Our View: Historic Anniversaries


It's History Weekend in Chatham, but this year marks more than just a celebration of the museums and institutions that keep our past alive. Many are experiencing anniversaries of their own, demonstrating the commitment and passion of those who are dedicated to ensuring a better future by remembering the past.

It was 125 years ago Sunday that descendants of William and Anne Nickerson gathered for the first of what would become annual reunions that grew into the Nickerson Family Association. Our understanding of the town's first European settlers has grown in recent years with the excavation of the family's homestead near Ryder's Cove, and the association has become more than just a genealogical organization for Nickersons. With the Caleb Nickerson house, the soon-to-be-reconstructed circa 1700 Nickerson barn – believed to have been built by William and Anne's son – and the original Nickerson homestead archaeological site, the Chathamport campus has become a place where people can step back in time to see how our ancestors lived, a valuable experience these days when many people are disassociated from the past.

The Chatham Marconi Maritime Center turns 20 this year and has grown from humble beginnings into a state-of-the-art museum encompassing two buildings and highlighting the increasing importance of wireless communications. Just as it is important not to forget the past, it is just as critical to understand how we got to the present and where we are going in the future through the evolution of technology, something the Marconi facility expertly does.

It's also 10 years since the Godfrey Windmill was restored and a decade since the Chatham Labyrinth was built just behind the hill where the 225-year-old mill sits. And it's 310 years since the town of Chatham was incorporated.

The Historic Chatham group has lined up a busy slate of activities for History Weekend. We encourage our readers to find a way to participate by checking out a museum they've always meant to visit, attending a talk or lecture or walking the grounds of the historic Chatham Coast Guard Station. When even recent past can become obscured by lies and misinformation, it becomes even more critical to honor and remember true history.