Hampton Beach Project -- The Riots of 1964 -- July 22 - August 10, 1965
The Riots of 1964 -- Chapter 9
July 22 - August 10, 1965
Project Director's Report
Paul Estaver, Director
July 22 - August 10, 1965
During the period July 22nd to August 10th the Hampton Beach Project settled down to some substantial accomplishments despite a residue of problems from the previous months. On the one hand there were continued difficulties within the staff when a few of its members continued attempts at intervention with the business community, but on the other hand various phases of the program took substantial shape: work continued on the CAVE building, research and coding were carried forward, membership continued to grow strongly, while a number of entertainment and other projects were carried on successfully. Under newly appointed chairman Wilfred Cunningham the TAR Committee's continuity was picked up and discussions were pursued on public relations policy, the summer program, and the need to establish a Labor Day program.
Project Staff - Continued Internal Problems
Much of the difficulty in the relationship between the staff workers and the business community could have been avoided had it not been for an unfortunate circumstance: one of the staff workers became both seriously disoriented and hyper-active. With the general burst of enthusiasm and energy of the staff during mid-July, this individual's problem was not noticed until one day when it was suddenly apparent that he was having both memory and orientation difficulties. He was retained over the course of the next week or more in the hope that he could regain his balance, but ultimately his conduct became so disruptive that it was necessary to release him.
In briefest possible terms, he became convinced that I was either "a genius pulling strings behind the scenes or totally incompetent." Since, as he said, his inability to decide between the two gave him headaches, he finally chose the latter conclusion and proceeded to act upon it. Over a period of about a week he called a meeting of the staff workers, then a meeting between the staff and the C of C officers, both with the intent of "saving the project by having Estaver removed." When both meetings failed to accomplish their purpose, he then embarked upon a personal campaign, approaching one director after another to state his views. In the midst of this he met me on the street, told me what he was about, and suggested that I fire him.
My choice was to suspend him for the moment and refer him to Chairman Cunningham who subsequently released him as pleasantly as possible. Thereafter Cunningham met with the staff and announced that intervention should no longer be undertaken with the business community, more or less concluding the matter.
Meanwhile a certain additional element of distrust had been added to the already strained relations between some of the C of C directors and the project administrators, making it all the more difficult to reach consensus and compromise for the ongoing programs. The few contacts that were made between the staff and the directors after Cunningham's cease-and-desist order continued to be disruptive. A case in point was the matter of one-day training conference at Boston University's Institute of Law Medicine.
Training Session at Boston University
This excellent session, conducted by Dr. Catherine Richards, was of considerable value both to the project workers and administrators. Had it taken place June 3rd instead of August 3rd it would have been even more worthwhile. Over the course of a full day, including a luncheon session, there were discussed the whole range of characteristics, needs and problems of present-day youth in a rapidly changing society; the conflicts between this new generation and the established adult society; and possible methods of resolving these problems on both theoretical and specifically practical levels.
When at one point the question of dancing was advanced, Dr. Richards' response was a complex one, embracing the concept that dancing is a necessary expressive outlet for youth, a ritual in a non-ritualistic society, frequently intolerable to adult groups for a variety of reasons. Regarding rock and roll specifically, she said it needs to be used as a social device in controlled circumstances, that like any ritual it can excite to excessive behavior the occasional volatile individual with insufficient self-control. The need then became to assure that CAVE functions include sufficient controls - internal, through self direction and motivation, and external, through supervision effective enough to offer bounds yet lightly enough administered to avoid the antagonism youth feels under restraint.
The entire discussion on dancing may have taken fifteen minutes out of a six-hour day, yet as a result of a staff member's subsequent contact with the business community, Hampton Beach heard a simplified and distorted version of the conference - that it was "a secret session" in Boston, that we had been told rock and roll dancing was inciteful to riots and had been strongly discouraged from continuing it.
Cunningham TAR Chairman
During the period July 22 - August 10 Chairman Cunningham quickly briefed himself on the policies to be considered by the TAR Committee through a series of conferences with Van Nostrand, Stone, Hammond, and myself and by an extensive review of TAR reports. Cunningham also made it a point to invite Stone to remain on the TAR Committee, which Stone regretfully declined, for the same reasons stated in resigning his chairmanship - that he felt the meat had been cut from the program and it could no longer hope to achieve its stated goals.
