A Tennis Court View of Straitsmouth Island, circa 1919

I have to assume that this tennis court, with its clear and proximate view of Straitsmouth Island, was part of the old Straitsmouth Inn, out on Gap Head Road, off Marmion Way. But then I went down there and tried to replicate the view, I couldn’t exactly place it (at least not without straying in the backyards of the private homes that now line the road).

You can see, on the shore-facing side of the island, a small structure that was the boathouse. (It no longer exists.) Across the island, on its left side in this picture, you can see the Straitsmouth Light and the keeper’s house. The perspective of the lighthouse, which also seems to be from Gap Head, would appear to support the conclusion that the tennis court was part of the inn.

One thing I know, with that view, it must have been hard for these players to keep their eyes on the ball.

This postcard was published by Grafton Butman and was postmarked on Aug. 5, 1919. I’ve posted one other card published by Butman, of the Manning House. I conjectured then that this Grafton Butman may have been a descendant of the Grafton Butman who was a prominent banker in Rockport in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Now I wonder whether the banker might be the same Grafton Butman who published these postcards. In addition to banking, he also ran the Grafton Butman dry goods store in the late 1800s at the corner of Main and Beach streets and later the Butman & French dry goods store in the old Haskins building which was demolished to build the Shalin Liu Performance Center. Butman died in 1937, so he was certainly around when this postcard was published. The Manning House postcard was postmarked 1943, but could have been published many years earlier.

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5 Responses to A Tennis Court View of Straitsmouth Island, circa 1919

  1. Marie Cunningham Lueich says:

    I worked at Straitsmouth Inn in the mid 50’s and there was no tennis court around that vicinity at that time, nor do I remember hearing anyone talking about it. Mrs Ward (the woman who I worked with in the laundry was 80 years old at that time, (I was 14 or 15) . She told me many stories about the old inn, and guests who had stayed there, but never mentioned a tennis court. Now I am prompted to drive around the shore line down the south end, and see if I can locate the location.

    • Interesting. When I drove there, I also thought the court could have been somewhere on the other side of Gap Cove, more towards the Captain’s House inn, but the perspective from there doesn’t match. It could have been part of a private property.

  2. Pingback: View from Straitsmouth Inn, Rockport, Mass., circa 1920 | Vintage Rockport

  3. Pingback: Gap Cove, Rockport, Mass., circa 1915 | Vintage Rockport

  4. Privateer says:

    Hi All,
    I live on the Cove and can confirm that that perspective of Straitsmouth Island is only visible from Gap Head, and roughly 1-2 properties east of the former Lifesaving Station, FWIW

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