"Hurricane Beach Before 1938 Was Paradise For Those Seeking A Relaxing Vacation Not So Far From Home..."

"Hurricane Beach Before 1938"

This is really called Swift's Beach named after some early residents of Wareham. The first plot for the beach was laid out in 1895 and people started building cottages shortly thereafter.

There was already an oyster shack on the beach to handle the oyster harvest in those months with an "R". Not much went on at the oyster shack during June, July, and August.

Why? I'm glad you asked.

Of course, some people didn't pay attention to that "R" month restriction and scoffed oysters anyway. They do the same today with Quahogs. scallops and Clams (soft shelled steamers). The scallop season doesn't start until October. Digging on Sunday is prohibited, but there are always some who pay no attention to the laws, ecology, and common sense.

Some may be just misinformed...to give them the benefit of a doubt.

There aren't enough shellfish wardens to catch them all. Wareham has over 54 miles of shoreline and it would take an army of wardens to patrol such a large area.

After the oyster shack, people bought lots right on the beach and put up cottages. The cottages were very close together. That way more people could enjoy being right on the beach.

And in the early days of the beach, there were no zoning laws so people bought tiny lots and put tiny cottages on them. Some are still here...those near the beach were washed away by the hurricanes.

There is still a teany tiny cottage on Swift's Ave. Can't be more than a one roomer with a bathroom.

Some may have regretted this choice after 1938 when all the houses on the beach were swept away with the exception of the Victorian which was built more substantially than the cottages to its left and right.

It's said that the owners of the Victorian opened all the doors and windows and the surge just went in and came out leaving the structure intact.

Another victim of the 1938 hurricane were the trees that came right down to the beach providing some shade from the hot sun in July and August when temperatures rose into the 90s. As you can see in the old postcards, there were lots of oak trees right down to the beach.

This picture was taken from the west end of Swift's Beach, just on the edge of the marsh. The cottages are crowded together and there are a few trees showing. Hurricane Beach before 1938 showed a lot of cottages that are no longer there.

According to a subdivision plan filed with Plymouth county Registry of Deeds on May 2, 1931, the owners of the beachfront properties ( not including the ones far down the beach on the other side of Swift's Beach Road) were:

  • Louise S. Barrett
  • Harvey S. Crocker
  • Samuel B. Bailey
  • Louise C. Snyder
  • George Eaton
  • Marcia A Beals
  • Everett T Packard
  • Grace Gorgan
  • Mildred E. Wheeler

This list starts at the left of the graphic. Next, a copy of the 1931 Certificate of Title.

At the end of Hurricane beach before 1938 there are some cottages. These cottages were swept away in 1938 along with all of the cottages pictures here except for the Victorian which is obscured by trees.

The trees were goners too after 1938.

The back of this card is blank so it was never sent through the mail. Unposted.

This postcard shows the cottages at the end of the beach more clearly. One of them is quite large, but they are all gone now. It's hard to find any remnants of their existence. The sand dunes and marsh grass have reclaimed the beach.

Notice all the poles stuck in the water near the beach. Pulleys were attached to the poles and a rope fed through the pulley and secured on the beach. The rope made a loop. A boats painter was attached to the rope and when the sailor wanted to put his boat up for the day, he would tie the painter to the loop and pull the boat out into the water near the pole.

The poles were placed far enough out in the water so that at low tide the boat would still float. This was a lot better than leaving the boat on the beach where it could take several strong men to drag it into the water grinding off all of the bottom paint which prevented barnicles from accumulating on the bottom of the hull.

The next graphic is the back of the postcard. It is postmarked March 25, 1940. That's pretty early for anyone to come to the beach. And the picture had to be taken before 1938 because it shows the cottages at the end of the beach which were converted to driftwood in 1938.

It's hard to read, but I think it says:

"This is all I have - Sent the others a few days ago ..."

Perhaps the writer was a card collector gathering postcards for re-sale.

Hurricane Beach before 1938 is epitomized by this card that was mailed on October, 8, 1931. October on Cape Cod is known as Indian Summer. The water is still warm and the temperature is still in the 70s and sometimes gets into the 80s.

Some say it's the most beautiful time of the year on Cape Cod - warm days, cool nights.

Here is another card of Hurricane Beach before 1938 that shows a rowboat pulled up on the marsh.

We have many more postcards to display of Hurricane Beach before 1938, but we will stop here to let the Webmaster rest a while.

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