You Say It’s Your Birthday?

It’s our 10th anniversary at Chatham Magazine and we want to share the fun. Many venerable Chatham institutions, businesses and events are celebrating milestones in 2016 as well.

By Lisa Cavanaugh

Chatham Marconi Maritime Center’s Station WCC

On April 18, 1921, Radio Corporation of America’s Special Order 138 established Chatham’s famous ship-to-shore station, WCC. Several years earlier, inventor Guglielmo Marconi had relocated his telegraph receiving station to Chatham because of its unique geographical position. WCC’s new mission was ship-to-shore message servicing and it went on to become the largest U.S. coastal station in the marine service. Some of the more notable radio contacts carried out by WCC include communications with Richard Byrd’s first South Pole expedition, sending weather information to Charles Lindbergh, and making what was quite possibly the last communiqué with the Hindenburg prior to its explosive demise.

Chatham Jewelers

A family owned and operated business on Main Street since 1951, Chatham Jewelers is committed to offering Cape Cod residents and visitors the best in jewelers’ services. They provide expert in-house repairs, custom jewelry design and fabrication, and offer knowledgeable assistance in jewelry and gift selection. Walter J. Meier (pictured, at left, with his wife, Pota) the founder of Chatham Jewelers, recalls opening day in 1951: “We had built the building on Main Street and had a grand opening. It was the day after the 10th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Dec. 8, 1951, and so many people came in to see the new store, say hello and wish us well. But as I remember, we really didn’t actually sell anything that day, unfortunately!”

Yankee Ingenuity

Award-winning photographer Jon Vaughan opened this gift shop and art gallery on Main Street in 1971 when he was 25 years old. It has been in continuous operation ever since, offering a unique collection of gifts, jewelry, housewares and art, featuring work by Cape Cod artists and artisans. Vaughan reflects on 45 years in business: “The concept then still holds true today—to create a unique gallery for my customers and employees that I would enjoy working in for the rest of my life. Thankfully, I still love going to work every day. What more could you ask for?”

Hookers Ball

The suggestive name of this annual summertime fundraiser may raise eyebrows on the uninitiated, but locals know this popular gala hosted by the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance under a big tent at the Chatham VFW raises important funds to support the local small-boat fishing fleet. From its humble beginnings in a donor’s backyard, this signature event now welcomes over 700 guests each year. On Aug. 6, you can join the fishy fun as they celebrate “15 years of being knotty!

Chatham Shellfish Company

Founded in 1976 by John R. Richards, Chatham Shellfish Company has enjoyed 40 years of farming oysters and other shellfish utilizing sustainable practices in Oyster River, and now supplies many of the Cape’s preeminent resorts and restaurants. Chatham oysters come in shell lengths of 2.5 inches up to the “Golden Gorilla” grade that measure 5-plus inches. Over the past four decades, Richards has been instrumental in developing much of the technology that the modern aquaculture industry uses today. He helped found the Massachusetts Aquaculture Association in 1988 and feels that “aquaculture is a privilege, not a right.

Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance

In 1991, a group of Cape Cod hook fishermen banded together to make their voices heard in fisheries management. Since then, their organization has developed into a vital industry advocate representing 150 small-boat fishing businesses on Cape Cod. The Fishermen’s Alliance is proud to be celebrating 25 years and navigating 25 more. “Because the fishing industry never knows what challenges we face next on the water, I feel confident that we can continue to be an industry leader for the next 25 years,” says Chatham fisherman Nick Muto, chairman of the organization’s board of directors.