A Political Barometer in Harwich Port You Need to See

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Neil B. Waters, president of Monahan & Co. Fine Jewelers

Monahan & Company Jewelers in Harwich Port has always transported its visitors back in time. But lately, those who sit just outside of the shop have been afraid of the future.
The green bench just outside of the 200-year-old building has served as a “political barometer,” as owner Michael Monahan put it, for generations.

In the past, Monahan has adorned the bench with pictures of presidents and political flyers. He’s even labeled one side “Democrat,” the opposite side “Republican.” In recent years, he has allotted an “Independent” slot right in the middle of the furniture.

Doing so inspired many to stop at the bench and make their political positions known by taking pictures of themselves on certain sides representing the political spectrum.
However, Monahan reports that this year, not as many have been so eager to share their ideologies by taking a seat on the bench.

He says this election in particular has been much too scary and uncertain for many to take a firm stance. As a result, the seat has stayed cold.
“You can flip a coin almost,” he said. “I might have to make my mind up at the last minute, with all the scandals going on.”

Visitors don’t have to pick one or the other in order to appreciate the shop’s ties to history, however. A trip indoors will grant views of hundreds of trinkets on the walls, many of them connected to Cape Cod and Massachusetts history.

There’s also what Monahan called a 1,000-year-old shillelagh club from Ireland.

sk_harwichport-political-bench-at-monahan-jewelers-8Of course, the building itself is a priceless piece of living history. The “new” room in the back was built in 1815, while the original structure dates back to 1736.

Monahan’s family bought the building in the early 50s, and some of their original pieces of jewelry have circulated back to their permanent “museum,” housed among the many, many others.
There are multiple pieces from the early 1800s mixed in with turn-of-the 20th century necklaces and rings.

Monahan will be the first to admit that, sometimes, visitors are often surprised to learn that the business is in fact a jewelry store.

“I’ve been so busy all of my life with the store that I haven’t been the best at putting together organized displays,” he said.

Monahan does, in a way, wish that candidates like the ones in the pictures adorning his shop and the ones on his bench outside would resurface in the current election. But, no matter what, he says he will still vote.

“We’re going to support whoever does get in by putting the winner’s picture up – maybe they’ll bring pride to the bench again during their term,” he said.

Monahan and Co. is located at 540 MA-28, Harwich Port, MA

By Adam Forziati


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