Smuttynose archaeology … Hampton harried … Park-and-pay at beach … Blue Star Mothers … RCD groundbreaking … M/V Laighton returns … Beach store opening … Grote elected … Malpass appointed … Record honored
Jim Cerny, story and photos
Dr. Nathan Hamilton spoke in South Berwick recently on the results of his archaeological excavations on Smuttynose Island at the Isles of Shoals
Smuttynose was joined to Malaga by a short breakwater in 1820 and is essentially one island of 30 acres, located in Maine. Smuttynose is privately owned and in the summer stewards stay at the Haley House. Smuttynose is best known for the famous murders in 1873
The first archaeological excavations were done by Faith Harrington in the early 1990s and now in recent years by Nathan Hamilton, involving students from the Shoals Marine Lab
. As Hamilton noted, "Many people who live at the edge of the sea, deposit their refuse at the edge of the sea." And what makes this site, the western end of Smuttynose, so useful for archaeologists is that it is undisturbed.
Western shoreline of Smuttynose as it looks today. Cottage on the right is the restored Haley house, used by stewards. To the left is Rozzie's cottage, built by Celia Thaxter's granddaughter, Rosamund Thaxter.
Hamilton pointed out the fine location of the Shoals for a fishing station — good water depths for the long-line fishing and lots of space to set up fish flakes
for drying with minimum salt. This resulted in a very high quality fish product that commanded a premium price in the European markets. There were as many as 300 fishermen on Smuttynose in the 1600s.
Nathan Hamilton. Codfish bones.
Hamilton breaks Smuttynose history into four periods: • 1620-1760: Fishing station; • 1770-1850: Samuel Haley's many business operations; • 1840-1920: Hotel era with the Mid-Ocean Hotel; • 1980-present: Stewardship of Island and Haley House.
Hamilton's slide for the fishing phase, showing fish flakes (drying) and the Hontvet House (scene of the infamous Smuttynose murders).
Among the facts that struck me were:
- Some 90,000 artifacts have been recovered by Hamilton from a total area of 20 square meters excavated (including 3,600 bird bones; 11,000 mammal bones; 31,000 fish bones). They fill 62 bankers boxes with ownership retained by the Smuttynose owners.
- The common periwinkle (Littorina littorea) is an invasive species, coming into the Gulf of Maine about 1850, with selection pressure on shell thickness due to predation by green crabs, which are also an invasive species.
- The size of codfish caught was quite uniform due to hook size, i.e., fishing for a certain size to market, which obscures how the overall size of cod in the fishery was decreasing.
- Gulls were present at the fishing stage, but lead balls among the remains suggest they were shot both for food and to prevent them from feeding on the fish flakes.
- There was probably less soil and a more barren look to Smuttynose when the first Europeans arrived. Certainly no wood for houses and probably little peat to burn. It is likely they lived on their ships during the winter.
(The following items are by members of the "Rye Reflections" staff.)
The rain and high wind storms of March wreaked havoc everywhere. Their force was especially evident at the main beach in Hampton where sand was washed onto the street, sidewalk and parking lot. Later, as depicted in Judy Palm photos below, the sand was plowed into high mounds along the fence going to the beach where a backhoe loaded it into a truck and dumped it back where it belonged,
In the early morning of April 8 a fire broke out in a multi-rental residence on M Street in Hampton. Firefighters knocked it down, only to be called back a short time later when it flamed up a second time. Tenants all got out safely without injury. The cause and reason for the fire re-igniting is under investigation.
(Judy Palm photo)
- Parking meters are old hat at Jenness State Beach in Rye. Forget your quarters and bring only dollar bills or credit cards this summer so you can feed the two pay stations (photo below) that straddle the crosswalk going to the Sandpiper. Parking spaces are numbered, so all you have to do is enter your number and the time you plan to be basking in the sun or surfing. The state Division of Parks and Recreation started using the park-and-pay machines at Hampton Beach which is now fully equipped. It's North Beach's turn next, after the seawall is fixed.
