As you approach the village of Tenants Harbor through what some old-timers call “The Harbor Woods,” you see a sign that looks like the stern of a lobster boat named the “Welcome II” hailing from Tenants Harbor. Some of the same old-timers may remember the predecessor to that sign when it was located at the intersection of Main Street and Mechanic Street in front of the post office.
A July 1953 issue of the local paper—the Courier-Gazette—contains a letter to the editor from Fred Romkey recalling the history of the earlier sign. The sign was erected in September 1929 by the Village Improvement Society, with a push from Harriet and Ernest Rawley. The Village Improvement Society was also responsible for such things as the wooden sidewalks that wound through the village to keep residents out of the mud.
Rawley’s letter also talks about “our one and only sign painter Roy” Meservey doing a decent job of painting the sign, even though it was “long over due.”
Rolling the clock ahead by at least 50 years, and with the earlier sign no longer in place, Martha and Bill Iliffe felt a new welcoming sign was needed. Taking on the role of Harriet and Ernest Rawley, Martha and Bill moved forward with the raising of funds, obtained an appropriate design, then had the sign placed on their property at the edge of the road to welcome everyone to the village.
As an interesting footnote, Bill Iliffe was the grandson of the author of the 1953 Courier-Gazette letter to the editor, Fred Romkey.
—John M. Falla