LAWRENCE —The Dodgems bumper cars, the Sky Rocket wooden roller coaster, Dobbie horses and music at Frolics, conjures many remembrances of summering at Salisbury Beach.
Dubbed the “Lawrence Riviera” because so many city residents vacationed there, the years spent at the beach have been immortalized in the 2013 “Salisbury Beach Memories” annual historic calendar printed by Lawrence Public Library.
“People want nostalgia and things that remind them of when they were younger,” said Phyllis Tyler, treasurer of the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library.
She said group members have been taking about the Salisbury Beach-Lawrence connection for a while.
“The minute we started talking about Salisbury, everyone had memories of going up the beach or down the beach,” said Susan Dowd, a member of the Friends of Lawrence Public Library.
“Even though this is not in Lawrence, it’s like another neighborhood just down the road,” she said.
Nearly every one from Lawrence went to Salisbury either for the day or to stay at a family cottage which is why many called it, “Lawrence with Sand” or “Lawrence by the sea,” she said.
In addition to soaking up the sun, stopping at Butcher’s, there was also the debate which pizza and which fried dough was better at Salisbury. Many say the debate still continues today.
“Going to the beach was a special occasion,” said Tyler, who remembers going to Salisbury for the day. “It was kind of exciting because of the amusement rides. The big treat was chocolate-covered ice cream on a stick.”
The color calendar features photographs from the 1920s to today as well as postcards which vacationers sent to family and friends in Lawrence.
One of the photographs is Tyler’s mother on the beach wearing a long bathing suit, hat and shoes.
“We wanted to capture the beach through the years and I think we did that,” she said.
On the cover there is a photograph of a family posing on the beach with a panoramic view of Salisbury on the back cover. Inside its pages, there are pictures of the bumper rides, the wooden roller coaster, the Frolic, Christy’s and Tripoli’s pizza shops as well as vignettes of families standing by their summer cottages.
Louise Sandberg, library archivist said six to eight members of the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library began working on the calendar in July.
The Friends of the Library solicited photographs through the library’s website and were also helped by the Salisbury Historical Society.
“People get very nostalgic about the beach and they don’t think their photos have any value beyond the family, but it isn’t true,” Sandberg said.
“Even family and neighborhood photos have a particular point in time.” James Roy of Lawrence was one of several residents who shared his family photographs for the calendar, dating back to the 1920s. “Salisbury Beach was a big thing in the Merrimack Valley because it was one of the only place that was accessible to most people.”
Roy remembers driving with his parents along Route 110 when it was gravel to get to the beach and as a teenager going with his pals.
“I liked the arcade and the rides,” he recalls.
Friends of the Lawrence Public Library have been printing a historic calendar since 1991.
Among the themes included have been Essex Street and the Bread and Roses Strike.
The one on Essex Street has been the most popular.
“It’s all about nostalgia, really,” Sandberg said. “There’s a certain type of topics that people enjoy and we love sharing them.”
Sandberg is happy with how next year’s caledar turned out.
“It came together great. The time and effort was worth it. I think it’s one of the best; it’s very appealing,” Sandberg said.
Tyler said she is already getting orders from such states as Indiana, California and Florida.
“There are people who have a soft spot for Lawrence and they really want to keep that connection. It’s a little piece of home,” Tyler said.
The Friends of the Lawrence Public Library is a nonprofit, volunteer group that supports the library.
They provide volunteer assistance for library projects, raise funds for extra services, fund museum passes and educational programs.
The calendar is now available at the Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence St., Lawrence Public Library South Lawrence branch, 135 Parker St., and Lawrence Heritage State Park, 1 Jackson St. The cost is $10.