Gooseberry: A Presentation by Greg Stone, June 2017

I knew Gooseberry was a popular place, but I really didn’t expect such a turn out. What fun! And so many of you had some wonderful things to add about Gooseberry conveying facts and flavor that were wonderful to hear.

The preceding includes an embedded link to the wonderful David Sprogis drone video.
In addition, here’s a link to the final slide video, slightly modified for publication.
Finally, here is the resource handout with all the links – much easier to use this way than in paper. ;
Resources used in this presentation

Contact me: Greg Stone – [email protected] or on Facebook –

Web sites:

Westport Historical Society –

Some images used with permission of David Jones of clamflats photos,

Gooseberry Geology and much more – Go to this link – and scroll to the bottom of the page for Annie Cloutier’s excellent presentation of the Geomorphology of Gooseberry Island

Westport’s Gooseberry Island – Facebook Group –

Gooseberry Island — Westport, MA – Gooseberry Facebook Page –

Paul Champlin is my go-to resource for birds, and this is a post where he explains, briefly, why Gooseberry is one of the best spots for birding.


“The Military History of New Bedford” – Christopher McDonald

“Defenses of Narragansett Bay in World War II” – Walter K. Schroder

Many, many thanks to all those who have helped me learn more about Gooseberry –
Particularly: Jenny O’Neill; the Westport librarians; Sharon Potter, Assessor’s office; David Jones; Annie Cloutier; microfilm of old newspapers at UMass Dartmouth; Jack Reynolds of the Westport Fishermen’s Association; David Sprogis who did the drone video; Jenna Petersen; Carlton “Cukie” Macomber; Sean Leach; Thomas Pettey Hancock; and Peter Rosa. I have much to learn, and have many unanswered questions, but I could not have gotten this far without their help. They gave wonderful assistance – but I alone am responsible for the contents of this presentation and thus any errors.
Gooseberry Timeline

20,000 years ago – Most recent glacier starts to melt, depositing boulders and debris it picked up on its way south through New England
1602 – Bartholomew Gosnold explores region from encampment, probably on Cuttyhunk
1707 – First Gooseberry map we have shows sandbar, ponds
1903 – September, Tillinghast Kirby is murdered in his small boat off Gooseberry, and Angles Snell is convicted of the crime – Snell dies in prison in 1910 of heart attack
1913 – Work begins on first causeway – a double row of stones along sandbar
1922-24 – Alvin Waite and others launch ambitious “Rest Isle” development by building serious, concrete- surface causeway cars can cross.
1931 – Thomas E. Pettey, a town worker, is killed in accident on Christmas Eve while moving rocks near causeway entrance.
1935 – Nicholas Saliveros (and later his brother, Kostas) purchase Gooseberry, build 7-room home, several “beach cottages,” and rents parcels of land – people camp there, build “fishing shacks,” etc.
1938 – Hurricane destroys a few buildings and severely damages causeway
1939-43 – At some point federal funds used to construct larger, modern causeway we know today
1942, March – U.S. Government takes 6.5 acres of Gooseberry for fire control towers to control guns defending New Bedford Harbor and entrance to Narragansett Bay
1943-1957 – Gooseberry grows in popularity as summer colony – many small buildings and cottages erected – by time State takes over number has climbed to 94
1954 – Hurricane Carol does extensive damage to area, but Gooseberry seems to escape with relatively little damage, though several people have harrowing experiences on Gooseberry during storm
1957 – State takes Gooseberry as part of Horseneck Beach Reservation; lets it return to wild as many of the cottages are moved to Small’s Village north of East beach and to other locations in Westport

2000 – Causeway named in memory of Thomas E. Pettey – in 2017 an engraved stone placed at Thomas E. Pettey Memorial Causeway entrance.