Fort Hill

Sean Corcoran
 

As the Cape Cod National Seashore legislation neared approval, efforts were underway by some land developers and their political allies on the Outer Cape to keep certain portions of land out of the preserve -- an effort that threatened to jeopardize the entire Seashore legislation.

During a Congressional helicopter tour of the future park in April 1961, Jonathan Moore, an aide to Senator Leverett Saltonstall (R-Mass) who is featured in the story Creating the Park, played a significant roll in alerting the press and Cape Codders to the threat of development. After the helicopter landed at Fort Hill in Eastham, Cape Cod Congressman Hastings Keith (R-Mass.) stood amidst wooden stakes that marked where a developer wanted to create housing lots on Fort Hill. There, he gave an impassioned speech for keeping the area out of the seashore.
 
After the helicopter landed at Fort Hill in Eastham, Cape Cod Congressman Hastings Keith (R-Mass.) stood amidst wooden stakes that marked where a developer wanted to create housing lots on Fort Hill. There, he gave an impassioned speech for keeping the area out of the seashore.

As Moore recalled during an interview:
"(Rep. Hastings Keith) said, 'That beautiful view over there will be untouched.' But there was no issue. It was never going to be touched. He was trying to make the most of being able to develop Fort Hill. So I said, 'No, people will not see that view.' 'Why not, Jonathan?' Because the houses that you want to build there will not allow you to see through them.'

"And so there was newspaper people, there was bickering, and Burkett was uncomfortable for someone who was a staffer for one of the big sponsors of the park to be so irreverent in dealing with with the congressman from the district."

Moore says he did not intend to publicly challenge Keith. But Moore's irreverence was well reported in the press, and the result was that Fort Hill remained within the 44,000 acres of the Seashore when President Kennedy signed the legislation later that August.  

 

photos courtesy the Cape Cod National Seashore

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