A brief report on programs in process was given at the next TAR meeting, held on July 28; the procedure to obtain permission for CAVE events on any state property through the parks department and various police departments was discussed; and a preliminary discussion of a possible Labor Day program was touched upon.
Debate on Public Relations
Much of the meeting centered around the need for publicity if CAVE's events were to draw good attendance. As mentioned above, a substantial reason for the success of the WBZ-CAVE dance at the Casino had been worker Don Murphy's efforts in public relations, and with the first test of the state bathhouse area for a beach party coming up it was felt necessary to give Murphy continued permission to publicize the event through whatever newspaper and radio coverage he could get in surrounding New Hampshire towns, in the Merrimack Valley, and perhaps even in Boston.
Murphy had also made preliminary arrangements for one of the staff administrators and Chief Leavitt to go to Haverhill, Massachusetts, with one or two CAVE workers or members to tape a special program on WHAV in hope of further spreading the story of CAVE's work. It was felt that if this program could be carried off successfully, an approach should be made to WBZ's nightly forum, "Contact."
In the course of the subsequent discussion, the TAR Committee divided into two philosophical groupings. One approach was that reports and publicity of constructive activity with young people could do nothing but benefit Hampton Beach, that part of the function of the Hampton Beach Project was to change the image of the resort from one where young people were regarded as troublesome to one where youth were taking an important part in community life and planning their own healthy affairs. The other camp took the view that the Project's job was to entertain young people already at the beach and to avoid in any possible way bringing additional young people, that any publicity which dealt at this time of year with the riot problem was potentially dangerous, that particularly on radio programs a sharp reporter can trip up an unwary or inexperienced participant.
The conclusion of the discussion was that in general publicity should be confined to the beach itself. Inasmuch as the coming beach party at the bathhouse was not certain of drawing sufficient attendance, permission was given for a mass mailing to CAVE members announcing the event. Otherwise, newspapers should have reports only of CAVE programs after they had taken place.
On the question of WHAV, it was decided that if the radio station would bring its equipment to Hampton, a carefully chosen panel might attempt a half-hour tape so long as it would be subject to the TAR Committee's review before release. If this proved an acceptable experiment, then the question of WBZ might be brought before the Chamber of Commerce directors.
Hampton Selectmen Withdraw Support
In the course of the meeting Selectman Noel Salomon reiterated the stand the selectmen of Hampton had already taken publicly - that without the device of dancing the Hampton Beach Project no longer had the potential to fulfill its purpose. He further said that the selectmen had asked him to continue in attendance at TAR Committee meetings to keep abreast of whatever decisions were made, but that he himself would take no active part in discussions or voting.
The statement of the selectmen to which he referred was one made in a press conference, following a letter of protest to the Office of Juvenile Delinquency after the Chamber of Commerce directors finally eliminated dancing from the summer program. In effect, both the letter and the statement for the press said that the Town of Hampton could no longer support the Project and that it was advising the Washington office of this fact. Subsequently Stone made similar statements, arguing that the Project was watered down beyond a point of effectiveness.
In the immediately local newspapers, the selectmen's statements were carried in full and it was clear that their objection to the Project in its present status was that it was not extensive enough in scope. However, the wire service reports and, as a result, the stories carried by Boston and Merrimack Valley newspapers said simply "Hampton selectmen move to dump youth project," compounding the confusion.
The reactions were varied - CAVE members and workers were fearful that, for whatever reason, the project would now be closed down. Several of the Chamber of Commerce directors made brief statements for publication saying that the chamber felt there was sufficient program to carry forward effectively. Many other C of C members maintained an angry silence. Unhappily, the effect of the whole affair was the additional one more impediment with which to cope.
Meanwhile, other factors were working toward more harmony between the project and the Chamber of Commerce. One certainly was the research report given by Drs. Palmer and Kenney to the Chamber directors early in August. Over perhaps 45 minutes' discussion, they outlined the methods that were used in gathering research and made it clear that what was hoped for were not any preconceived conclusions, but simply an analysis of attitudes of both adults and young people involved. Particularly they gave a strong recommendation to the staff workers who were conducting the research. It had been hoped that some tentative conclusion would be available from the preliminary coding and tabulating for presentation by this time, but unfortunately one worker had thrown away all the coding sheets on the first 70-odd interviews after the tabulating was done, not realizing that the coding sheets were necessary for any sort of cross-tabulation, so the coding had to be started over again from scratch late in the month of July.
