This is what “progress” in Hyannis looks like today, especially if it involves the state aka The Steamship Authority aka tourism aka mucho dinero. We live in a block in a historic district of Hyannis, the old east end, near the harbor.
It sits between downtown and the hospital, with the harbor and the ferries a block south of us. When the hospital doesn’t raze sweet vintage cottages, gobbling up more and more land for parking lots, you can count on the Steamship to pick up the slack. It’s not that the houses they demolished today on School Street were anything special, but they were someone’s homes until recently. I knew the people enough to say “hi” to.
There used to be a school here on School Street where Champ House is now. Dr. Tratt’s office is reputed to be Captain Bearse’s historic home, and doctors and other folk lived on this street at one time, back in the day when a doctor made house calls. Priscilla, a regular library patron for decades and a huge Thornton Burgess fan, lived in the house across the street.
I read a book last summer by Alvah Bearse, who grew up over on Ocean Street across from the harbor, and spent the first decades of the last century, caddying for the rich summer folk at the golf course in Hyannis Port, and playing golf and baseball in makeshift fields in their own neighborhood. The fields doubled as cow pastures and blueberry patches. There was fishing in Snow’s Creek.
Pleasant Street was known as Sea Captain’s Row, and you could smell the candle factory back in the 60’s and 70’s when they still made candles; the air was pleasantly scented. Now, it’s mostly parking “lawns” run by a local who bought up as many of the homes in the area as he could. The beautiful homes have been allowed to slowly crumble, holes in the roof, broken windows and the like.
The ferry is a 10 minute walk from the transportation center; there are daily busses from Boston and now weekend train service (summer only for now). With the shuttle service the ferry offers, surely people can find other ways of getting to Hyannis if they’re going to the islands anyway.
The world was slower once upon a time, less driven by money, who gets the best view and who can afford to take a boat to the islands. Yes, there was tourism creeping in back then, but nowadays it seems to be crashing in.
When is it enough? When will we have enough parking? Where will local people live their daily lives? I suppose when the parking lots are done, we can always live in our cars like so many already do.