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The Story Of A Resort

The Shoreliner Magazine, August 1950

Photographs by Harold Orne

Vacation slump!

Millions of Americans are affected by this lethargic malady every year, as they count the days until they can pack their bags and be off on their two week junket.

Offices, shops, factories seem like prison walls as visions of sandy beaches, green forests or sparkling lakes glaze the eyes of the distracted victims of employment.

Mid-summer may mean vacation time to the rest of the country, but to shrewd New Englanders it means digging in for a season of hard work. Out come the signs . . . “Cabins . . . Rooms . . . Fried Clams . . . Meals . . . Ice Cream”, as they set about keeping their urban cousins well fed and happy.

The fact that they are successful in their purpose can be seen in the faces of their guests. It is particularly visible in the mercurial manners of the children . . . in a small boy’s face, for instance, as he places his tongue tenderly along the sweet coolness of a chocolate ice cream cone. Happiness shines, too, from the eyes of a grandmother as she watches a four year old play in healthy nakedness in the sand.

Creating this glow of happiness on the faces of these visitors is the object of the New England host … for entertaining the tourist is a major industry in New England, and as such the Shoreliner features it pictorially this month. Perhaps one of the most popular resorts in the area is Hampton Beach on the New Hampshire coastline. Thousands fill every hotel and cabin court, returning year after year. It’s success as a dispenser of happy vacations is due partly to its superb location and partly to the planning and foresight of its residents. They have guided its growth through the years until its modern facilities range all the way from a completely equipped and enclosed play yard for the children to a twenty-five foot wide sea wall and board-walk, recently built at a cost of $300,000.

Many resorts are so dangerously old fashioned that they still allow sewage to drain into the very water they extol for swimming. Not so, Hampton Beach. To properly safe-guard health one of the most up-to-date sewage disposal plants on the entire Atlantic coast has been constructed. It would be a boon to all New England if other areas, resort and otherwise, should follow a like pattern.

Early Settlers Liked Hampton

One panoramic glimpse of Hampton Beach makes it obvious that even the early settlers knew the value of real estate! Hampton, which included the Beach, was settled in 1638. At first, the Indians objected strongly to such an infringement on their favorite summer location, but the hardy Englishmen who had usurped it, refused to budge . . . even when a party of thirty Indians under Captain Tour killed fifty-five persons on the 17th of August, 1703.

But the only Indians left at Hampton now are the small, freckled variety who usually answer to the name, “Tonto”, and are wildly loyal to a character called “The Lone Ranger.” The sunny sands, the pounding surf, the bracing sea air draw visitors of all ages and the wise Beach officials have arranged something for everyone. Four daily band concerts, starting at two in the afternoon, contribute to the holiday atmosphere and the fireworks every Wednesday night bring crowds of neighboring townspeople to join with the vacationists in long “oooooohs” and “aaaaaaahs” of appreciation.

Carnival Week has long been an institution at Hampton Beach. There used to be balloon ascentions and automobile races on the hard packed sands of the beach. The crowning of a Queen was a climax, then as now. John Dineen, president of the Casino Corporation, is this year’s chairman of the Carnival Committee and he prophesies a bang-up program. Carnival Week is planned for August 24 to 30 [1950].

Most noticeable of this year’s changes at the Beach is the newly renovated, gayly modern Casino, center of the Beach’s out-of-the-water activities. Here the visitor can chew on salt water taffy as he strolls along admiring the sun-tanned girls and congratulating himself on his unquestionable ability in choosing a vacation spot.

Hampton Beach seems to promote as much romance as exotic Hawaii. A big moon shining over the sea . . . a soft breeze and the dreamy music of a dance band keep Dan Cupid short of arrows!

Hampton Beach is an important section of our shore-line . . . for it promotes business, not only for itself, but for neighboring towns and cities. Its progress and prosperity are felt over a large area.

This month we want you to meet some of the people who contribute to its success . . . its Chamber of Commerce executives . . . one of its leading hotel figures . . . its life-guards . . . its visitors and workers . . . and last, but far from least, its pretty bathing girls!


Three of the businessmen who willingly labor toward the Beach’s continued progress are from left to right: John J. Walsh, Ray L. Goding and Ralph T. Harris.

Mr. Walsh, owner and operator of Playland at Hampton Beach in association with John Hines, is serving his sixth year as vice-president of the Beach Chamber of Commerce. A native of Lynn, Mass., he and his life-time associate Mr. Hines, have been in business at Hampton Beach for thirty years. They started in 1922 as owners of the Dance Carnival and for many years they owned Cuddy’s Drug Store at the Beach. Mr. Walsh is a member of the Miraculous Medal Parish at Hampton.

