented for a month or so each year. On rainy days, we took walks around the Village, looking more carefully at the houses we usually sped past on our way to the beach, the pond, or the Calico Cat. Among my favorites was the cluster of houses near the bottom of Eliphamet’s Lane, which include the Captain’s House, the Windmill Cottage and the Artist Cottage, which I’d heard had familiar scenes painted on the walls of one room by local artist Harold Dunbar sometime in the late 1940’s.
Many years and houses later, Nancy Koerner gave me a set of photographs of these painted scenes. I was intrigued, thinking that it would be wonderful to see them in person and get a sense of their actual condition. I had the opportunity to do just this last year, bringing along my friend and colleague, Christine (Chris) Thomson to get a tour from Ed Skopas, the owner of the three cottages. The murals, though murky from darkened varnish, speckled from paint loss and obscured by overpaints, were breathtaking. They included Dunbar’s creative yet recognizable reimagining of well-known local scenes: the twin lighthouses; Stage Harbor viewed from the Oyster River; and the Mill Pond, with its shacks and Godfrey’s windmill on the horizon.
Chris removes years of varnish in the staircase corner
Wenda tackles the Mill Pond panel near the entry door
We all had a feeling that there was sunshine and color under the syrupy, coffee-colored varnish, and pondered how best to coax out the magic in these murals. Ed considers himself a “custodian” of these pictures and felt strongly that they deserved treatment to conserve and protect them for the future. Chris is an objects conservator specializing in historic paint finishes and has been instrumental in preserving work for Historic New England, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, historic sites and institutional and private collections across the country. Because of the amount of cleaning required and the time constraint (the Artist Cottage is a popular vacation rental) Chris brought in fellow decorative objects conservator Wenda Kochanowski to help.
After inspecting the mural surfaces under natural and ultraviolet light, analyzing surface cross sections microscopically, and testing solvents in tiny, inconspicuous areas, Chris and Wenda developed an approach for stabilizing the murals and removing the darkened varnish. There were also some other condition issues that they observed, including areas where the plaster was detaching from the lath behind it and paint detachment and loss in many areas, giving the murals a speckled appearance. Securing flaking paint back onto the plaster surface and re-adhering the plaster itself in areas where it was pulled away from the lath would be part of the proposed conservation project and must occur before any cleaning was undertaken.
The Muck gives way to color and depth
Lovely blue and lavender tones are
freed from their varnish trap
Tests showed that the brown, murky resinous varnish layers could be safely removed from the samples without disturbing the original paint layer, but would this be true elsewhere on the murals? Could the cleaning process accomplish the desired result in five days? It’s one thing to clean a tiny patch, and another to scale up to seven panels. To complicate matters, in viewing the murals in ultraviolet light considerable overpainting and touch up varnish (which fluoresces a whitish blue) were made visible, particularly on the bottoms of all panels where perhaps they received the most wear and abrasion. They were concerned that removal of later overpaints might expose major losses of original paint, but further testing of solvent-based cleaners was needed to determine how much original paint was actually missing.
The conservators had planned thoroughly. Microscopy had revealed two layers of varnish – the second layer had likely been applied to blend the overpaints in with the older top coated surface. They knew all the overpaints had to go. And they were fairly certain that Harold had consistently used either tempera or casein “milk” paint, protein-based paints that would remain unharmed by solvents used to remove the varnish layers. Armed with a vanload of cleaning solutions, consolidants, swabs, brushes, respirators, scalpels, lighting and other tools of the trade, Chris and Wenda arrived this April to launch their attack on what was affectionately termed “The Muck”. 
The newly cleaned, luminous view of Stage Harbor
Ed Skopas revels in the dramatic changes
After photographing each panel to document the “before treatment” appearance, the team consolidated the flaking paint areas, carefully brushing on a specialty acrylic adhesive impervious to the chosen cleaning solvents. They used a heated spatula to tamp lifted paint back into place. A combination of adhesives was injected through the detached plaster cracks. After about an hour, the plaster was gently pressed back into plane, and held in place until re-bonded. The biggest job remained – removing the discolored varnish layers. Going panel by panel, they began to apply two different products – one a commercial stripper, the other an organic solvent. These were agitated over the surface until the varnish began to swell and dislodge. The resulting glop was wiped away with acetone, swabs and occasionally a small squeegee. It was amazing to see the dark brown “curtain” lifted away from the paint surface. Dazzling tones of orange, turquoise, lavender and crystalline blue emerged. Details like window frames, bricks, vegetation came into view. The heavy overpaints also dissolved, and we were relieved to see that most areas retained their original paint, as evidenced by finding Harold’s nimble brushstrokes underneath. As the days passed, the artist’s original vision rematerialized. On the final day, Wenda rescued the image of a schooner from its maelstrom of dirt laden varnishes, and we all had a hand in cleaning the magnificent, muscular lighthouses.
The final panels about midway through cleaning
The schooner emerges
This being the Old Village, the open door of the Artist Cottage invited many Villagers and passersby to come in and have a look, and perhaps share a story or two. While the cleaning progressed, we were treated to the company of Woody Metzger from First Light Boatworks across the way (Woody was kind enough to “lend” us small amount of varnish we needed to touch up some woodwork), Bill and Nancy Koerner (Nancy was as gratified as I was to see this project finally come to fruition) and many other friends and vacationers.
Wenda and Chris - the Twin Lights of the project
One couple celebrating their 30th anniversary had graciously foregone renting the Artist Cottage, instead staying in the Windmill cottage. As they peeked in, Ed promised them that next year the house with its rejuvenated scenery would be all theirs. The most exciting moment was watching Ed walk in, his tall frame filling the doorway, while his face registered the dramatic changes in the cleaned areas. Over celebratory pizza and margaritas, we talked about the amazing transformation we’d all had so much fun being part of. Ed was happy to help steward and protect an important piece of the Old Village legacy, Chris and Wenda were thrilled at the success of their conservation approach, and I was delighted to fulfill a lingering childhood desire. I think Harold Dunbar, artist and bon vivant, would have enjoyed the project and the party as much as we did. 
~ Jennifer Longworth
George Olmsted, who lived at the end of Chase Street, was truly the “Mayor of Little Mill Pond”. He watched over tides and his neighbors’ boats, dug out elephant grass from the piece of land that abutted the street, and built a handrail of old weathered wood at the end of the ever changing (always dangerous) path to the beach. With the same enthusiasm he had for skiing and boating, George arranged for and helped with the design and funding for the beautiful footbridge which now allows Old Villagers to walk along the shore to town, without taking their chances with School Street traffic. A preservationist, he founded the Friends of Chatham Waterways, and served on many committees, including the Old Village Association Board, where he was in charge of finding new neighbors and making sure they felt welcome.  
The Old Village will not be the same without George. When he was too ill to walk alone, he managed the Chase Street hill with the help of a cane and then a wheelchair and sat at the top to greet his neighbors … always with a smile. 
© EJH 2022
Ann O’Connell, who lived next to George, was a very special lady. Old Villagers will remember her walking her dog Maggie throughout our streets. Few knew that she and her late husband Brian were important contributors to the founding of the Old Village Association. From the first full meeting of “the Board” they supported our efforts to become a real organization (with dues!) and provided, thanks to Brian’s expertise, assistance with the required Commonwealth paperwork. Ann was the Association’s first secretary and actually VOLUNTEERED to work (without today’s computers) on survey forms required for our application to become a National Register of Historic Places district. With a small group of enthusiastic preservationists to be, she was always up for programs on historic preservation – even when they required long rides over the “bridge” and reading through pages of seemingly incomprehensible rules and regulations.