At an August 4th TAR meeting the whole question of press relations was once again discussed, essentially on the same lines as in the previous meeting. With Preston's strong recommendation, it was finally decided that limited attempts should be made to tell the Project story, and a press conference was set up for a Portsmouth radio station to be attended by C of C President Walter Vanderpool, Chief Leavitt and possibly one or two of the staff workers.
The question of the Labor Day program was again raised. The first problem considered was that of funds. It was not clear whether further money would be available from the federal grant for use in this manner, and there was no assurance that CAVE functions would raise a sufficient sum to carry a program like that of the Fourth of July weekend. It was therefore decided that the following questions must be answered before further discussion could take place: Exactly what a Labor Day program would cost and an exact determination of the source of funds to support it.
The following week, in response to a C of C request, the TAR officers and a group of the staff workers presented at a directors meeting a half-hour report on details of the program carried forward to that date. It proved to be a harmonious occasion; the staff were congratulated on their work and requested to continue it as strongly as possible.
CAVE Membership Analysis
Despite discouraging morale factors, new members continued to join CAVE in substantial numbers at least through the third week in August when new registration dropped off rather sharply. The number of card carrying members by July 7 was 1000; by July 18 it had reached the 1500 mark; by August 1, 2000; and by August 19 the figure was 2500. The final figure for the season was in the vicinity of 2600.
Several apparent factors helped to keep registration climbing during various periods of the summer: about July 1, the presence of the new building on the beachfront made CAVE more accessible and visible; when in mid-July we finally got doors, there were less restrictions on hours when we could have camera and records available for use; and particularly as various CAVE programs began to take place with special discounts for card carrying members, there would always be a surge of new membership just before the event.
A comparison of these figures with those quoted for the months of May and June would show a discrepancy. There were two basic methods by which we kept a tally of membership: the first group were those who came in, and were interested enough in CAVE to fill out a 3 x 5 data card giving their name, age, address, etc.; the second group were those who took the trouble to have their picture taken, go through the rather cumbersome registration procedure, and produce identification in order to receive their CAVE card. A third group did go through this procedure but never returned to receive the CAVE card for one of several reasons.
At best, the record keeping was a little chaotic since it was done variously by staff workers and a number of both youth and adult volunteers. Not all the members filled out all the information on the 3 x 5 cards, and the several ways we had of keeping records do not show matching figures. However, the aggregate of the numbers is sufficient to give an overall picture of CAVE membership and at least a fair idea of some categorical details.
The chart on Page 222A summarizes all these figures. The total of 3,037 on Column 3 represents the number of young people who came in to fill out the 3 x 5 cards. The total of Column 4 represents the number who were actually processed for CAVE cards. The figure 2,046 is taken from the 3 x 5 card file, but the parenthesized figure below of 2,344 is that of the numerical log book and probably more accurate. Of this number 411 did not ultimately return to pick up their ID cards. Many of these did not have identification to obtain the card first time through and never troubled to come back. A great many others did not get their picture taken, either because the camera had temporarily run out of film or because there was no one else around to enable us to take the necessary group shots. In either case it obviously represents a certain amount of apathy. Summarizing - the grand total of those who were at least initially interested in CAVE was about 3000; the number who became members was roughly two-thirds of the total. The most active participants on a daily basis, particularly when it came to doing any sort of work, was probably somewhere between 50 and 125. The number of card carrying CAVE members who attended the larger CAVE functions ranged from 200 to 350 - usually about one-third of the total crowd present.
In dividing them by areas we made the classifications in the following manner. The total of 191 who came from Hampton included also the adjacent towns of Hampton Falls and North Hampton. The "20 Mile Radius" category includes Newburyport and Amesbury on the south, Exeter on the west, and Dover and Portsmouth on the north. The "New Hampshire Miscellaneous" category represents the rest of the state, but the greatest majority of these were either from Manchester or Nashua, approximately 50 miles distant. The "Merrimack Valley" category was obviously by far the largest of all, comprising about one-third of the CAVE membership. The towns included in this category ranged from Haverhill to Lowell, Massachusetts, and vicinities, an area varying from 25 to 40 miles in its distance from Hampton Beach. Interestingly enough, the greatest membership from any city was from Lowell at the outer perimeter of this area.
"Central Massachusetts" represented roughly the middle third of the state, including such cities as Leominster, Lunenburg, Fitchburg, Worcester and the surrounding towns ranging in distance from Hampton from 60 to 75 miles. The "Western Massachusetts" group represents cities and towns 100 or more miles from Hampton Beach. "Miscellaneous Massachusetts" included a great number from the North Shore area - such towns as Lynn, Salem and Wakefield.
