How Westport’s Horseneck Beach Got Its Name
Why did they name it Horseneck Beach and whose idea was it anyway? I don't know for sure, but I found a theory.
Since moving to Dartmouth in 2020, my wife and I have become quite fond of exploring the many backroads of our adopted town and next-door Westport. Having traveled our country extensively in recent years, I can say with certainty that the beauty of this region measures up nicely with what's out there.
Horseneck Beach, or Horseneck State Reservation, is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Before becoming everyone's favorite place to cool off on a hot summer's day, farmers would graze animals at Horseneck, according to the Westport Historical Society's publication Westport.
"There are actually two Horseneck beaches, East Beach and West Beach, and they developed quite differently," the society wrote. In the early 1800s "many acres of Horseneck Beach were devoted to the cranberry industry."
Construction of the Westport Bridge wasn't complete until 1894, connecting the mainland to the beaches, but the area had already begun to attract summer tourists and some permanent residents. By the early 1900s, there was talk of running a rail line between Horseneck Beach and Dartmouth's Lincoln Park. It never happened.
So how did Horseneck Beach get its name? The Westport Historical Society stated that "Horseneck Beach is thought to derive its name from the Algonquian word hassanegk, meaning cellar dweller or a house made of stone."
Native Americans occupied the area in Westport known as Acoaxet in the 17th century.
It could also be because someone thought the area was shaped like a horse's neck.
Horseneck Beach is a beautiful place with a rich history. I hope you get to enjoy it.