Scituate: Humarock residents in revolt

When Scituate first became a town, the Humarock peninsula lay at its southern end. The Portland Gale of 1898 changed much of the local coastal landscape, most drastically changing the outlet of the North River, physically severing Humarock from Scituate.
Still politically part of Scituate, the village of Humarock lays beyond the north coast of Marshfield, accessible only by two bridges from Marshfield.

An electrical fire last year destroyed two houses in Humarock. Residents said the fire hydrants didn’t work, another example of how Scituate collects taxes, then ignores the residents. Scituate Selectmen said the town would issue no bonfire permits for Humarock’s traditional celebration the night before Independence Day, and residents complied. What occurred July 3rd lit a fire that village residents say will burn until they get the attention they deserve.

Police descended on the beach in force. Several residents, nearly a month later, spoke angrily about it at a neighborhood meeting Sunday morning. Several had concerns about a front-end-loader that entered the beach over private property. The operator moved a boulder to gain access to the beach without seeing children standing on the other side. An elderly man pulled the children out of the way and tried to warn the operator. Police arrested him.

“You’d think we were criminals, the way the treated us,” meeting organizer Fred Hayden said.

The front-end-loader then removed wooden pallets, stacked on private property, before the no-bonfire order, crushed them and buried them in a dune.

Emery Langlois said police entered his house and told him to stop playing patriotic music or face arrest. While saying he played the music every year, an officer unplugged the player and crimped the plug so it could not be used.

“I can live with that,” Langlois said. “But what gets me is, if I go out on my property and I pull out one handful of sea grass, I’m liable to heavy fines, possible jail time, probation. Yet, the Town comes in with a front-end-loader, tears up grass and everything that was on our property, buries all this in the sand, creates a mess. How are they held accountable? That’s the part that drives me nuts.”

Hundreds of Humarock residents signed a letter to Scituate Selectmen, who have, to date, refused to respond to the residents or comment publicly.They complain they collectively pay millions in property taxes on ocean-front homes and receive little in return.

“There’s a lot more issues than that night,” Hayden said. “We need to have a way to have proper representation and be heard. Those selectmen, that’s us. If they don’t want to do their job, then they have to leave. If it wasn’t for a history of them telling us what we can’t do, and the fact that they don’t do anything for us, it wouldn’t probably be as much of a point.”

They pledged help to the three residents arrested July third and said they may file an expensive civil action against the town.

Many Humarock property owners reside there only in the summer. Now, they’ve organized a website to continue organizing their opposition to Scituate through the winter.

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About Charles Mathewson

Charles Mathewson worked in print journalism for more than two decades as a reporter and editor, and has won several regional and national awards. He resides in Plymouth where he writes fiction and paints, when not producing award-winning news as a reporter for WATD.