Drawing on a Fair Haven Dock Memory
Former Fair Havenite Bob McNulty has a collection of drawings from his childhood memories of the area. The one entitled Fair Haven Road at the Dock is his favorite. What would you draw decades from now?
Bob McNulty has a lot of cherished memories about his upbringing in Fair Haven.
Not unlike many other area natives, the 1977 gradutate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School pictures the past with a lot of solace and comfort. He wanted to pass those inherent feelings along to many who know exactly how he feels and also to those who he hopes catch the Rumson-Fair Haven townie bug.
McNulty forwarded a few sketches to Patch a few months ago. One, already showcased, was the unique former Andrews Home. Now, with the Sandy-ravaged Fair Haven Dock awaiting an overhaul after just being revamped with new amenities a couple of years ago, what McNulty called his favorite drawing came to mind — Fair Haven Road at the Dock.
"It holds up both as a drawing and as an evocative image to anyone who has ever spent time down there," McNulty, who no longer lives in the area, said in an email. "It easy to forget just how beautiful it is down there and this drawing is a good reminder. Artistically this has a great composition and sense of light. The light and dark shapes take the viewer right down the road to the end, out onto the dock, across the river and back again if you take the time to look at it. The river is calm like Tuesday morning calm."
McNulty's rendering is of the newer Fair Haven Road dock when it was first constructed at the end of Fair Haven Road in the early 1970s. There was another dock at the end of Fair Haven Road, but adjacent to the present one, called Chandler's dock, which served as a Fair Haven waterfront hub for decades before.
"The town's first permanent dwelling was built by Jeremiah Chandler in 1816 on the riverbank near the foot of what is now Fair Haven Roa," historical information on the borough website says. "The river provided an economic base for a growing community. By 1850, Chandler's Dock had been erected on a site adjacent to the present town dock. Steamboats on the New York-Red Bank run made regular stops.
"They transported oysters and other river harvest to the city. During the latter years of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, boats such as the Seabird and Albertina (depicted on the Borough seal) continued that trade and brought numerous summer visitors, many of whom were famous vaudevillians. Nearby boarding houses and the old VanTine and Atlantic Hotels catered to this clientele. The vaudevillians organized the Player's Club, whose site now serves as home to the Shrewsbury River Yacht Club."
In his own time, Like many, McNulty floundered around and did some poleless, bare-handed fishing off the dock. He also got himself into a little harmless mischief down by the dock and remembers some milestone moments.
"We knew the Rices (Andy and Carmen were the kids), who lived in the big house that was once on the left," McNulty said. "Their grandfather and the house itself were right out of Citizen Kane. "We used to play on the beach in front of the house and they had a great big pool. Rick Shaw and I use to go fishing off the dock. I remember he caught a flounder, and carried it home in his hands, and promptly put it in a pail of water so it wouldn't die, but didn't realize the water needed to be salt water, so it died.
"I was at this spot when the Yacht Works burned down. For some reason I was let out of Mrs Bennett's first grade class because our house on Riverlawn was nearby and I guess they thought I, as a 6-year-old was capable of helping hose it down or doing something useful."
McNulty's memories gelled into the above stark, yet poignant, action- and personal moment-free pencil sketch.
What will your own drawing of the dock look like decades from now? Tell us what you envision.