In 1987, the hungry Atlantic Ocean broke the barrier beach protecting Chatham, swallowing a handful of shorefront houses. But in the last half century, most of the change that has come to this town on the elbow of Cape Cod has been more subtle. Historic houses gave way to hotels when Chatham became an attractive vacation destination for motorists, and then the hotels became homes again as summer visitors sought to have a place of their own for retirement. Amid real estate booms, Chathamites struggled to keep the town's history and natural beauty from being erased. Treasures like the Godfrey gristmill, the Marconi wireless station, and even the Main Street School fell into disrepair but were later preserved. Chatham continues its wrestle with nature, confronting old challenges like erosion and new ones like water quality--and now great white sharks.