"The Indian House" At North Beach and Palmer's Clam Shell Restaurant

By John M. Holman, Hampton History Volunteer

Lane Memorial Library, Hampton, N.H.

The Indian House

"The Indian House"

This was an ancient dwelling, "The Indian House" as folks 'round these parts called it, and it was located in front of the fish houses at North Beach, near Bicentennial Park.

Legend was that one of the last of the Indians from Old Town, Maine, had lived in it at one time or another and made and sold baskets woven from the marsh grass. It was torn down in the early 1920's, and what was left of it, was razed. Time and the elements had taken their toll of the dwelling. A well for drinking water and domestic use can be seen at the corner of the house in the center of the photo. All of the fish houses shown in the photo, with the exception of two, have either been moved or torn down.

Palmer's Restaurant

"Palmer's Clam Shell Restaurant"

Palmer's business card, c. 1940s.

Palmer's on the right, with the Leavitt Homestead
& Barn Theatre in background.

Across the street, was once the famous "Palmer's Clam Shell Restaurant", noted for the fine seafood and especially their famous fried clams in batter. Quoting from one of their menus, the famous batter fried clam dinner was 50 cents, a large clam chowder 40 cents, a large lobster salad was $1.10, home baked beans on Saturday were 30 cents, apple pie was 15 cents, but with ice cream, cost 5 cents more, and coffee, tea, milk or tonic were all 10 cents each.

"PALMER'S" was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Palmer. A part of this restaurant was once a small dwelling house and was rented for years to summer tourists before it became a part of the eating establishment.

Farming in the summer and fishing in the winter were the main occupations in Hampton during the 1800's. When the fishing boats came in, the catch would be dressed and frozen, ready for the fish buyers who came down from Vermont and Canada in their big wagons and teams of horses.

These buyers would rent rooms at the "Leavitt Homestead" which was and is located across the street from the Bicentennial Park, then called Nut Island, and was built in 1800. The fish catch would be loaded onto their six-horse wagons for the long trip back home to Vermont or Canada.

The use of the Fish Houses have changed over the years from fishing to lobstering to places for vacationing tourists. Now all that remains is the Ruth G. Stimson Seashore Park, the two fish houses, and the Bicentennial Park, to remind the tourist of the way it used to be in days gone by.

"Palmer's Clam Shell Restaurant", North Beach.
[Note Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway trolley tracks in foreground.]

Out For A Good Time

"I Know My Onions"

Photo taken at Salisbury Beach, Mass.

Employees of Palmer's Clam Shell Restaurant of North Beach,
late 1930s:

Back row, l. to r.: Unknown, Ruth Palmer, Mac Hamilton, Charles Palmer, Gertrude Palmer & Myron Norton.
Front row, l. to r.: Unknown, Alice Norton, remainder unknown.
[Photo Post Card courtesy of Ethel Hamilton & Nancy {Hamilton} Fogg]