Litter! Drugs! 1978 at the Quarries

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Did you read Ray Lamont’s article  Crackdown at the Quarries from Gloucester Daily Times? That is now and that was then. A few choice excerpts from an August 5, 1978 article by  Henry F Billings published in the North Shore Magazine insert of the Gloucester Daily Times.

The water is oil-slicked in places and the litter is out of control everywhere. There is obviously no one responsible for cleaning up the area. Apparently the people who use the area are making no effort to tidy up.

The litter ranges from beer bottles of now defunct breweries to yesterday’s Big Mac container to last Saturday night’s underwear. Careful collection of all the broken glass in the area would provide all the churches of the United States with enough material to make their own stained glass windows for the next millennium.

The persistent will not be deterred by this eyesore. they will follow the path that leads around to the left.

A  few steps beyond the first quarry is a second, much cleaner, one. Although there still is enough litter to keep a DPW crew busy for a week, this quarry does offer the bather a salubrious haven from the burdens of the world. 

Nude bathing adds a dash of spice to an already adventurous day of swimming…

And, if your sense of smell is weak then the acid rock punctuating the air is a dead giveaway. The message is clear: “come on , he’s got cocaine and morphine too…rocketships to get you high…

The first quarry is particularly renown as an automobile burial ground. No doubt a ‘stolen car’ or two has found its way to the murky depths. That would help account for the thick, localized oil slicks which are the legacy of a quick insurance claim. This explanation is given additional credence by a bit of graffiti on a cliff at the second quarry, “Park Cars Here” with an arrow pointing down. One of the stranger stories is the one about a man who dove from a high cliff only to be skewered by a car antenna. This improbable tale has produced an additional piece of graffiti, “Dean Man’s Cliff.” All of this lends an air of fascination to the place.

So if you can shield your eyes from the thoughtless refuse of others and are a strong adventurous swimmer with a disdain for crowds, then maybe a day at the Annisquam quarry is for you…

When a region as popular and crowded as the North Shore is during the summer, it may seem strange to talk of obscure swimming areas. In truth, there aren’t many left.

And those that we have are manifestly flawed. If you want guaranteed safety, clean water and privies with toilet paper, then you better stay with established areas…

photo caption: Quarries were not designed with swimming safety in mind

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