2019 Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim #GloucesterMA is a two day festival this year!

 

Sarah Robbins Evans on the right with Barbara Blais watching 40th Anniversary Celebrate Clean Harbor Swim_Evans co founder both swam it many years _20180811_©c ryan Gloucester Mass
2018

From the race press: save the date — it’s  a great, family friendly spectator sport event!

“CELEBRATE THE CLEAN HARBOR OPEN WATER SWIMMING FESTIVAL will be held  August 17 and 18, 2019.

Starting off  the festival will be the  Clean Harbor Kids Swim on Saturday, a 500 meter swim along the shore of Niles Beach for 8-12 year olds. Held since 2015, this is a wonderful way to introduce kids to the sport of Open Water Swimming.

Also on Saturday will be the 1.2 Mile Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim

NEW EVENT

For 2019, we are continuing a second day to the event, creating the festival. We will be holding the  10 mile Clean Harbor Relay event on Sunday, August 18th. This event will be held on a 1.0 mile course, very similar to Saturday’s event.  We suggest teams of 5, and swimming through the rotation two times.  Your team may have more or less than 5 swimmers. We believe the more the merrier. There will be a 6.5 hour limit. This will be a fun atmosphere, so bring a beach chair/blanket, snacks, some sunscreen and shade, and have a great time hanging out on the beach between your swims with your closest swimming friends. “

Proceeds raised target Maritime Gloucester and Fishermen Wives Club

See amazing 1901 historic photos from Bruce Roberts: Gloucester crews worked on Haskell’s dam

City of Gloucester officials are working towards a Phase 3 for the Haskell Pond Dam reconstruction which I wrote about last week (Part 1). I included information about the original monumental build. In response, Bruce Roberts was kind enough to share these amazing photographs of the impressive crews at the Haskell Pond construction site 1901. Bonus: they were annotated by his grandfather in 1958.  West Gloucester families may recognize a surname or two, maybe a family resemblance. Please help ID if you can.

Bruce Roberts explains: “My grandfather, Edward F. Roberts, identified the individuals back in 1958.  There are some folks he didn’t recognize, since he would have been pretty young when these images were taken.  The first picture has the most identified individuals. One thing that has always been remarkable to me in the second image is how much Chester Andrews, my g-grandfather, resembled my father, Eugene Roberts, at that age.”

 HASKELL’S POND CONSTRUCTION ca.1901-02 – (Individuals ID’d by Edward Roberts in 1958)

Clearing Haskells pond late 1901 © courtesy historic photo collection Bruce Roberts

Photo 1, Dec 1901 (in snow): “Wood Choppers at Haskell’s Pond, December 1901”
Front Row, L-R: 1. Otis Lufkin, 2. Matt Poland, 3. Loren (sp?) Harris, 4. Melvin Wilkins, 5. Jim White

Back Row: 1.Asa Sargent, 2. unknown, 3. Ed Lufkin, 4. James Chadbourne, 5. Joseph Abbott, 6. unknown, 7. Joshua Roberts, 8 & 9. unknown

Clearing Haskells pond late 1901 © courtesy historic photo from collection Bruce Roberts

Photo 2 (late 1901 or early 1902):

Front, L-R: 1. Loren Harris, 2 & 3. unknown, 4. Asa Sargent

Center, w/ white shirt: Eps Walter Haskell

3rd row: (Right side, behind Asa Sargent, in light coat): Chester Andrews

(2nd to left from Chester Andrews): Fred Jeffs

2018 July 2 Haskells Pond Dam reconstruction Gloucester Massachusetts Department of Public Works directing SumCo_ photograph ©c ryan (4)

read more:

Continue reading “See amazing 1901 historic photos from Bruce Roberts: Gloucester crews worked on Haskell’s dam”

Neptune smiled down on 40th Anniversary Clean Harbor Swim

Calm and warm water for the 40th Anniversary Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim. Short video of the start and finish and a few snapshots from Day 1. Relays tomorrow!

