Sippican Historical Society takes a look back at Marion's windy past

By Chris Reagle | Jul 27, 2018
Courtesy of: Sippican Historical Society The Makepeace house being moved from Front Street, where it was often flooded during hurricane season, to another location in the village.

MARION — The Sippican Historical Society has been taking looks back at places, people, and events that have shaped Marion over the centuries. Weather events certainly factor into coastal living, putting the town and its inhabitants sometimes at its mercy.

As the area heads into a predicted mild hurricane season, Sippican Historical Society archivist Leslie Thayer Piper came across some old hurricane memorabilia.

"One of the deep delights of working as an archivist is discovering interesting materials just by chance," Thayer said.

"Last month," she recalls, "we received several boxes of Sippican Band music and other Marion artifacts from a local family. Every item in this collection had been carefully recorded on the donor's typed content list, so there were no surprises as I moved from item to item, photographing them and assigning each one a unique, identifying accession number."

Piper continued: "When I picked up a stack of band music scores, an unusual Christmas card fluttered out. The photo was an arresting image -- a two-story house being pulled by a truck down Front Street."

With the help of writer and historian Judy Rosbe, Piper was able to identify the subject matter.

"The card was signed by long-time Marion residents Russell and Eleanor Makepeace, and the event depicted was the moving of their house in December of 1955," Piper said.

"After yet another hurricane had flooded their entire first floor in 1954, Russell and Eleanor received permission from the Marion selectmen to move their house from an address on Front Street near Tabor Academy to one on the other end of the business district," she explained. "Town utility poles and lines were temporarily removed, and the house was cut into three pieces, front to back, to be moved separately."

By a simple search of the Sippican Historical Society database, Piper found a number of newspaper articles with accompanying photos following the story of the house's move down Front Street, as well as its eventual reassembly.

The database also contains several photos of the Makepeace house enduring the Hurricane of 1938, and provide ample justification for the Makepeace family's decision to move their house to a safer, drier location, Piper noted.

Sippican Historical Society invites the public to use its database and collection  for research. The historical society's is located at 139 Front St. It is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and by appointment. For more information, call 508-748-1116 or email info@sippicanhistoricalsociety.org.

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