HAMPTON BEACH, NH -- 1922 (The Atlantic City of New England)
Compiled & edited by John M. Holman, local historian, written by P. G. Lamson, of Manchester, New Hampshire in 1922. Published in a booklet-directory for the information of tourists and vacationists, cooperatively by the business interests of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire in 1922. [View this pamphlet online, with photos, in pdf format.]
HAMPTON BEACH .... "Among the many charming spots with which New England abounds -- spots whose delightful vistas of seashore, lake, or mountain have won for her the title of the "Vacation Land" -- none is more attractive or more satisfying than HAMPTON BEACH, NEW HAMPSHIRE.
"To those who look for rest and recreation, for scenic beauty, for the wholesome invigoration of contact with the unfettered sea, there are surely few places more pleasurable or more gratifying. Hampton is one of those delicate touches which Nature, with her fairy wand, give here and there to the people's search to refresh the body and the mind; one which though it has come to be widely and favorably known as a vacation resort, has in no measure lost its natural and exceptional advantages. It is a resort for those whose natural discernment or ripe experience has given them fullness and fineness of appreciation, and as such, it has never suffered, as many other beauty spots, from ruthless exploitation.
"The seacoast of New Hampshire is short. As the crow flies, it is barely eighteen miles. As if to make up for its brevity in extent, however, it is a coast of surpassing splendor. Hampton Beach occupies three miles of it, from Rye to the Hampton River, a delicate curve whose graceful sweep is boldly broken by a spray-laced promontory known as 'Great Boar's Head'.
"North of 'Great Boar's Head', the coast is dotted with picturesque groups of rocks, breasting the sea, and battling its unceasing onslaught. South of it swings a mile and a half of firm white, gently sloping sand, opalescently radiant where the water wraps it in its gem-like mantle, and with the soft, translucent brightness of marble where it lies like a palace floor in the beams of the summer sun.
"There is no finer bathing beach than this the world over, pretentious as any other may be in its surroundings and appointments, or as firm as it may stand in the tongue of estimate. A steady and stately surf, completely free from undertow, an exhilarating sea breeze, and warmth of the water in all seasons, exceptional in this latitude, combine with the invited arena of Hampton Beach to make the bathing as safe as it is enjoyable. And sea bathing, as its devotees know, is a sport of endless possibilities, which never grow tiresome; a natural tonic, whose power never diminishes, or fails. Here it is at its height of power.
"It is easy to get to Hampton Beach, and easy to find accommodations there, and those of the best. Hampton is a typical New England town, still rich in the traditions of its early English settlers. It is progressive in the sense of having modern comforts, but it has not yet progressed, nor does it desire to progress, to the point of regarding those who visit it as strangers to whom it owes no more than polite formality and paid service. Hampton appreciates its visitors, and seeks to do all in its power to welcome them and make them feel at home, as well as to contribute to their entertainment while they stay.
"The business section of Hampton and Hampton Beach contains modern stores, restaurants, and amusement places, prepared to cater to every reasonable desire. The residence section has the care, the comfort, and the appearance of well-being characteristic of New England communities. Every house is supplied with running water from pure, fresh, never-failing springs. There is every refinement of modern sanitation, an excellent lighting system, and complete fire and police protection.
"A state boulevard passes through Hampton, and along Hampton Beach, from one end to the other, affording three miles of free automobile parking space, or a delightful drive with an unbroken view of the Atlantic Ocean. An ideal walk is provided by the smooth, broad top of the cement breakwater separating the boulevard from the beach proper. The town authorities of Hampton have placed restrictions on the sale and leasing of land, both in the town and along the beach, so as to ensure a desirable class of residents and business for both.
"Nobody familiar with New England roads needs to be told that they give limitless opportunity for pleasurable drives to sites rich in historic associations, and among scenery which for variety and swiftly changing charm of hill and valley, lake and meadow, forest, field and stream, is unapproached in America. Grander or wilder scenery there may be; more beautiful, or more continuously beautiful, there is none. And from Hampton such roads radiate, to the temptation of the tourist, in every direction.
"For those who enjoy outdoor sports -- tennis, horseback riding, boating, etc., -- this lavish playground is an inexhaustible source of entertainment. At Rye, which is nearby, there are golf clubs and courses which are the delight of golf devotees. For the fisherman, there is deep sea fishing, and special fishing trips are arranged for regularly. If the weather is inclement, dancing and moving pictures vary the visitor's pastime.
"There are three Protestant churches in Hampton, and on the beach, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, considered the most beautiful on the Atlantic Coast next to St. Augustine's Church in Florida.
"Hampton boasts the longest wooden bridge in the world, over Hampton marshes, beyond which, with their sentinel haystacks, peaceful farms bosom the verdured hillsides. Fresh green vegetables come to the table from these farms, clams come fresh from the Hampton marshes, the Atlantic Ocean furnishes shellfish and lobsters, and there is plenty of everything for everybody.
"The beauty of the sunsets on Hampton marshes is incomparable, and offers a real attraction on the West Side. It has been said that the grandeur of these sunsets surpasses even the wonderful sunsets of Switzerland. It is at least true that nowhere else except in Switzerland is such a gorgeous display to be found.
"Owing to the three-mile expanse of salt water over Hampton marshes, the beach is exceptionally free from mosquitoes, and it is also protected from the heat of the west wind. In fact, the west wind is remarkably cool and makes the West Side almost as desirable as the water front. This somewhat detached location of the beach serves to keep it cool and comfortable at practically all times."
"Hampton Beach has no undesirable amusements or questionable activities of any sort, nor are there any features open to objection in either its permanent or transient population. It does not attract undesirables, or offer any attractions which would induce them to visit it. It is not a resort of the side-show type, or of the promiscuous cottager.
"Entertainment is not lacking, on the reverse it is plentiful. There are band concerts three times a day, and occasional fireworks displays; open air stage shows of merit are given from time to time; a passenger airplane is provided for those who are skillful enough to exhaust the pleasures of earth and ocean. Three of the largest dance halls in New England are here. These dance halls are modern ball rooms in every sense, supplied with all appurtenances, and served by full orchestras of high repute. Fine bowling alleys and billiard halls afford still other pastimes.
"During Labor Day week, the beach makes especial effort to amuse its patrons by means of its annual carnival, a seven-day outing on a grand scale, in which everything is free. The Hampton Carnival is unique as being the only one in which the real carnival spirit has succeeded in New England, and is, in itself, expressive of the fullness of enjoyment possible in Hampton. If it is inconvenient for you to visit the beach during the rest of the season, by all means come to it in Carnival Week.
"Hampton is on the Eastern Division of the Boston & Maine Railroad, a ride of less than two hours from Boston, and of about fifteen minutes from Portsmouth. Trolleys for the beach connect with all trains. Express and transfer companies render quick and frequent service in the handling of all baggage. Electric cars reach the beach from Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Amesbury, Newburyport and other Massachusetts cities. Through trains from New York stop at Exeter, which is but eight miles away, and has rail connections. Unrivaled automobile roads radiate from it in all directions. It is on the White Mountain Motor route from Boston to Portsmouth, by way of the Shore Road. You will find it easy to come to Hampton Beach, no matter where you are, or what means of travel you choose."