How often have you wondered just why that street, road, or highway is called what it is, or how long that path has been traveled?
We have, many times.
Each week during 1998, The Star will highlight some of the colorful place names around town and tell how they came to be.
Tub-Oarsman Road, like nearby Bow-Oarsman Road, Boatsteerer's Court, and Boatheader's Lane, is off Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton. All these street names pay homage to the whalers of old.
Local men went whaling the world over, some never returning, but they also hunted for whales "perilously, in small boats, from our own shores, from the years 1640 to 1918," wrote Jeannette Edwards Rattray in "Whale Off! The Story of American Shore Whaling."
The tub-oarsman was one of six manned positions in the boat. Once the boatsteerer's harpoon had fastened to a whale and the rope was hauled back, it was the tub-oarsman's responsibility to coil it "into the tub carefully so it will come out without fouling."
At the turn of the past century only three whaleboats were going out off Amagansett, and their occupants were envied by other men and admired by women, according to "Whale Off!"