The caption calls this Long Beach in Rockport, but the beach shown here is more commonly called Pebble Beach (and sometimes Pebblestone Beach), presumably for the popplestones that often cover it. It is just northeast of Cape Hedge Beach, which, in turn, is just northeast of the actual Long Beach. This area is often called Land’s End.
Townspeople turn out for the landing of the cable in 1884.
Pebble Beach’s place in history is secured by the landing of a transatlantic cable here in 1884. Up to then, a French company, the Atlantic Telegraph Company, was the sole provider of transatlantic telegraph cables. James Gordon Bennett, editor of the New York Herald, was dissatisfied was the 50 cents per word he had to pay for transatlantic telegraphs. Seeking to break ATC’s monopoly, he convinced millionaire John W. Mackay to create the Commercial Cable Company. That company put down two cables from Ireland to Nova Scotia, and two more from there, one to Rockaway Beach, Long Island, and the other to Rockport.
The cable company office on Norwood Ave.
The May 22, 1884, arrival of the cable ship SS Faraday to lay the end of the cable on Pebble Beach was a huge event in town. Townspeople swarmed to the beach in droves as church bells and cannons announced the vessel’s arrival. A formal dinner was held that night, with many dignitaries in attendance. However, the captain and crew of the Faraday declined the invitation to attend, because they had to immediately steam out and attend to another piece of the cable.
The cable house on Pebble Beach.
Two buildings remain in Rockport as a legacy of this historic cable. At the Cape Hedge end of Pebble Beach is a house that has been built up from the original structure built to serve as the cable station. And on Norwood Avenue is the building that served as the office of the Commercial Cable Company, where it is now a private home.
The cable house as it looks today.
For a better view of the two houses shown here, see this 1910 real photo postcard. For a view of Henry’s Pond, which would be just to the left of the beach, out of sight on this postcard, see this 1910 postcard.
This postcard was mailed in 1918. There is no publisher identified.