Ann was a lifelong professional artist who worked in the basement of her Chase Street home, and featured in the Old Village booklet “The Creative Spirit: Art in Chatham’s Old Village”. she wrote that “the technique used in monotype is a never ending, never boring process of learning and discovery.”  Ann also found peace in creating a Japanese garden in her front yard.   Everyone who knew Ann found in her presence that same sense of peace and beauty.
~ Carol Pacun
Kids For Food Bids Adieu
In 2012 we gave ourselves quite a challenge: to collect 300 items of food for the Chatham Food Pantry! It was the 300th anniversary of Chatham and the proposed collection was the Old Village’s way of acknowledging that special event.

Plans came together quickly and we had a fantastic day. On that first collection and the nine others that followed we collected a sizeable amount of money, and boxes upon boxes of food items. Ted and Martha Miller, the managers of the Pantry, have told us they are incredibly appreciative of our support over the years.

It was a great way to define the Old Village as a giving, helping group. And it gave many of us a chance to meet and work with Villagers whom we might not have met otherwise. It provided the opportunity for the 250 or so residents to open their doors to the children of their neighbors and to take part in a local effort. Now it’s time to pat our collective selves on the back for a job well done and move on! We won’t be holding the food collection again but encourage your support of the worthy local organizations that work tirelessly for our wider community.

~ Nancy Koerner and Lisa Green
Vice President:
Winnie Lear
Debbie Aikman
Nancy Koerner
Carol Pacun
Term ending 2022:
Debbie Aikman
Nancy Koerner
David MacAdam
Lisa Green
Term ending 2023:
Nancy Phelps
Jennifer Longworth
Lisa Edge
Linda Howes Salvi
Term ending 2024:
Winnie Lear
Carol Pacun
Bill Horrocks

Annual Meeting - Monday August 8, 4pm - 6pm at Chatham Beach and Tennis Club. 5:30pm refreshments and conversation, 6:15pm program and business meeting.

Our speaker:
Kristin Andres
Associate Director for Education & Informational Services,
Association to
Preserve Cape Cod

Climate-wise and
Eco-friendly Landscapes
Wondering where the delicious handcrafted salts available on School Street come from? Here's the "tea" on salts, including a nice feature including Chris Weidman!

Have you or has someone you know published a book or produced a film about the Old Village, Chatham or Cape Cod? Please send us title(s), author/director name, publisher and date, and where to find the book/film locally and online, plus an image for our library page!
I Am of Chatham
John Whelan and Kim Rodriques, June 2021, Sockpirate Publishing

Chatham Historic House Signs
Chatham Historic House Signs - houses 100 years or older are eligible for white rectangular signs that summarize the early history of the building, e.g.

Name of first owner
Function of building
The date
Over 670 Chatham houses are eligible for these signs, over 100 are in the Old Village. The information and application are available on the Town website. For street designations in the Old Village visit our webpage.


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A lovely staircase on Silverleaf © EJH 2022
Old Village Association
P.O. Box 188, Chatham, MA 02633