Rye & Rye Beach

Rye & Rye Beach

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Many years ago, William Varrell was talking with an old carpenter's wife in Rye. "Father was the town photographer. We still have the glass negatives," she mentioned. Thus began Varrell's fascination with the old images that breathe new life into long-forgotten events and faces from Rye's past. Rye is a small town without major industries or impressive public buildings, but it has a long and colorful history. Alas, there were no cameras to record the colonial settlements, the Native American massacres, or Rye's proud role in the Revolutionary War. However, the dawn of a thriving tourist trade happily coincided with the birth of modern photography, so over one hundred years of history can be experienced through the most telling of all historical documents--the photograph. Since most old photographs were taken in bright sunlight, it is not difficult as you browse through this wonderful collection to take yourself back in time to a Rye that has in many ways disappeared. Visualize a tint of green for the fields and a swathe of blue for the sky; imagine the roar of the ocean or the clatter of a coach dashing by, and the past will come alive before you.