Watch Hill: By River and By Sea, by Brigid Rooney Smith
A hundred years ago, Watch Hill was known as the "Queen of Atlantic Resorts." Its once barren knoll was strewn with vast wooden hotels and open-air porticos and porches. Its snug cove, a port of entry for steamboats that ferried summer residents, was also the home port for a fleet of catboats that took passengers on daily excursions. Offering unparalleled bathing at the surf-ridden East Beach and the soft sands of Napatree Beach, Watch Hill was truly "by the sea." Yet, as with many maritime venues, Watch Hill and its sister communities up the Pawcatuck River always served as year-round homes to watermen of all sorts. Whaling captains once lived in Lotteryville, partyboat captains sailed down the Pawcatuck to meet passengers at the Watch Hill docks, and fishermen provided fresh fare from the river and sea. Ships were built and lives were lost, and a century of maritime industries have come and gone.