Sepia Saturday - Beach Birthday

With perfect timing, this week's theme has children in it and this Sepia Saturday falls on my birthday. No I'm not that old even though a sepia photo seems to be associated with my birthday. I just age well. :)

This is the Ipswich (Massachusetts) range light. It's actually the rear and the taller of two light houses. Range lights work when you line up the lights out at sea. They were meant to help guide your boat through the difficult shoals of Ipswich Bay and on into Ipswich and Parker Rivers.

The keeper's house is in back of this lighthouse and that's the focus of this Sepia Saturday post. Those happy kids are having a party inside that house. That's me in front of the window on July 21, 19??.

The upper photo was taken around 1937 and by the time this party rolled around there were some significant changes to the landscape. That lighthouse was discontinued and replaced with a simple skeleton tower with an automated light. The lighthouse was packed up and barged to Martha's Vineyard and is a working beacon there this very day. The keeper's house was given to the town of Ipswich and residents could, through a lottery system, rent it for a week.

Photo: CrazyasaCoolFox
This is how all these rug rats ended up here. Our uncle won that lottery! How lucky he was and how lucky we all were to live in a lighthouse keeper's house on Crane's Beach for a week. We were the only ones on the beach at night as the day beach goers had to drive back to town. I can remember we had an ice delivery every day as there was no electric refrigerator. To my recollection there was electricity but no running water. Water was hand pumped for washing and bathing but drinking water had to be delivered as the water from the ground was brackish.

Looking carefully on the hill you can see the outline of the Crane mansion. The Crane's (of toilet bowl fame) left their entire estate to the Town of Ipswich and the Trustees of Reservations.

Today the old keepers cottage is gone destroyed in a suspicious fire in the 1970. Crane's Beach remains one the most popular and pristine of all beaches in Massachusetts.

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Wendy said…
Yeah, a week with no running water and no electric refrigerator sounds like great fun. Seriously, having the beach to yourself must have been a wonderful adventure. I enjoyed reading the history of Crane's Beach.
Alan Burnett said…
What a fascinating story. Rental lotteries and toilet bowl millionaires - and a couple of great old images as well.
The fire was probably set by somebody who couldn't ever seem to win the lottery. I am so glad that you guys got to go and that you have the pictures and memories of a place that is no longer there. What a wonderful post.

Happy Birthday!

Kathy M.
Postcardy said…
The week in the keeper's house must have been a lot of fun. Definitely something to remember.
Kristin said…
Even without running water it sounds like a wonderful place to spend a week. I wish I would win a lottery right now to spend a week in a semi-private cottage on the ocean!!
Queen Bee said…
I love lighthouses and the history behind them. They are such a part of the past and fascinating too. Happy Birthday!
Mike Brubaker said…
I've had my share of similar beach summers. Rustic cottages that we called primitive motel-ing! A perfect place for a birthday celebration. Best wishes for many more!

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