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Hampton Beach Village District
– Part 3 –

By Alicia Dane

Atlantic News, Friday, August 31, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]

Shirley Gilmore Foote, 1932

(Editor’s Note: This is the third of a series of articles provided by members of the “Precinct Pen” Newsletter Committee of the Hampton Beach Village District.)

There have been many events worth remembering throughout the 100 years of Hampton Beach history. One memory was the storm which tragically washed away the White Rocks Island section of the beach in April, 1929.

Born on April 23, 1921, Violet Dubois has spent the summers at her beach home on Ocean Boulevard, since she was six weeks old. As a little girl she “loved the smell of the salt air” and remembers being evacuated from her home to the school because of the danger of the storm.

Violet shared the story of how her home had to be moved back when the new bridge was built in 1949. As a teenager, Vie’s first job was at Lorenzo’s and later hosted at the Ashworth of which she has many fond memories.

Another resident with many interesting memories of the beach is Diana LaMontagne. Born on April 17, 1926, Diana was also rescued by Coast Guard men during the storm as her home was swept out to sea. She remembers being taken out through the rooftop when she was only four years old.

Other happier memories Diana shared were of her husband, Arthur, who was a volunteer fireman and her many years as a member of the Precinct Women’s Club. She especially enjoyed the annual Christmas party, where the fire chief, Pearly George would play Santa Claus for the children. The gifts were provided by the Women’s Club and the children would line up at the fire station.

Roseanna Wright experienced the storm in 1929 as well. She added, “There were wooden breakwaters on the beach that prevented the big waves from washing out the houses and scenery.” Although these breakers were gargantuan, they have long since been covered over by sand dunes.

Cathy and Sue Foote, 1962

Shirley Foote shared a photo of herself when her family lived in a cottage on Beckman’s point. It didn’t have water or electricity. They had to get water from a well at a local store. The dunes on the point were full of nesting terns and it was difficult to get down to the beach without being attacked by the birds.

She also remembers that her great uncle Will Locke was the first toll taker on the mile-long wooden bridge and how she had to pay him three cents to ride her bike across it. After a trolley car hit the toll booth and knocked it off the bridge, it was moved to the Hampton side of the river.

Shirley’s daughters, Cathy and Sue shared their memories of being dressed up as “Sea Urchins” for the Children’s Festival Parade. Their sign advertised Smith & Gilmore’s, and costumes were made up of fish nets, seaweeds, and starfish, and by the end of the parade the smell was very pungent.

We know there are many other fascinating Hampton Beach stories from the past one hundred years. Do you have a memory to share? We would love to hear about it! Contact any Precinct Pen Committee member and tell us your fondest remembrances or traditions.

Alicia Dane, a high school freshman from Chicopee, Massachusetts volunteered her time to do these interviews.

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