[Insert hand done chart]
The categories representing frequency at the beach were evaluated as follows. "Seasonal" is self-explanatory. "Daily" included those who came to the beach four or more times per week. "Weekends" also is self-explanatory. "Weekly" included those who came one to three times per week, but not necessarily on weekends. "Vacation" embraced those on extended stays varying in length from two weeks to six, averaging something between two and three. Many of these also came weekends during the remainder of the season. "Occasionally" was construed to include those who visited the beach two or three times a month but not on a regular weekly basis, and "Seldom" represents those who came only once or twice a summer.
In attempting to judge how many CAVE members were at Hampton Beach at any given time, one might reach at least a reasonable estimate for weekends by combining the totals for Seasonal, Hampton Residents, Weekends, Daily, half of the number who came weekly, half of the number who came for vacations, and 10% of those who came occasionally or seldom. Such a total would be 2175.
To estimate the number of CAVE members on a non-weekend day, one could perhaps take the total of the Seasonal, half those on vacation, half the Daily group, half the Hampton residents, half the Weekly group, 10% of the Occasional and Seldom group, totaling 1,133.
The question then becomes what portion of the total number of young people on the beach did CAVE represent. Here again we are working with estimates, but at least a general idea can be obtained from Town Manager Kenneth Boehner's calculations that an average day's population at the beach would total 25 to 30 thousand people and that half these would be young people, thus a "guesstimate" of CAVE membership on ordinary days and on ordinary weekends would run somewhere about 8 to 10% - enough to have had a significant effect on behavior patterns of Hampton's youth society.
CAVE Programs Continued
During this late July - early August period several elements which were to be included in the CAVE program proved not to be feasible, in most cases because the need for them had been earlier in the season. Such a one was the job-service function. The lodging service was carried through to the point of obtaining a listing of 25-odd rooming houses and hotels which would accept young people at reasonable rates - but by August most of the young people were already pretty well settled in. The hope of setting up some sort of professional guidance service proved impractical simply because the guidance person available had long since turned her attentions elsewhere.
However, work on the building did continue periodically through the summer. By mid-July the small office portion of the building had been enclosed and fitted with a door. By August 1st telephone, and finally lights, were installed. There was not sufficient money for materials to finish the floor or the walls, but sections of wallboard were put up for use as bulletin boards and did much to tidy up the place.
Some of the money-raising ideas turned out well, while others were of varying success. On the weekend of July 31 - August 1, we had Tag Days, bringing in a total of $189. The first day was significantly more successful than the second, since a number of the volunteer workers had encountered strong negative reactions from a few individuals on the street and were too discouraged to try it a second day. A car wash was held August 7 at a charge of $1.00 per car, $.50 going to the worker and $.50 going to CAVE. CAVE's net income from the day was $14.50. It conceivably could have been larger if any other location than the parking lot adjacent to the police station could have been found and if it had been possible to have more than one hose working at one time. Nonetheless it was regarded as sufficiently worthwhile to try at a later date, since it did at least give volunteers a little spending money.
Cake sales, slave auctions, and a number of other fairly common money-raising devices were discussed, but did not draw enthusiasm from CAVE members. It was a general principle that help could be obtained for one-time occasions, but that it would be difficult to carry out regular services since it was almost impossible to get anyone to show up for anything on a daily basis. For this reason we passed up opportunities to institute a commercial window washing service and to clean up the beach on a daily basis.
The areas where most money was to be made were in the various entertainment programs we found. The third CAVE dance at the Casino Ballroom July 29 proved almost as successful as the previous one had been. This time instead of hiring a disc jockey, we used a rock and roll group with a good reputation in the area, drawing 600-odd customers and netting for CAVE income in the vicinity of $125.Several times through the summer CAVE also sponsored folk
music workshops of folk singers, usually at the Onyx Room, and usually on either a Wednesday or a Sunday night. These were generally regarded to be non-profit events since maximum seating capacity was a little under 100, since both the house and the performers were paid at least token amounts and since folk music draws less universally than does rock and roll music and dancing. Admissions were purposely kept low - $.25 for CAVE members and $.50 for non-members. Average income from each of these events to CAVE was in the vicinity of $10.
