Then and Now asks When.
In what year did these beach activists have their group photograph taken?
One Save Our Beaches member, Lou Gallo, says he thinks it was 1974 but he is not 100 percent sure.
Therefore, we declare all those who guessed a date between 1970 and 1980 a winner.
The group was born Oct. 29, 1970. Their fight lasted a decade.
The story according local historian goes like this:
In 1970 a house was sold on Whales Beach and the new owner put up a fence and would not let the public sit on the beach, he said.
The group found out that the owner went to register the land and that a lot of the beach had been registered before but none of the owners had stopped the public from using the beach, he said.
When the town bought the little lot on the left of the entrance to the beach (Polisson Park) and the other larger lot in front of where the New Ocean House had been (Johnson Park) over 500 people who had been using the beach for more than at least 10 years filed for proscriptive rights, Gallo said.
It was a major land court victory and upheld by the State Supreme Court, he said.
The group got its name when the property owner referred to the beach users as a bunch of SOBs at a selectmen's meeting.
"So he named the group for us," Gallo said. "We formed Oct. 29, 1970."
In the end, the owner "was allowed to register his land with a restriction allowing Swampscott residents and several individuals the right to use the beach with out any interference," he said.
We'll keep the feature going by posting another item next Saturday.
The Then photograph was courtesy of the .