A Perfect Gift: The Revere Beach Book

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

There’s a bit of a history buff in all of us, especially when it comes to Revere Beach. No one loved this beach more than Peter McCauley, a columnist for the Revere Journal for years.

Recently, the Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation released the second edition of McCauley’s book, “Revere Beach Chips” and it is now for sale to the public.

“It’s a complete history of Revere Beach, the people and events,” said Mary Jane Terenzi, president of the Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation. It’s a chronological depiction from 1881 to 1973.

Terenzi said the book has been out of print for 20 years, and they had always wanted to reprint it, but it would be expensive. Watchmaker Publishing of Ocean Shores, WA was able to keep the costs down and digitize the book.

The title, “Revere Beach Chips,” refers to the title of a column in the Revere Journal known for “chips of beach gossip.” The book reads like a journal with information about hotels, amusements, activities and even some official business. There is also a nice index to pinpoint areas of interest.

McCauley was all about Revere. He was the sealer of weights and measures for the city of Revere, and had a lifelong interest in its history. In addition to his writing, McCauley was a collector of memorabilia. He was also a founding member behind the creation of the Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation. Terenzi said some of the memorabilia was sold to the owner of Kelly’s Roast Beef.

“Peter McCauley had a tremendous knowledge of Revere and Revere Beach,” Terenzi said. “He knew the people in the arcades.”

The 352-page book is full of illustrations from the beach, and there’s even a a song sheet in the back of the book for “On a Sunday Down at Revere” and old Revere Beach advertisements. McCauley recalls how the narrow gauge railroad in 1875 would bring hundreds of people to Crescent Beach (as Revere Beach was first known).

McCauley was a meticulous researcher who kept notebooks and scrapbooks about Revere history. Some of the memorabilia he had is now at the Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation house at 108 Beach St.

“The city bought McCauley’s second collection, and that’s what we have here,” Terenzi said.

The museum is currently closed for the winter, but will open again in March. Tours are available by calling 781-286-2226.

“Revere Beach Chips” is available by calling Terenzi at 781-244-9448. The book is also for sale in the Revere Journal office at 385 Broadway during business hours.

The Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation is also raising funds to replace the slate and cooper roof on the building at 108 Beach St. donations may be sent to RSCHP, 108 Beach St., Revere. The house is on the National Registrar of Historic Places. So far $25,000 has been raised and the goal is $35,000.

“We are always looking for memorabilia. We will also copy people’s photographs and put them in display,” Terenzi said.

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