Park-and-pay stations at Jenness State Beach. (Jack Driscoll photo)
- A support group for military families on the Seacoast has been started. "If you are a Blue Star Mother or the family of any soldier who is currently serving or has served, this group is for you," says Hilari Murphy of North Hampton, who is heading up the Seacoast chapter. "Join us to support our troops as we support each other," says Murphy, herself a Blue Star Mother. For further information call 603-661-4807 or email Mrs. Murphy at NHSeacoastBSM@aol.com.
(Site-plan drawing by Khlasa Design)
- Construction has begun on the 10-acre Rye Airfield site for 22 units of senior affordable housing resulting from a special article passed by Rye voters four years ago called the Retirement Community Development (RCD) ordinance. Work is being done by the Pine Brook Corporation of Kittery. The facility developer/operator is The Housing Partnership. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held at the adjoining Rye Airfield Skate Park on May 6.
- New Hampshire has been ranked No. 1 again for safety on the basis of 50 crime-related categories in a study by CQ Press comparing all 50 states. Vermont was second.
- The Rye Farmers Market resumes on Wednesday June 23 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. in the parking lot between the Rye Congregational Church and Town Hall.
- The M/V Thomas Laighton, a three-deck, 90-foot steamship, with a capacity of 300, will resume trips to Star Island from its Market Street dock in Portsmouth this summer, having performed the service for about 20 years prior to 2004. Further information at the Star Island Corporation website.
- The Rye General Store & Grille is planning an early-May opening under new management that includes local partners Shauna Fraser (manager), Brook Gassner and Keith Prince. On the menu will be "more elaborate breakfast offerings," according to Gassner, who added, "I'm really into breakfast." The beach store, at 2203 Ocean Boulevard, also plans to add a variety of sandwiches for takeout or eat-in, ice cream and fresh fruit smoothies.
The status of three proposals, two before the Planning Board, one before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA):
SAUNDERS — Having been passed by the ZBA, 5-0, the plan to build four homes on the site of Saunders Restaurant at Rye Harbor is now before the Planning Board which held a site walk with the development team and abuters on April 17. The restaurant plans to remain open until the end of the summer.
SANCTUARY CARE — An assisted-living facility for memory impaired is being proposed at a location on the west side of Route 1 (see map at right) between Washington Road and Dow Lane (previously part of the area occupied by Hector's Restaurant and the Sleepy Hollow motel). The single-story building would have 56 rooms and 64 beds. At an April 13 meeting it was disclosed by Priscilla Jenness of the Board of Selectmen that the Army Corps of Engineers has expressed interest in the six acres to the south, between Sanctuary Care and the North Hampton line for the location of a center.
SWIM & BEACH CLUB — The Wentworth by the Sea Country Club proposal to build a Swim & Beach Club on the southwest corner of Route 1-A and Wallis Road is on the ropes. After receiving an OK for a Special Exemption for a membership club in March, the ZBA on April 20 voted down, 3-2, all of what Chairman Frank Drake described as "the more critical and substantive variances" after two lengthy deliberations. However, Wentworth by the Sea averted a rehearing of its Special Exemption to be a membership club on May 5, when the ZBA voted 3-2 to let that status stand. JoAnn Price, who is leading opposition the project, filed the motion for a rehearing.
- Jaci Grote has been elected chair of the Rye Planning Board, succeeding Don Cavallaro, who nominated her and was chosen Vice Chair.
- Ann Malpass has been appointed to finish out the Library Trustee term of Sallie Ann Mackie, who has moved, until next March 31.
- Del Record of Rye, described as "the best of the best", received the Lee Bates Award from the Gunstock Ski Patrol, having served 18 years in Gilford with the Gunstock Safety Services and 23 years with the National Ski Patrol.
- Josh Clark, noted for his steady coverage of Rye for the Portsmouth Herald the past year, has been transferred to Exeter.
- How close is close? Gary Teuter of Kittery with a time of 25:17 defeated Joe Sayers of Rye with a time of 25:18 in the Hibernation 5K road race in Portsmouth on Saturday, April 24. Oh yeah, they were running in the male-over-70 age category. Click here for full results.
Wildcat Mountain publishes an image-of-the-day which on Easter turned out to depict Pat Phelan of the Hungry Horse and his brother, Mike, on the mountainside.
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