112 years ago, a group of community-minded locals and tourists banned together to put on an amateur production of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan HMS Pinafore. They had a goal of raising money to put a boardwalk on the beach of Lake Huron stretching from the end of High Street to as far as the money raised could take them. Like many of us today, who walk along beach to watch and gaze at one of Southampton's beautiful sunsets, they wanted a boardwalk, so all could enjoy unhampered by the sand. Thus, with their fundraising dollars in hand, as the Pinafore, was a roaring success, they were able to build a boardwalk out of local wood from the foot of High Street extending to the Pier.
In 1906, it is noted, in a then local periodical called ?the Summer Citizen, that it was replaced by cement and stretched from High Street all the way to the Long Dock at the end of present day Beach St.
Virginia Greathead, an elderly Southampton resident, once tourist, remembers that in the 1920?s ?when we were in our teens, our group would walk along the boardwalk to the Breaker?s Dance Hall and for a quarter we would listen and dance to the bands that would play there. Oh, they were lovely times.
Now the boardwalk, aptly named the Pinafore after the original fundraiser, remains a part of Southampton. Its form may have changed with the times, but it has silently witnessed newlyweds hands locked together walking down the beach dreaming of their futures; watched as kids run for the swing sets on the beach while their parents sit down exhausted on one of the now strategically placed benches; and the once young, elderly residents with fond memories of an easier time, walk with their young grandchildren all watching the brilliant sunset one more time, are forever ?encased in cement.
The sun will continue to rise and set along the shores of Lake Huron bringing young and old, but the inconspicuous boardwalk which lays silent, was the dream and pride of a group of locals and tourists, whose community pride 112 years later, is the pride still held by locals who remember what a little community pride can achieve.