Sarah Fraser Robbins (R) with Barbara Blais (L)

Sarah Robbins Evans on the right with Barbara Blais watching 40th Anniversary Celebrate Clean Harbor Swim_Evans co founder both swam it many years _20180811_©c ryan Gloucester Mass

Sarah Robbins Evans cheers and celebrates milestone she helped push through 40 years ago. Before it was celebrate the clean harbor it was…clean it. Read more about its beginnings:

Rio Waters can get better! Thanks to Dogged Naturalists We Can Put Our heads Under Water in Gloucester Aug 4, 2016

Sarah Fraser Robbins excerpt, August 10, 2016, and her seaweed recipe included here- see the sea of seaweed and mosses on Long Beach post storm Sept 2016

Gloucester Clean Harbor- H2O no nos are a thing of the past  August 12, 2016

and Conservation Inspiration: Roger Babson, Sarah Fraser Robbins, Sarah Evans, Philip Weld Jr August 15, 2016

Scenes from today

Video 2018 Niles Beach Gloucester MA Celebrate Clean Harbor Swim START roughly 9:30am

 

FINISH roughly 9:48am

 

 

 

Great Public Works then and now | Haskell’s Pond Dam 2018 reconstruction with 1902 construction plans & wild origin story #GloucesterMA

Last month I was fortunate to glimpse the impressive Haskell’s Pond Dam reconstruction orchestrated by Gloucester’s Department of Public Works (DPW). Protecting and managing water utilities can be easy to take for granted. “This not so sleepy dam by Rt. 128 continues to deliver almost 30% of the city’s water,” exclaimed Larry Durkin, City Environmental Engineer. He explained that years ago the DPW team began assessing the city’s water infrastructure and compliance requirements including what would happen during an event storm. Haskell’s Pond Dam needed attention: The reconstruction was projected to cost 2 million (based on the preliminary plans and the recent Babson Reservoir repair). Phase I and II  were contracted out to SumCo Eco Contracting and the estimates were correct. The project cost two million and the work is largely completed thanks to grants and loans from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and the Commonwealth’s Dam and Seawall Program.  DPW Director, Mike Hale, and Larry Durkin concur: “They are fabulous to work with.” Discovery was anticipated. While drilling it was determined that the Haskell Pond Dam was indeed not structurally stable, and a MAJOR fix would be required to bring the dam into compliance. The DPW team is working with the state to fund the critical work of Phase 3.

Until then, take time to enjoy its history. While checking out the 2018  progress, I pulled stories and stats from the Haskell’s Pond Dam original build In 1902. As with today, the dam work was regarded  a model project. State assistance and contracted elements were required then, too. The numerous links among these two century projects are a fascinating delve and described below. The evolving breaking news in 1902 kicked off with a bang, surprising lawsuits (next stop for one could be Supreme Court), and deft leadership. Readers and history buffs will recognize names. (Tarr ancestors were involved; were yours?)

panorama and contemporary photos – Like a mini Walden pond- Haskell’s Pond during Dam reconstruction Gloucester, MA ©c ryan July 7, 2018.  

2018 July 2 Haskells Pond Dam reconstruction Gloucester Massachusetts Department of Public Works directing SumCo_ photograph ©c ryan (1)

FAST STATS 2018 Phase 1 & 2 – $1,928,000

Scope for Phase 1 & 2: Construction of a new concrete spillway chute, concrete repairs, clearing of trees and unwanted vegetation and valve replacement at an earthen embankment dam within the City’s active water supply system, and more (A prior $175,000 grant from the state’s Dam and Seawall Program was awarded to support “engineering, permitting and the development of construction documents”  which established scope for Phase 1)

2018 July 2 Haskells Pond Dam reconstruction Gloucester Massachusetts Department of Public Works directing SumCo_ photograph ©c ryan (7)

Contractor: SumCo Eco Contracting,
Status: largely completed
Mayor: Mayor Romeo Theken
DPW Director: Mike Hale
City Environmental Engineer: Lawrence A. Durkin, P.E.
Project start (historic): 1902
Modern project start: 2013-18; RFP for Phase I issued: March 15, 2017
Total project cost: estimated to be $7 million
Funding Awarded to date: $1,925,000 

