Whatever Happened to The Pacific Club? -August 2006

Description of story here

by: Joshua Balling

photography by: Nicole Harnishfeger

The Pacific Club is a survivor. The historic brick building at the foot of Main Street that began life in 1772 as the counting house of prosperous whaling merchant William Rotch fought the Great Fire of 1846 to a draw. Its interior was gutted and charred, but its brick shell unbowed.

It’s survived countless brutal winters whose freezing and thawing cracked its masonry, smaller fires on all three of its floors, and numerous tenants from the Chamber of Commerce and the county court to a pair of television stations and a photographer’s studio.

Today it stands on solid if unassuming footing, the Four Winds Craft Guild and a Bank of America automatic teller machine occupying the ground floor. Offices and club rooms sit silently vacant on the second and third floors, patiently waiting for footfalls to once again echo on the stairs and masculine laughter to reverberate from within.

The club membership itself, founded by 24 whaling captains in 1854 and over the years made up of business leaders and laborers, shopkeepers and tradesmen, is dormant today. But like the building, it too is merely resting, waiting for the right combination of interest and oversight to resume its hotly-contested cribbage games and other social activities.

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