A Steamer Paradise
Throw your satchel on board and lets head to Grape Island for some "natural" rest! The Sepia Saturday prompt this week show's a steamboat getting ready to disembark to points unknown. I found this postcard in my collection of local points of interest.
The "Carlotta" would ply the Parker River from the High Road Bridge in Newbury, Massachusetts to the very end of Plum Island in Ipswich. As you can see she isn't very big, but she must have been a busy little vessel.
Grape Island was once a summer destination on the back side of Plum Island. Apparently there were many summer camps and 2 hotels there. In the summer months there were concerts and many sporting events. A few adventurous souls stayed there year round to farm the land and dig clams which were bountiful.
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In the 1940's the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began purchasing the lower 7 miles of Plum Island, Grape Island as well as the surrounding estuaries. This created the Parker River Wildlife Refuge. Property owners could strike a deal to stay on their property to the day they died by paying rent at $10.00 per month. Lew Kilborn was the last person to live on Grape Island till 1984 when he passed at the age of 82.
Passing the island today on the Parker River you see no evidence of the once vibrant summer community but if you listen carefully you might hear one of those pleasant afternoon summer concerts on the veranda of the hotel.