Preparations for August 7 Beach Party
The single most important function held by CAVE - both in terms of its attendance and its significance was the beach party of August 7. It was twice re-scheduled to avoid conflict with other events and to give the staff sufficient time to prepare for it properly, because it was clear that the use of the state bathhouse, a mile from the beach, would require that we present something really worthwhile and make it as easy as possible for customers to attend.
As a rule it was not the habit of most of Hampton's young people to use this state bathhouse area (except after dark when couples sought out its solitude). Not only was it a mile from the main beach but separated from it by a number of blocks of cottages.
The bathhouse building is set back from the roadway perhaps a quarter of a mile in a large field which serves as a parking area and on the side by the river for cookouts. Approaching the bathhouse is a paved walkway through a lawn and leading from the bathhouse is another paved walkway through the dunes which extend north to the cottages and south to the river's edge, several hundred yards in each direction. The beach itself is a pleasant one bounded on the south by the river. From the north there can be direct approach to the area along the sand from the main beach. This entire area is operated by the state department of parks which derives some income from admission fees charged at a gatehouse by the road and from locker and equipment rental fees.
The bath house building itself is a long stucco affair, two stories high at the center and one story on the two wings which contain the locker rooms, showers, etc. Both at the front and the back there are sheltered areas formed by a projecting roof which at one time was used as a sundeck.
With the exception of regular Friday night square dances on the front walkway, the building has not for years been used in the night time. While there were outlets for some floodlights front and back and at the top of the building, some of these had not been used in anyone's memory. Although the original electrical system was a heavy-duty one, circuits had been taken from it in a series of jerry-built temporary setups over the period of the past thirty years, and there had been experiences with blowing fuses when certain combinations of short order grills and other appliances had been used in conjunction.
Since the parks department had no funds to light this area for night use, we had agreed to provide the lighting, but we hadn't expected to experience difficulties with the power sources. Our own ultimate answer was certainly as jerry-built as anything that had been done before - a series of long extensions brought in from each wing to avoid overloading the central circuits where the concessionaire was already heavily drawing. From these extensions we hoped to draw sufficient power not only to beef up the illumination from floodlights on the sundeck but to run the heavy-duty amplifiers used in profusion by contemporary rock and roll bands. Had there been only one band to provide for, we would have worried a little less, but this event was going to have two bands plus a disc jockey, who would have his own amplifiers above and beyond the others. So we did what we could - issued an ultimatum that only one entertainment unit could draw power at a time and borrowed a generator again for contingencies.
The program was to consist not only of these two bands and disk jockey but a bonfire at the beach around which young people could gather and sing. In an attempt to make the beach party as spectacular an affair as possible, we had also considered some sort of a cookout but finally decided against it since we had no experience to give us any idea how much of what sort of thing to order. Ultimately the concessionaire at the bathhouse was persuaded to stay open for the evening in the event that he might make a few extra dollars.
The project staff was particularly concerned over the distance between the main beach and the bathhouse and hoped to overcome it by tying in the beach party with a hayride or a series of them going from the CAVE building out to the bathhouse area. However horses were too slow and trucks were insufficiently insured, so ultimately we settled by making special arrangements for one or two school busses. Some consideration was given to charging no admission for the affair but this was decided to be poor psychology so we settled on $.25 for CAVE members and $.50 for non-members.
Within the restrictions, the staff and a number of volunteers did everything possible to publicize the event. Before the cutoff on newspaper publicity a few stories announcing the dance had gone out, and unbeknownst to us the disc jockey for the event, Tom Foley, had managed to have a story inserted in the Fitchburg (Mass.) Sentinel. Special notices of the party were mimeographed, and 1300 of them were hand-addressed by a crew of volunteers for mailing. Finally, posters as colorful and exciting as possible were made up by the dozen and placed everywhere possible in the main beach area.
Through all this, Hammond and I kept as much in the background as possible, supplying assistance only where it was needed, since we had found that if the staff and volunteers felt the event was their own responsibility and was done on their own initiative they worked with much more vigor, enthusiasm, and imagination.
By this point in the season we were enough accustomed to last minute hitches that we more or less took in stride the delay of the written permission and straightened it out with a phone call when it came. The disagreement over the bonfire was a little more difficult. The day, that Saturday, was a busy one complicated by a car wash in progress, the need to get in a truckload of big logs, kerosene and an old automobile tire to get the fire started. For this bonfire we had permission from the parks department, two police departments and the fire department. Therefore when two of the C of C directors showed up mid-afternoon in great concern over the size of the bonfire we made the mistake of arguing with them rather than simply agreeing at the outset that the wood for the fire should be built no higher than five feet, which was plenty big enough as we discovered the next morning when we had to clean it up.
