Join in planning now for #GloucesterMA 400th Anniversary in 2023!

All are invited to have fun, join in, share ideas for Gloucester’s 400th Anniversary possible celebrations in 2023. A public meeting will be held at City Hall on Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 1-3pm. Can’t attend? Email your input to the 400th steering committee: email gloucester400@gmail.com  and check out the 400th Anniversary Facebook page For More Info

“Although Gloucester’s 400th Anniversary is five years away, we know that those years will go by quickly.  400 years deserves a year long celebration in 2023 and a steering committee has been meeting for the last six or seven months to get the process started. Three Captains have been chosen to lead the group:  Bruce Tobey, Bob Gillis and Ruth Pino. The Committee is sponsoring a public meeting on Saturday April 28, 2018 in City Hall Auditorium…What should happen during 2023? What would you participate in? What would you miss if it didn’t happen?” 

With so much advance notice, it’s fun to ruminate. Three words come quickly to mind for one idea: Virginia Lee Burton. Burton was one of the most influential children’s book author-illustrators of the 20th century and Folly Cove textile designer and founder. She received the Caldecott medal in 1943 for The Little House. Whether for the 400th Anniversary or not, I hope one day that there are tribute commissions for Virginia Lee Burton’s beloved characters Katy from Katy and the Big Snow and Mary Ann from Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel at Stage Fort playground.  Life Story and Song of Robin Hood were also informed by landscape and her life in Gloucester. (The Burton tributes could be massive, interactive and accessible bronze sculptures. Tom Otterness commissions were completed at this scale. Why not Burton? They don’t have to be. Also bring back the monumental sea serpent and the big truck. These memorable imaginative expressions were wood in the past and maintained for years. Perhaps they could be recreated with modern decking materials. And add in Burton’s Little House! )

 

Archives

May 1923 Gloucester Daily Times covers down to the wire plans tercentenary Gloucester Mass.jpg

Gloucester has a history of producing major anniversary celebrations which makes looking back through archives* inspiring for future plans. Here are a few I’ve pulled:

*digitizing Gloucester Daily Times and Gloucester’s municipal archives is another oft repeated plea of mine and others–am sending that one along to a 400th dream wish list…

1892

Link to Gloucester’s 250th memorial celebration BOOK: https://archive.org/stream/memorialofcelebr00glou

1942

August 16, 1942– the city’s second (!) Tercentenary Celebration.

 

1923 Fighting for public art –  the Fisherman at the Wheel memorial commission

On May 21, 1923, the Gloucester Daily Times published an article about the appropriations and planning for the city’s 300th Anniversary which is remarkable in content and its late date–the celebration was just months away!  The idea itself and related costs concerning a public art commission –the one that would become Gloucester’s renowned Fisherman at the Wheel Memorial– were hammered out at a heated City Council meeting. Here’s the nearly complete transcription:

COUNCIL RECONSIDERS AND VOTES $5000 TO CELEBRATION: Equal Amount Will Be Reserved for Permanent Memorial Fund–Executive Committee Held Prolonged and Animated Session Saturday Evening. May 21, 1923 (*note ______ indicates illegible copy)

After three hours of discussion and a conference of the municipal council behind closed doors lasting about three-quarters of an hour on Saturday evening, it was voted to reconsider their action whereby the $10,000 appropriated for the anniversary committee should be alloted for a permanent memorial and voted for _____ committee to expend a sum not exceeding $5000 for the celebration, and the other $5000 to be used for the creation of a permanent memorial.

The agreement as finally reached is ______________ provide for the dedication in whole or in part of a permanent memorial to be erected and paid for jointly by the _______ city of Gloucester. “The municipal council agrees that a sum of $5000 of the amount appropriated by the city for the celebration will be for the general purposes of the committee if necessary, with the understanding that all expensea for additional police protection incurred by the  committee on public safety will be paid for by the anniversary committee. And with the further understanding that the anniversary committee will do all possible to have this sum of money applied to the permanent memorial in addition to the sum reserved ____ by the municipal _____ surplus after the celebration is over, this surplus also to be for the purpose of a permanent memorial.” The meeting opened at 8.15 o’clock, with a reading of the records by Secretary Harold H. Parsons, and following this there came without hesitation_____ ing of the celebration from those present, and for a time, one was reminded of the old town meeting days. ___________ A Piatt Andrew ___________ carnival parade by members of the art colony of the city were accepted and adopted. 

Plain Talk by Chairman Barrett-  Chairman Barrett then arose and addressed the members present and said: “I sent a communication to the municipal council some time ago to find out just what standing this celebration had with them. The letter I received was not

Continue reading “Join in planning now for #GloucesterMA 400th Anniversary in 2023!”

Walk this way: Gloucester’s stately Stacy Boulevard public works project is breathtaking and one for the ages! Part 1

This view will be changing imminently! Today’s Motif Monday is the work on the Boulevard.

IMG_20170324_080151

The marvelous engineering and construction for the boulevard is a HUGE story. In all the collective excitement to walk this way, let’s remember to take a moment to acknowledge this feat.

IMG_20161202_094128

Mike Hale, Gloucester’s Director of Public Services, was hired in July of 1999, the very same year that this ambitious boulevard infrastructure planning and funding search began for this project. It was funded in 2014.  That means the current project timeline spanned 4 Mayors, administration, staff and city councils. The construction has been exceptionally well managed and I predict it will be or should be nationally recognized with awards. I have been documenting the progress and in the coming days will post several tributes, contemporary views, historic photos and background to rev up anticipation and respect.

Coincidentally, April 16, 2017 will mark the 94th anniversary of an important piece of the boulevard’s construction.

On that day in history, Gloucester’s city council approved the purchase of two lots, the Grant and Low properties:

“Whereas it is the desire of the board of park commissioners of the city of Gloucester to take in fee by purchase or otherwise certain land in said Gloucester lying between Western Avenue and the sea,

“And whereas, the said board has estimated the expenses of acquiring the same to be $8000,

“It is hereby ordered that the sum of $8000 be and hereby is appropriated from the $90,000 Western Avenue act of 1922 to the board of park commissioners as provided by law for the purpose of acquiring and laying out as a public park such land as the said board of park commissioners consider desirable therefore, being the land as shown on a plan entitled ‘Proposed taking for highway and park purposes, Gloucester, Mass, dated April 16, 1923, John H. Griffin, City Engineer,’ having reference to that portion as shown on said plan as is proposed to be taken for park purposes.” I’ve added the bold emphasis to note the big vision of Western Avenue as a public park and extension of Stage Fort in 1923.

The significant original investment was tangible and long lasting, hallmarks of any successful public works project. Did the Boulevard improve the quality of life in Gloucester? It wasn’t easy. Houses and roads were moved.

IMG_20170403_113225

Photo caption: “A VIEW NOW OF THE PAST. Most of us are familiar with the Above View. it Shows the Dwellings which Once Lined the Western Avenue Waterfront Before Work was Started Constructing the New Boulevard.”

These photographs were published in August 1923 and retrieved from the Gloucester Daily Times microfiche reel at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library.

The caption below describes Kent Circle “where grand stand has been erected for the review of the parades” for Gloucester’s tercentenary celebration. 

IMG_20170403_113218

Awaiting full access in 2017 is a mere blip of an inconvenience when considering how fundamental the Boulevard is for Gloucester. Its benefits are priceless.

Tomorrow’s post BRINGING PLANS TO LIFE

Prior posts