Raymond L. Goding is another familiar figure in Beach affairs. Owner and Manager of the Kentville Hotel, he was this year unanimously reflected for his sixth year as President of the Chamber of Commerce at Hampton Beach. He is a University of Maine graduate (1917) and served as a Captain in the Army during World War I. He has expanded the Kentville into a 45-room hotel since his purchase in 1930. In 1945-46 Mr. Goding was elected to the State Legislature. He has been an active supporter of civic betterment. In 1946 he was a member of the Lay-Professional Educational Council for the State Board of Education, studying ways to improve our school systems, and bring them up to a par with other states. Mr. Goding is a member of the Congregational church, the Kiwanis club, Temple and Mystic Shrine and is a 32nd degree Mason.

Business conditions look excellent to Ralph Harris, Treasurer of the Beach Chamber of Commerce for six years, and for 16 years a prominent real estate operator in the area. Mr. Harris reported that 1950 gave him the best Spring for his business than any other in his experience! Mr. Harris has been a director of the Chamber for the past ten years. He is also a member of the Finance Board. Ralph Harris is assisted in his real estate business by his wife and more recently, his brother, Paul. They have extensive plans for future Beach developments . . . the latest being to build a new and modern hotel with stores, directly on the boulevard facing the new board walk. The location, between K & L Streets, covers a large frontage for that area. Harris Court is another of the Harris enterprises.

Swimming is made easy for the patrons of the State Bath House. Lockers, showers, rest rooms accommodate thousands of bathers.

While Ma and Pa have fun, these children enjoy a thrilling chapter of “Prince Pauper” at the playground.

Calisthenics Class … Held Monday through Friday each week from 10:00 to 10:30 under the direction of Bill Glynn, chief of Lifeguards.

A Gull’s Eye View of a famous beach.

The tots may not know the correct name for this contraption — but it seems to combine the thrills of both the well-known teeter board and the swing.

Band concerts are held daily throughout the season. Amplifiers carry the music to every corner of the beach.

Grandmother had no worries about sunburn … except maybe on the end of her nose!

One of the largest playpens on the entire coast. Youngsters here are not only safe, but they are under the expert supervision of trained attendants. It’s all free too!

See what exercise will do!

Lifeguards put in a long, hard day — as this photo clearly illustrates.

Always watching …. and often watched …. these capable lifeguards are patroling Hampton Beach this summer. They are (left to right) Frederick Polcari (27), Walter Coulson (23), William E. Glynn (27), and Joseph Preston (26). In the interests of feminine readers we list a few statistics. Dark haired Mr. Polcari is from Belmont, Mass., and has won cups in diving in Florida and California, where he supervised water shows and diving exhibitions. Walter Coulson from Lawrence is a Harvard graduate and attends its Medical School. Head Lifeguard Glynn of Springfield, Mass., was graduated from West Point in 1945 where he was Captain of the swimming team. Mr. Preston is from Arlington. He attended Harvard and served in the Marine Corps during the War. Not included in the photo are Ernest Rainey, Jr., who is a former Calisthemics Instructor at Hampton; Henry Stone of Manchester and James J. McDonnell of Hampton.

A big day in the life of a blind lad. Maurice Bird of Nashua learned that the world has a heart. Blind since he was six months old, young Maurice loved to sing. He wanted to compete on the 1948 Talent Parade, held at the bandstand and directed by Hampton’s Singing Cop, Bill Elliot …. but Maurice was too young. Bill let him sing, however, and when Maurice had finished his “Now Is The Hour,” the audience, led by Lieut. Fred Link of Troy, N.Y., insisted upon presenting him with donations, which finally reached the total of $400. The photo shows him being congratulated by Bill and Mr. Ray L. Goding.

Since the turn of the century Colonel George Ashworth has been identified with the development of Hampton Beach. Born and educated in Haverhill, Mass., he came to the Beach in 1900 when he built the Avon Hotel, which he sold after six years of operation. in 1905 he built “The Ashworth,” which within the following five year period was twice destroyed by fire and rebuilt. It is one of the leading hotels in Hampton Beach, having sixty rooms and a history of catering to celebrities. Among its guests have been President Franklin Roosevelt, all Massachusetts governors in recent times, many New England political leaders and executives, and countless business men of distinction.
     Colonel Ashworth has not only conducted his Hotel with eminent success, but has interested himself in a variety of worthwhile movements in the Beach district. He is a director of the New Hampshire Seacoast Regional Development Association, and the American Shore and Beach Association. He has been president of the N. H. Seacoast Development Commission and has served as chairman of the Hampton Beach Precinct for many years.

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