Despite it being a day in late September, Friday was an unusually busy day at the Green Hill Beach. The effects of hurricane Fiona were being seen on the coast of New England and the surfers were taking full advantage. At one point, there were close to 20 people surfing at Green Hill Beach and the beach at The Hill area. For those non-surfers, it was also a chance to catch a spot of sandy beach at the GHCA beach area.
Thank you to all who joined us for movie night! We shared all the feels: from laughing and crying along with the movie to the simple joys of spending time with our Green Hill friends. It was an enjoyable and beautiful summer night under the stars!
GHCA’s third annual Porchfest was held on Saturday, July 23rd, in the O’Connor’s backyard. Almost 100 people brought lawn chairs, snacks, and beverages to enjoy the music anchored once again by Rik and Wendi Bourne. This year’s Porchfest featured performances by a number of first-timers as well as some of those who have played before. First-time performers included Dave Calabrese, Andrew and Laura Heyman, and Andy Harrell. Returning to the open mic were Rik and Wendi Bourne, Mal and Bonnie O’Connor, and Elwood Roberts. A number of people came up afterward to ask how they could sing and play at future Porchfests, and we’re looking forward to their participation next year. A good time was had by all, and we look forward to making Porchfest 2023 even better.
The Green Hill community showed up in record numbers to participate in this year’s beach and neighborhood clean-up. The cloudy skies could not dampen the enthusiasm of the motivated team of volunteers who collected debris large and small. Thanks to everyone who showed up to keep our Green Hill clean! A special thanks to Mal O’Connor who treated everyone to coffee and donuts, and to Pete Jackson for hauling away the many bags of trash. Maintaining our beautiful space requires constant upkeep, so please feel free to use the poop bags provided at the beach entrances to pick up bits of trash on your next walk! Enjoy 😊
Below are a couple of old photos of the patio that would likely be of interest to many! Yeah, it’s actually a deck, but still everyone called it the patio! I was showing some folks these photos at the picnic and it was mind blowing for those who remember it and instructive to those who never knew about it.
You occasionally hear of the “parking lot beach” (Hill Association) referred to as the “patio beach”. Old timers still call it that because there was once this wood deck in the dunes at beach. Actually it existed over what is now the beach and there were dunes beyond it and beach beyond that. The current concrete pathway existed back then and went farther out. From there the pathway turned west at an angle, then a wooden ramp went up out to the deck. As kids we’d ride our bikes up on the deck to get a visual of the beach condition to report back home!
In this photo you can see in the distance the former GH Beach Club Building. It pretty much looked like that until hurricane Sandy destroyed it. The contemporary house to the right of that in the photo, was remodeled in the last 10-15 years and is now the green colonial at the foot of Rose Briar.
My Dad, John Graf, took these pictures as slides around 1982 and what you see here are just photos I took of those slide projected images, so not the best quality. Based on what I can figure, I believe the old wood “patio” was gone by the late 80’s. But I’m sure others will remember more of that story and maybe posting these pictures will help get people talking and remembering “the rest of the story”. Perhaps even dig up some better photos of it!
Our first Sidewalk Chalk Day competition was a huge success! 17 of Green Hill’s young artists competed in this year’s competition by showing off their artistic skills with a patriotic theme and they also had lots of fun. The contestants included Adam, Bowen, Cathleen, Charlie, Dylan, Elise, Giuliana, Leila, Matilda, Murray, Odette, Peyton, Rosie, Ruby, Ryder, Will, and Will C. Because all of the drawings were so good, the judges had to select the winning artist by picking a name out of the hat. Congratulations to Giuliana, our 2021 Sidewalk Chalk Day winning artist. All of the contestants deserve our thanks and a special round of applause for sharing their creative skills with us.
For those young budding artists who could not join us, we look forward to hosting another competition next summer.
-Mary Ann and Linda
My love for Green Hill could have started before I was born, since my mother and father spent their honeymoon at a farm house (since burned) that was located at the top of the hill on the site of the old Army Towers.
Among the early residents at Green Hill were Capt Hooper at the Coast Guard Station, Ray Adams, the bird bath man who should have been a geologist, Harold Aust, Julia Ward and Howard Holburton and his wife. A bit farther back on School House Road, but still in Green Hill was Mrs Valentine who did our weekly wash and ironing(no electrical appliances in those days), the Brownings who supplied us with all of our meats, vegetables, and milk, and the Holbertons who did all of our baking. We hardly ever drove to town except to replace our staples, since it was a half-day trip to Wakefield by horse and buggy.
Our summer home, from June until November, was the Ward farm house – built in 1788 and is still standing. It was then owned by Julia Ward’s parents, today Mrs. Roger Holden lives there.
Our trip began before daylight in the village of Phenix in the Town of West Warwick. We traveled by horse and cariole with the fringe on the top. My Uncle Winfield Himes, a druggist, and an assortment of relatives came along: grandmother, aunt cousin, brother, etc. The wagon was heavily loaded with our belongings for six months stay, sufficient provisions until we could replenish from our friends, the local farmer, shellfish from the ponds and fish from the ocean.
When we reached Larkins Pond, now the site of Girl Scout Camp Hoffman on Ministerial Road, we would unhitch the horse, lunch, rest and get ready for the long climb up the sandy hills, and our first view of our Atlantic Ocean.
The only buildings visible from Ward’s Pastures were to the east across Trustom Pond and on the beach at Moonstone. The oldest was used by Ira Knight and family, the other by the Gee family and the only private home I have ever seen where the bedrooms were numbered from, as I remember, one to eight (a large family). These buildings were destroyed in the 1938 hurricane, as were all summer homes on the beach at Green Hill, west of the Beal’s home.
Another somewhat vague recollection I have was the building of the U.S. Life Saving Station about 1908 or 1909. All of the building materials were brought in by wagon from School House Road through the cow pastures up to the Ward farm and then down to the ocean front. There were also small key stations built upon the dune lines at Moonstone and Charlestown, and it was the duty of the Coast Guardsmen to patrol the distance by foot whenever visibility was poor during storms or fog. In the early years of this century, when there was much shipping on our waterways, our whole coast was patrolled from Maine to Florida in such manner.
There must be quite a few families who remember the army moving in during World War II erecting the metal building on site where the coast guard station had been dismantled, and insisting that every home be completely blacked out at night. If a 1/2 inch of light was showing around a window you received a knock on the door and were told about it. During the day, they did not interfere with our normal activities such as use of beach and ponds.
Green Hill had its greatest building boom after the ’38 hurricane and during the early forties. It is one of the very few beaches situated well above sea level and therefore safe from tidal waves and hurricanes. Some of the families who had homes at Charlestown that were lost in the 1938 Hurricane returned, bought land, and built here. Among them were the Bristers, Haynes, Lorings and Beals.
By Donald Sipes Spencer
February 7, 1905 to July 21, 1992