It’s Still Standing

As I said in my last post it was nearly 60 years ago that my father built the Snack Shack at Nauset Beach in Orleans, Mass., on Cape Cod.

Snack Shack

Since then it has gone through several hurricanes, “The Perfect Storm” and innumerable nor’easters, but NOTHING like what went down this last weekend, and yet the “Stand” still stands.

My brother, Jeff, who took over from our dad, went through some close calls from storms. He wrote in a comment to my last post (in case readers don’t read the comments),

“A memorable storm hit on March 30, 1984 with winds hitting 80 to 90 miles per hour. During that storm the Maltese freighter Eldia came aground about 1/2 mile north of the Snack Shack on Nauset Beach. At 478 feet long and 5 stories tall the Eldia was twice as large as anything that had come aground on Cape Cod. Several of the crew who worked for me at the Snack Shack at that time were surfers and had been on the beach watching the surf when the Eldia had come aground. They said 30 foot surf was surging over the dunes into the parking lot. They also said the most amazing thing was that the waves where coming over the dunes then splitting and going around on either side of the Snack Shack into the parking lot. They said it looked like the hands of God where separating the waters. I went inside to check the building and the basement crawl space was bone dry and there was no damage to the outside of the building. You could see the water marks in the sand where the storm surged had gone up through where the board walk is in the summer into the parking lot and going around the bulk gas tank behind the building before going into the parking lot.
“The Eldia was eventually taken off the beach in mid May. Than another odd event happened a month later when a small airplane from Chatham airport crashed of the beach about where the Eldia came aground.”

An old friend, Albert (Sonny) Robinson, who I haven’t seen in more than half a century now lives in Mashpee and went down to Nauset this weekend and took these pictures of the Shack. (I outlined how I reestablished contact with the Robinsons in this post

The side facing the ocean:


The parking lot view:


View of the front of the Shack:

left side of Shack

Directly behind the Shack facing the ocean:

Directly behind shack

It won’t take many more storms like that before it’s all gone.

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One response to “It’s Still Standing

  1. stephen burling

    Wow. I was on the Cape this past September and noted that the Ocean was a low closer to the Snack Shack than when I worked there 1959-60. I also saw how the ocean had reformed Nauset Heights. The power of mother nature is awesome. I was a Submarine Sailor who made many patrols above the artic circle during the Cold War. You know the power of mother nature when your 18,000 Ton submarine is rolling 20 – 25 degrees and your are several hundred feet below the surface.

    It’s been five or six years since the last time I was on the Cape and I was absolutely shocked at how much Nauset Beach had shrunk over the years.

    I can’t imagine what it must have been like on a sub rolling around like that under the surface. But I know what it can be like on top. I was stationed on the U.S.S. Lake Champlain (CVS 39). We were in a storm off of Newfoundland in February and the waves were breaking DOWN onto the flight deck. One of the huge cranes on the side of the ship that were used to lower the liberty launches was torn off. It was like someone had taken an acetylene torch to the dozen through-deck bolts. In that same storm a wave took off a radar turret from the island of our sister ship the Essex. You simply can’t mess with Mother Nature.