Archive for August, 2014

COTUIT’S RECENT HISTORY

August 2, 2014

COTUIT – LOST AND FOUND by David Churbuck,  April 2014
Changes have been subtle in the village over the last 25 years, an old barn torn down one year, a new house on the same lot the next, little things that are part of progress and the cycle of change that any place can expect.
The old families are dwindling, or hiding. Names that were a part of Cotuit for centuries like Bearse, Coleman, Crocker, Hamblin, Handy , Hodges, Lovell, and Nickerson are becoming rarer as the village makes the transition from a two-season community to a year-round home for retirees, Boston commuters, and summer kids who have become year-rounders.
Who remembers the park when it was like a commune filled with hippies?  Now we have great public events like the Craft Fair, and the Brush-Off auctioning off freshly painted scenes of the village.
The volunteer spirit of the Fire District – back when the fire department was an all- volunteer affair – has given way to a professional and a bit more contentious structure. The Fire Department’s whistle blew every day at noon. Any other time the number of blasts told which part of the village the fire was located, so volunteers could rush directly to the fire.  Now we have a motor boat to rescue stranded sailers.
The harbor once had 50 boats in it at the height of the summer. You set and pulled your own mooring. Now two thirds of the harbor is paved with boats, the launch is doing a booming business, mooring permits are precious, and our waterways are under immense pressure. The harbor is essentially dead. Once the bay was alive with eel grass and scallops and schools of scup. Popponesset Bay developed great algal blooms, signs of the sewage we continue to pour into our sandy soil.
In contrast, Cotuit made great progress in land preservation.  Mary Barton Trust saved 108 acres around Eagle Pond, and added more at the Almy Cedar Swamp, Bell Farm and Cordwood Road, now managed by Barnstable Land Trust.  A golf course at Santuit Pond was stopped, and pristine woodland and bogs preserved.  Cotuit Solar has been a local leader in alternative power sources.
The Fourth of July Parade is one of the most popular in town, featuring the squirting clam of EPAC Grotto of Masons, which escalated into a now forbidden water fight. Santa’s arrival at the Town Dock is an annual celebration.
The return of the ospreys celebrates the publicity that Dr. Stanley Cobb gave to the poisoning by killing mosquitoes with DDT.
The Cotuit Kettleers won the Cape championships in 1984, 1985, 2005, and 2013.  Lowell Park has been renovated, with new bleachers, a two story building honoring the founder Arnold Mycock, a new snack bar and toilets.
The Cotuit Elementary School closed, but has been replaced by an active Waldorf School. The new Kettle-Ho carries on. The village grocery, the Coop, survived the invasion of a large supermarket. It gave birth to the Cotuit Center for the Arts, featuring plays and paintings by local artists.  After a fire, it moved to a fine new gallery and theater on Route 28.  The Cahoon Museum of American Art was established, to become one of the Cape’s most distinguished museums.
The 100th anniversary of the Cotuit Mosquito Yacht Club was celebrated in 2006 by a race of more than 60 skiffs, the oldest wooden racing fleet in America
The Cotuit Oyster Company came under new management which now provides the famous Cotuit Oyster to some of the best restaurants in the US and Canada. The efforts of the shellfishing community have made clams important. A major effort to reopen Rushy Marsh to the sea was overcome by sea King Canute.
So, in the last quarter century Cotuit has lost so much, but has changed for the better.

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