Celebrating Our 100th Anniversary
Hampton Beach Village District
- Part 2 -
Atlantic News, Friday, August 24, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
[See related playground article by Dorothy D. Holman.]
As the celebrations and festivities for the 100th year anniversary of the of the Hampton Village Precinct get underway, we are paying homage and respect to the many individuals and families whose contributions have shaped the rich history of this community.
Since the early days of the 20th Century, life on Hampton Beach has been influenced by the sea, the weather and the influx of many visitors arriving by stage coach, rail, trolley and the modern automobile. As we look to the future, we will continue to welcome our visitors with suitable accommodations and provide the quality entertainment and special events that will bring them back year after year.
In 1907 the Hampton Beach Village District was established. At that time, the beach community had very specific needs. With a history of devastating fires, it needed fire protection equipment and fire hydrants to provide water to fight the fires. Dusty roads needed to be watered. The area was growing rapidly and providing basic services like sewer maintenance and access to municipal water was a necessity.
When the Hampton voters failed to authorize the monies for these needs, the beach residents petitioned to form the Precinct. On June 26, 1907 residents voted to create the precinct. Since then, a surtax has been collected from the Precinct property owners.
At its annual meeting, the Precinct registered voters discuss and approve the budget and elect the Precinct Commissioners and officers. Currently the budget is used to promote Hampton Beach and the Precinct activities and events. The nightly concerts at the Sea Shell, the weekly fireworks, the Sand Sculpture Competition, the Idol Competition and other events are funded as part of the Precinct budget. Precinct capital improvements, maintenance of the Children's Playground and the support for the numerous beautification projects are also included in the expenditures.
For the past century, our community has welcomed many visitors seeking recreation, relaxation and scenic beauty. Many families think of Hampton Beach as their "beach family" and have passed traditions from generation to generation.
Adults who first came with their grandparents now bring their own children and grandchildren. Seniors, who first danced at the Casino Ballroom, still stroll on the boardwalk. Every family that visits soon develops a traditional routine of their own, the place to stay, favorite foods and restaurants and, most importantly, their specific "beach sand spot." All these routines have become for many families cherished memories.
Hampton Beach is an entrepreneurial and resourceful community. In early spring, the sounds of hammers can be heard as businesses and property owners prepare for yet another season. Sometimes walking through snow, prospective renters, with maps clutched in their hands, look for that ideal place to enjoy their family vacation. Neighbors talk to their returning friends and share their hopes for good weather and a busy tourist season.
Volunteers have played an important part in the development of our Precinct community. Whether it was the first firemen who had only wet sheets to protect themselves from the flames, or the women's club that supported them with food and drink as they fought fires. The volunteers that participated in the "raking bees" of yesterday to the beach cleanup and environmental groups of today.
The longstanding traditions continue such as the Hampton firefighters organizing the annual Toy Bank campaign or restaurants that host chili and chowder contests for charity. Lately, the efforts of a few dedicated gardeners who plant and maintain the numerous Precinct garden areas, all examples and testimony to the generosity and strength of our community spirit.
For 100 years, Hampton Beach has developed into a major seaside destination, along the short New Hampshire coastline. The scenery along the beach and marsh is unsurpassed. The beach and the ocean are our natural attractions. We have combined the natural resources, with accommodations, restaurants and entertainment that provide visitors with an enjoyable stay.
As more families become year-round residents, it will be important to be mindful of protecting and managing these resources. The changes we seek and the expected growth can be managed wisely. We are a spirited community, one that will be engaged in charting its destiny for generations to come.