Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket! Happy July 4th to one and all on this beautiful day here in Osterville! The sun is out and the air is cool, but not too cool, with a good breeze–a perfect day to be out on the water sailing or doing whatever it is you might like to do in one of the most celebrated regions of the country, come on down and visit us! We’ll leave the LIGHT on for ya! On this day of independence from our tyrannical overlords, the English rule of King George 234 years ago, I thought I might offer some of the rich history of Osterville. For it is knowing where we have been that gives us the keys to knowing where we are going… The native American Cotochese who lived along the shores of three sheltered bays off Nantucket Sound named them chunkoo, or chunkomuck, skunkomug, or skonkonet. But, no matter what you choose to call them, they pried open the crinkly white shells and found exactly what they were looking for, oysters. It did not take long for the first settlers, who arrived here in 1639, to learn to relish the seaside delicacy also. And so they named this quiet stretch of southern Cape Cod, Oyster Island Village. In 1648, a delegation led by Captain Miles Standish negotiated a deed to the area with the Cotochese on behalf of Plymouth Colony, and Oyster Island Village belonged to the English. Later, the townspeople changed the name to Oysterville, and finally in 1815, they voted to shorten it to Osterville, and so it remains. Today, the most exclusive and remote enclave of the village still bows to the bivalve and calls itself Oyster Harbors. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Osterville is the presence of the Crosby Yacht Yard, which is known worldwide for building superior catboats, Wianno Juniors and Wianno Seniors. President John F. Kennedy’s Wianno Senior, seen in photographs across the globe while he was in office, was crafted and stored here. It all began in 1850 when C. Worthington and Horace S. Crosby went into the boatbuilding business on the advice of their father, Andrew Crosby. Actually it was the father’s ghost who made the suggestion to their mother, spiritualist Tirzah Lovell Crosby, who relayed it to their sons. They heeded its counsel and set up shop on West Bay. Their first boat was christened Little Eva. At first they cut their own timber and sawed their own planks, and turned out only one boat a year. As time went by, they were joined in their enterprise by C. Worthington’s son Danie and a host of other family members who brought their individual expertise into the business. Together, the Crosby clan created and developed unique catboats, plus the famous Wianno Senior, that by 1930 were considered to be the prettiest and fastest boats of their kind on the water. Around the 1800’s, word got out to the rest of the world that Osterville was a cool and beautiful spot to spend the summer. Wealthy families, mostly from Boston, began to visit, and several Osterville families who had large homes created guesthouses. Before long the families began building their own summer cottages and invited their friends to do the same. Within just a few years, there arose three exclusive summer neighborhoods, Wianno, Seapuit, and Oyster Harbors. I cannot begin to tell you how much this little sea side village means to me. The area drips with history and if you listen very carefully, you can hear the voices of villagers who have left this earthly plane, as they cry out, “this country is worth saving, and even with all of it’s sham drudgery and mundane idiocy, this world is still a beautiful place–worthy of you and worthy of me…strive to be happy.” I’m not sure if those were their words, but sometimes I get this deep feeling about this great land of ours and I am filled with sense of pride and awe. For these were our forefathers, men and women who worked the land with a smile on their face, always striving for something better and we owe it to them, and indeed ourselves, to stand up again and ring that victory bell of freedom–just like we always wanted to. GOD’S SPEED to the GULF–all of the people, sea creatures, dolphins, whales, Brown Pelicans and marsh lands therein…may you have a better tomorrow soon! Have a wonderful 4th everybody! Peace~M
July 4, 2010
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