Tea Rooms and Strawberries

This  front room of this Cape Cod house became “The Little Green Light”   in the 30s and early 40s’.


I remember “The Little Green Light”, a tea room on Summer Street. I was very little when my Mom would visit with Moyra Banner and Dot King at the Banner residence; this was just a short walk past the Seaview Garage, and next to the chapel, the old Sea View schoolhouse.

The Sea View Schoolhouse with it’s classes. c. 1910.®


We would enter through the back door into the kitchen, where the center of activity was. A long table near the window always had a bowl of cookies on it and I was always welcome to help myself, however Mom kept her eye on me.

Mom would have a cup of tea while chatting with Moyra and Dot as they went about business getting ready for customers. Dot would have a stack of sandwiches, crusts removed and squared up. The crusts were going to be used for bread pudding. Yuk! Later when I took my lunch to the North School, Mom had to remove the crusts from my sandwiches.

The south front room was very bright and was set with sparkling settings. I was not allowed in, but I could see in from the doorway. Dot was always fussing with something in that room. I’m sure Mom planned her visits so not to interfere with customers, as I never remember any. I don’t think the tearoom operated during the war.

This original business card was found in a Vermont antique’s store

It was kept by a post card collector for many years.

Incredibly this was found in Florida by my cousin.

Janet donated it to my blog.

Thank you, Jan.


There were roadside tables of strawberries everywhere in town, and Summer Street had its share during the season. Earl Banner, Moyra’s husband, raised strawberries in his back yard and had a table-full out front. Mom would buy a box on occasion and we would have a bowlful with cream and powdered sugar on top. My Dad and I loved them!  But best of all, on a special occasion, Mom would make a mess of biscuits, put one in a bowl, cover it with strawberries, and top it with whipped cream, I could never get enough of the whipped cream! Do you remember licking the beaters?

Oh how I remember my Mom grinding away with her beater and I waiting to lick them clean.

Not until sometime later I learned that Mr. Banner was raising Marshall berries. The way he bragged about “his Marshall berries,” I always thought he developed them. Not until recently, I found out a Mr. Marshall F. Ewell of Spring Street introduced the” Marshall” in 1890. It had exceptional taste and firmness, and has been described as ” The Best Eating Strawberry In America.” It also  flourished in the Pacific Northwest, but was devastated by viruses after the war. The “Marshall” is currently being maintained by the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon.

Mr. Banner was still selling berries after the war, and I wonder if he was trying desperately trying to save the “Marshall” or just loved that berry.

A bowl of Marshall berries grown by Lea Gauthier.

Photo by Leah Gauthier, used with permission.

by Ray Freden
Originally published in the Marshfield Mariner, May 21, 2008

Tearing Down the Old Railroad Station

 Sea View Rail  Road Station. c. 1890

My dad purchased the station from the Old Colony Railroad in 1942, and the land. His plans were to tear down the station and build a new home.

Rear view of the Station.®


I remember the large waiting room with long settees along the walls, a clock with roman numerals, a pot-belly stove, and the control room with keyboards, head phones and record books. There was an ell on the south side with a big pump that would pump well water to a large copper-lined tank in the attic.

Coal burning Pot Bellied Stove.


The tracks were removed  about  1942&3  by a crane mounted on a flat car. The men would attach chains to a length of track. The crane lifted it, spun around, and lowered it to a waiting flat car, then hauled away when full.

Later during the war, scavengers would walk the track bed, picking up rail spikes and iron plates to be sold as scrap. Coal was also found along the track bed.

A pile of Rail Road Track spiked collected from the RR bed.

My Dad and I began tearing the inside of the station apart sometime during the war. During the next few years, the interior was gutted. Dad engineered the project and I, at 8 to 12 years old, was in charge of pulling nails, cleaning bricks, and straightening lead and copper flashing. Everything had to be saved because no new building materials were available.

The abandoned Station waiting to be torn down. c. 1944.®

When Dad was sure he was not going to be drafted, he made plans to dismantle the building during his summer vacation from the Record American Newspaper. His twin brother came to help. Bill & Herbie would drop timbers to the ground by ropes, then later stack them in piles by size. I moved the smaller timbers. The attic and second floor were off in less than two weeks. The neighbors were amazed! No pictures were taken, Mom said that no film could found for her brownie box camera.

In 1946, Dad contracted Gino Rugani of Pleasant Street and Dog Lane to build the foundation and to excavate. August Schatz & crew were to build the new home from that old station. I can still hear Red Davis and Dobby Dobson cuss the hidden nails dulling their saws . . . the nails I should have removed! I’m sure there was much cussing that I never heard!

Ray with his pal Lucky, with their new home built from the Station.   1947.®

Dad found nails in Bridgewater, windows in Quincy, and roof shingles in Millis. The shingles were seconds and only lasted 50 years on that roof! We moved in October 1947. (Dad passed away in Feb. ’06 at 101 years.)

A similar crane  was used to remove the tracks. This crane is working on the North River bridge at Damond’s Point c. 1900.

by Ray Freden
Originally published in the Marshfield Mariner, May 7, 2008

Memories of Trains



The Sea View Railroad Station

® ® Sea View RR station 53 Station St.
Name changed from Littletown to Sea View
Aug.20 1873.




Sometime in the fall or winter of 1938 I heard the train whistle blow just after I was put to bed. I went to the window and lifted the green shade and looked across the field beside the Sea View railroad station. I could see the lights of the passenger train going south. The lights were blinking on and off. Later in life did I realize the lights were not blinking, the trees along the side of the tracks made them appear to blink!

Sea View Railroad Station


Track-side, looking East.


The trains did not stop at this station anymore and it was boarded up. The Nicholson family lived in the apartment above the station, and Sherman was my friend, 12 years my elder. Sherman showed me how to put coins on the tracks and have them flattened by the train! This must have happened early 1939 — I was 5. My mom gave me 2 pennies and let me go with “Sherm” to the tracks. He placed a nickel on and I put my pennies down.
My flattened pennies.
I never heard or saw the train that flattened my pennies. The next day we went to the place where we put the coins and found nothing! Sherm searched up and down and finally found his nickel and  my pennies. They were flat! I kept those  flat oval shaped penny for years.

Passenger Train stopped in Marshfield


The trains were discontinued that year. The tracks were pulled up about 1942 A huge crane on a flat car would lift a length of track, swing around to a flat car behind it, and lower it down. Two men would unhitch it then scramble down to hitch up another. A small “donkey ” locomotive would haul it off, filled. This was quite of an event for a 6-year-old.
The last train to pass through Marshfield 1939



by Ray Freden
Originally published in the Marshfield Mariner, April 9, 2008
Revised 11/24/2020.