Monday, December 29, 2008
My name is Matt Hart and I grew up in So. Chatham, MA.
Because I lived on Forest Beach Road I frequently went to Forest Beach which is at the end of the road on the Nantucket Sound side of Chatham. As a youngster I remember seeing a long wooden jetty with a large group of mooring posts at the end on the west side of the river that comes out of Taylors Pond, into Mill Creek and then into Nantucket Sound for over 100 yards from the beach. There are still about 100 plus yards of large granite boulders carefully placed to create a strong jetty that still can still be seen on that same side of the river that were connected to the former wooden jetty stretching in a northeasterly direction from the large post in Nantucket Sound well into the entrance of the marsh and salt pond area before the river continues to Taylors Pond. (There is a separate, much smaller river to the east that flows out of the Marsh and separates Cockle Cove Beach)
I heard many stories as a child about the harbor:
1. That there was once busy harbor filled with ‘fishing & packet boats’ coming and going.
2. There was a tale about how some workmen had being killed during the construction of the jetty and the harbor when a steel cable broke loose.
3. How three large boulders were placed about two hundred yards from shore and toward the west to anchor the barges that were loaded with granite for future use building the jetty.
4. The first damage of the jetty and harbor took place during the 1938 hurricane and tidal surge.
5. The final devastation of the harbor took place during the 1944 hurricane.
I have no idea why this harbor in South Chatham was not replaced? I cannot even find a name for the harbor; but I have heard it called Mill Creek and/or Eel River many times. I suspect that some of the land and adjacent marsh to the west of the river was sold by someone to the then RCA Global Communications.
But I would like to know who built this massive harbor structure? What was it called? Why wasn’t the harbor restored? What is the history of this jetty in South Chatham? I have included a small map to provide you with the general location. Thank you in advance for your time and interest.
2 Samoset Road
Harwich, MA 02645