, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 26, 2013

Tilly the whale on the move Wednesday

Locals share memories of iconic but distressed sculpture


As for why the whale is also known as Jesse, Vic Meola shared his thoughts on that.

“What I remember most about the whale was the name that was always on the head: “JESSE,” Meola wrote. “That name was after my uncle, Jesse Parino, who used to run Salisbury State Reservation back in the day. I remember going to the beach as a young boy with my parents back in the ’60s, and I couldn’t wait to see Uncle Jesse’s name on the whale.”

Former Salisbury police officer Ed Foote also remembers the whale as Jesse. The name was painted on one night when former lifeguards at Salisbury Beach State Reservation got a little rambunctious, Foote said, and named it after their boss.

But for Nancy Riley-Whitehill, this whale’s name is Tilly and she has always been a Salisbury native.

“I have lived in Salisbury almost my whole life, and a baby sitter took me and my siblings to the beach almost daily during the summers in the mid 1960s,” Riley-Whitehill wrote. “Tilly the Whale is my first memory of going to Salisbury Beach. When we passed Tilly, we knew we were almost there. I also visited Adventureland as a kid and Tilly was already at Salisbury Beach when it opened.”

And with luck, Tilly will be back soon.

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