The occasional Carpenter family vacations during the Depression years were short and challenging. The road into the bunkhouse was little more than a half-mile dirt path and would often be washed out. That meant lugging in cider jugs of fresh water to be used for cooking and washing. Even when the road was passable, the travelers had to catch a ride from a local resident, Mr. Crowell, who owned a pickup truck and lived near the entrance to the path. “He would drive us in, but sometimes he had to deflate his tires for better traction,” Carpenter remembers.
The hurricane of ‘44 spelled the end of the Marlborough Brant Club. There was discussion about rebuilding the modest shanty, but it never happened. “Even if they had rebuilt after the hurricane, there was no way of holding on to it,” Carpenter, who now lives in Hingham, says. “A piece of property like that would have eventually been taken by eminent domain.”
Which is precisely what eventually took place. The Carpenter family retained ownership in some form for nearly 40 years through John M. Carpenter’s heirs and were affiliated with the club until it was disbanded. In June 1948, the five remaining owners, four from Marlborough, conveyed the deed to Helen M. Hall of Dennis. She sold the property one month later, and by November it was in the hands of August A. Kennedy. The land was taken over by the town of Dennis on March 23, 1954, to be used for a recreational land area. Kennedy was awarded $5,000 in damages.
John M. Carpenter III returned to the site of the shanty in the summer of 1945. The photograph above shows him as a young man, hands on hips, standing in the sand, surrounded only by beach grass. The club where he spent those lazy summer days with his family and friends existed only as a sweet memory.
Lou Sullivan is a frequent contributor to Cape Cod Life Publications.
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