LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
To the Editor,
While the reader could easily infer differently from the referenced article, let me make it clear: at recent Town Council meeting I did not simply proclaim that the lot recently purchased by the town and Land Trust should be called something other than the “The Overlook,” the name of the 1980s housing on the portion of the parcel not transferred.
I distributed a copy of the page from the Land Evidence records of the town, V34, P106, wherein members of the Champlin family in 1967 transferred ownership of the land
known as the “Sam P. Meadow” to B.I. Realty, a company belonging to Paul Filippi, Sr. There was one exclusion, a single acre which had been split out earlier.
That corner acre would become the site of Lew Gaffett’s Samuel Peckham Inn & Tavern, now Salt Pond Settlement.
As Lew’s daughter, Kim, stated at the Land Trust meeting, the lot came first. A random check shows the vacant land in the 1934 Tax Book — before we had Plat/Lot —identified as the Sam P. Meadow. I can add, when Lew was thinking of a name for his new enterprise he called my mother, one of his former teachers. He knew she was fascinated with island history and first asked it she had any idea what the “P” represented. She did not and then he asked his real question, did she think there would be objections if he used Peckham, a name fading but not yet forgotten on Block Island. As anyone who knew him will confirm, Lew could spin a yarn with the best of them but he did not want to be disrespectful of local heritage.
Many of us know people who have houses in the Peckham Farm sub-division, so named because it used to be the Peckham Farm.
Peckham Pond is on many maps. There are some notable Peckham graves in more than one island cemetery. There are stories, but I am sticking to verifiable facts today.
Unrelated to the article but worth mentioning - has everyone forgotten we already have a public shoreline access formally named the Edward S. Payne Overlook? It is one of the
most popular destinations in this region, that Mohegan Bluffs site.
So, in summary, the vacant lot already has a name, the Sam P. Meadow, and if it didn’t the “Overlook” is already taken for an established public access anyway.