A little more disturbing were the rumors that circulated for the 24 hours prior to the beach party that there was going to be trouble of some sort. In tracking down the rumor, however, we found for the most part the young people were simply passing on something that apparently had originated with one of the beach businessmen. Nevertheless, we did everything we could to anticipate any such trouble, putting as many of the staff and responsible volunteers as possible on posts around the area, making sure there would be at least some police protection, and enlisting a small crew of adult volunteers to be inconspicuously on hand in case help was needed. At the very least we expected there would be one or two boys who would show up carrying beer - or having drunk too much of it.
CAVE Beach Party at State Bathhouse, August 7
As the evening approached we felt a little like the launch crew of a rocket preparing for a final attempt after several misfires. Twice the dance had been postponed. The bands and disc jockey were teenagers, unknown personally to us, and there were no contracts to assure us of their coming. On the one hand we were afraid that not enough customers would come, and on the other hand we were afraid there would be too many, making it impossible to control the situation. Peace of mind was not exactly improved when the truck we had been using to get the wood down to the beach proper became firmly stuck in the beach sand, but a crew of volunteers again gathered and lifted it almost bodily out of the way.
One break we had that August 7 was the weather - very warm and clear. There was a half-moon which we had counted on for partial illumination, but it was of no real value. As darkness descended and the hour grew toward eight, we realized that our lighting system was not going to brighten the area to the extent we had hoped. At the main beach there is at least some illumination on the sand from the streetlights, but the bathhouse area had no such fringe benefits. We consoled ourselves in the knowledge that at least both bands and the disc jockey had come and were set up and when the lights and amplifiers were put on simultaneously no fuses blew.
By 7:30 crowds of young people began to trickle into the area, and by 8:00 P.M. they were surging in. There was no really efficient way to collect admissions. We had two girls with a cigar box full of change posted at the gatehouse by the road, but all one had to do was walk around it if one wanted to avoid paying, so we left it as much as possible on an honor basis. Another team of admissions takers were at the door to the bathhouse building. If customers claimed that they had paid at the outer gate, they were let in without further question. The fact that several hundred dollars was collected at this post indicates that the honor system worked fairly well despite the fact, obvious to all of us, that a lot of people were freeloaders. A few minutes before eight, worker Jay Green came up from his post by the bonfire to announce that more freeloaders were walking up along the shore and he thought he could do something about it. We gave him a change box and a while later he came back with another twenty to thirty dollars he had picked up simply by asking people whether or not they had yet paid.
It was an unusually heavy crowd. Our income from the night shows we had somewhere in the vicinity of 800 paying customers, and reliable estimates of the crowd add another 400. There were new faces - and some tough looking customers in various extremes of dress - but as the dancing began and the bonfire was lighted it rather quickly became apparent that the only ones who felt any tension were the personnel in charge and perhaps the police, who were seriously concerned about the inadequate lighting. Every so often someone would inadvertently get his foot caught on one of our 50-foot extension cords and the lights would go out briefly, but even then there was no unrest or suggestion of any tension at all. Nobody showed up drunk, nobody fought, nobody did anything objectionable. People danced, stood around, wandered back and forth from the dance area to the fire and judging from reactions everyone thought it was great. The concessionaire was amazed and pleased to find his gross business for the evening far beyond his expectations.
About mid-point in the dance Hammond rode back to the main beach to see what effect the beach party was having on crowds there. At first glance his assumption was that the effect was negligible. The boardwalk and Ocean Boulevard were jammed. A dance at the Casino was having light attendance but the Seagate, with its rock and roll bands, was full.
What we didn't realize until afterward was that this was the peak-crowd weekend for the summer. During the daylight hours police estimates of the beach crowd were 80,000. As a result the evening crowd, of course, was heavy as well. Here too there were many new faces and commensurate with the crowd's size this was the weekend on which the police made their maximum number of arrests - something over 40.
Meanwhile back at the bathhouse, the fire burned down, the bands played their final tunes, we shooed out the customers, and closed up the area without untoward event. Next morning, almost at dawn, a crew of us - including Will Cunningham - returned to clean up the trash and pour bucket after bucket of sea water on the area of sand where the fire had been. Had we not done so, someone could have received a bad burn, for once the embers were cleared out of the way there was no sign that a fire had been there, yet the sand beneath it was as hot as lava and almost exploded when the first buckets of water were poured on it.
