Why Mattapoisett’s Iconic Salty the Seahorse Suddenly Looks Different
Mattapoisett's mascot is getting a touch-up.
Heck, life tends to take its toll on the best of us, so every once in a while it's time for a little tender, loving care.
Built by a gift shop to attract Cape-bound tourists back in the 1950s, Salty the Seahorse is nearly 70 years old. The gift shop at the corner of North Street and Route 6 went out of business after I-195 was built, and the land was donated to the town's land trust.
Surprisingly, it's been more than 20 years since the beloved Mattapoisett landmark has seen a fresh coat of paint. That changed this week.
According to the president of the Mattapoisett Land Trust, Mike Huguenin, it took three people about five hours to scrub Salty from head to tail on Wednesday. The next day, three volunteers painted Salty for about five or six hours. Then, there were a few more hours spent on touch-up work on Friday. The bucket truck was borrowed from Village Signs and Mahoney's Building Supply donated the paint.
To the untrained eye, Salty may have appeared one color prior to the fresh paint, a slightly rusted green, similar to the Statue of Liberty. However, the Mattapoisett Land Trust did its due diligence and spoke with a woman who painted Salty back at the turn of the century. The original four colors were matched for this week's restoration (Salty's head is a lighter white than her yellowish tail).
When Was Salty's Last Restoration?
"Salty was taken down for about a year back in the year 2000/2001," Huguenin said.
Because she had begun to fall apart, Salty was rebuilt using more fiberglass. The 38-foot tall figure was housed at a boat shed where some local artisan boat builders rebuilt her. Brownell Boat Works built a sturdy new pole to mount the mascot. When it was put back up, the Mattapoisett Land Trust had a contest to name it, and that's where the 'Salty' name came from."
This week's restoration was in conjunction with the Mattapoisett Land Trust's upcoming 50th anniversary celebration.
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