Saturday, February 11, 2012


The town of Marblehead, Massachusetts is set on a peninsula across the harbor from Salem. This selection of view cards includes structures, rocky promontories, and beaches, all as photographed ca. 1905. Nanepashemet, the namesake of the hotel above, was a Sachem of the Pawtucket Confederation until shortly before the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620. Though he was killed by members of a rival tribe, a contributing factor to his downfall was the smallpox epidemic that decimated much of Native New England in the aftermath of the first contacts with Europeans. The Nanepashemet was destroyed by fire in 1914; the the Rockmere below, which was only a few years old when the image shown was captured, was demolished in 1965.

In the postcard above an additional line of explanatory text was added below the title: "Built 1714 of Materials brought from England." The church still stands.

I at first assumed that "Moll Pitcher" above was an error for "Molly Pitcher," the famous Revolutionary War heroine, but not so; she was a Marblehead (and later Lynn) woman (ca. 1736-1813), renowned as a clairvoyant, who was the subject of a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, a four-act drama by Joseph Stevens Jones, and an 1895 volume by Ellen Mary Griffin Hoey entitled Moll Pitcher's Prophecies: Or, The American Sibyl.

Above, two nearly identical scenes.

I assume that "Highlaud Ave." was an error for "Highland Ave." Such spelling errors are not uncommon in Rotograph cards.

Sources: Tolles, Bryant Franklin, Summer by the Seaside: The Architecture of New England Coastal Resort Hotels 1820-1950, University Press of New England, 2008.

1 comment:

Richard Levine said...

Thank you for the walk back in time...great photos.