Internal Crowd Control Demonstrated
This was probably the single night when CAVE most effectively proved its hypotheses that summer. All the elements for trouble were there - the rumors, the heavy crowds, the new faces, an uncertain lighting system, an area so large and rangy that a hundred policemen couldn't have controlled the crowd if it had gone wild - yet no hint of trouble. rather than acting as a stimulus for misbehavior, the music and the bonfire provided focal points for internal crowd control. There had been no trouble because there was no need for it. There was plenty to do if you wanted to, and plenty of unrestricted space to hang around and watch if that was your desire. This we regarded as especially important in light of the apparent restlessness at the main beach that same evening. If we had not drained off a substantial portion of the Hampton Beach crowd, we had at least given healthy diversion to 1200 young people who would have otherwise been at the center milling around. And one final pleasant note - our gross income for the evening was in the vicinity of $340.
Labor Day Plans Drawn
Accordingly when Elaine Moriarty and the CAVE Program Committee sat down Sunday night to plan for the rest of the season and for Labor Day weekend, they felt some assurance that the schedule could be both effective and acceptable. Several more Thursday night dances were scheduled for the Casino Ballroom, and a miscellany of folk music events for the Onyx Room - including an agreement that an attempt should be made to form a jug band from among the talent available in the CAVE membership. Another beach party was agreed upon two weeks hence for August 21.
For Labor Day weekend, all agreed that it was impossible to schedule events simultaneously for the bathhouse area and for the main beach. It had been difficult enough the night before to have two staff members tied up with the beach observation schedules and another at the CAVE building to organize the bus trips to the state park area. Therefore the agreement was that we should have as good a beach party as possible for Saturday of Labor Day weekend and as good a show as possible at the Seashell for Sunday night. If John Dineen could be persuaded of the wisdom of such an event, possibly a midnight dance could be scheduled for the Casino starting at 12:01 Monday morning.
It was agreed that Elaine and I would take responsibility for booking the best possible acts for Sunday night, then check back with the CAVE Program Committee for consensus. The two major acts we hoped to get were Jim Kweskin and his Jug Band and the New Prince Spaghetti Minstrels, the show to be bulked out with lesser known names if possible.
Next day on the phone I was able to learn that the Prince Spaghetti Minstrels were available for a thousand dollars and Kweskin for perhaps a little less if at all. The only way of obtaining him, it appeared, would be to find a replacement act to fill in for him, since he was concluding a week's engagement that evening. By way of explanation, the Prince Spaghetti Minstrels were a group of seven, who had originally started in a series of singing commercials on radio. Their sound was quite similar to that of the New Christie Minstrels. The Jim Kweskin Band was about a like number, an admixture of homemade instruments and a few conventional ones, highly rhythmic yet not rock and roll. Both groups were quite well known throughout New England. These facts I prepared for presentation to the upcoming TAR Committee meeting.
During this same period in late July and early August the research had been carried out with good effectiveness except in the area of interviews with arrestees. The problem was that there were simply no facilities where arrestees could be conveniently detained for an hour interview in the police station without inconvenience both to the interviewer and to the police department. Several methods were tried but none proved really satisfactory. One additional complicating factor was that many of the arrests were very late at night and the arrestees were already out on bail by the time the staff came on duty the next morning.
Probably we would not have been able to reach our N of 45 interviews if it had not been for the fact that Jack Derby joined the CAVE staff as a replacement about August 1. Not only was Derby a reliable and consistent worker, but he knew the beach youth society inside and out, having spent many summers there and worked in a variety of establishments. If anyone was a natural leader of the "C Street gang" Jack would have been the man.
In establishing a work crew for further projects like that at Hampton Beach, serious consideration should certainly be given to employing at least a certain number from within the society of the resort itself. Derby had been, as an active leader in CAVE, an asset in planning youth programs and analyzing youth attitudes, but he was a great deal more helpful as a regular crew member. Two weeks later, when Robert and Nancy Deane found they had to leave for the mid-west, we replaced them with Sheryl Marini and Ken Clark, who had been working part time or as volunteers to this point. The addition of these three people to the CAVE staff, even though the latter two were not college students or trained in interview techniques, made the work of the project more effective.