  • from State: $1,925,000 – The City has done very well with Grants and Loans from the MA Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and its Dam and Seawall Program, Mike Hale and Larry Durkin concur. “They are fabulous to work with.”
No EEA Grant Loan Comment
1 Design  & permitting grant FY 2016 $175,000 Completed 6/30/16
2 Haskell Phase 1 Construction Grant FY 2017 $500,000 Closed 6/30/17 and City reimbursed
3 Haskell Phase 1 Construction Loan FY 2018 $500,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
4 Haskell Phase 2 Construction Grant FY 2018 (Applied to Phase 1 change orders) $500,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
5 Additional FY 2018 EEA, funds applied to Phase 1 change orders $250,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
6 Haskell Phase 2 Full FY 2019 Grant, to be applied to Phase 3 $500,000 to be realized if Phase 3 goes forward in FY 2019
7 EEA Total to date $1,925,000 $500,000

Phase 3:  Some future phase was anticipated, though obviously impossible to nail down until Phase 1 & 2 were completed. The reconstruction was based on discovery put into works five or more years ago as Durkin and DPW team assessed city’s watersheds. The dam has been deemed unstable and will require a major fix to be compliant. According to Durkin, the scope for Phase 3 will include “a secant concrete wall to be drilled and concrete along the dam crest for its entire length, cored in the bedrock beneath dam for structural stability and a concrete parapet wall tied into the secant wall that provides the necessary containment for the maximum storm as defined by the state” and some exicting ancillary projects I’ll write more about in a future update. Phase 3 is estimated to cost 5 million and DPW is working on grants with the state to ensure that it happens.

Location(s): West Gloucester
Priority:  Mayor Romeo Theken’s Office-City consider water highest priority – this one continues to provide 1/3 of the city’s water

Before / After

before photos courtesy DPW ca.2014  /  after photos ©c ryan 2018

 

 

ORIGINAL 1902 PLANS AND PROPOSAL

Plate 14 West Gloucester showing Haskell's Pond_from Gloucester MA Dept Public Works archives

Reviewing the ordeal that was constructing the dam– one hundred and six years ago –is a fascinating read, and helped me appreciate the major job it’s been in 2018. The original dam construction was contentious and hence the top news story of 1902 and years prior. While researching its beginnings, I was struck by just how many areas of concern and themes of city governance from 1902 remain relevant in 2018. Here’s a short list: the financial condition of the city (“revaluation”), suitable allocations, considering work on Rogers Street, water costs, heroic solo sails, possible steel bridge over Annisquam, Burnham Field play ground, pros and cons of tourism, disagreement over what is considered sound development, new theater on Main Street, announcing state grants, eminent domain, boundary lines, Gloucester Fresh, cut bridge in bad condition, aiming to keep work in town when possible, Stage Fort Park tributes, environmentally friendly innovations,  sustainability, access and oodles of local politics-  Office of Mayor and City Council, city staff, committees, and commissions.

The excerpts below pertain to Haskell’s pond dam from 1902 Gloucester Daily Times  archives that I pulled from reels at Sawyer Free and transcribed for easy access.  Plans and maps are courtesy of Mike Hale and the Department Public Work team. Links to high resolution versions are provided at the end of the post.

January 4, 1902 – MAYOR FRENCH LOSES: Aldermen Vote to Exonerate Water Commissioners

Continue reading “Great Public Works then and now | Haskell’s Pond Dam 2018 reconstruction with 1902 construction plans & wild origin story #GloucesterMA”

Register by Aug 11 for 39th Annual Clean Harbor swim (kids and adults) held @Niles Beach August 19th

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REGISTER BY AUGUST 11 for 39th Annual Clean Harbor Swim- 

“New since 2015 is the Clean Harbor Kids swim, a 500 meter swim along the shore of Niles Beach for 8-12 year olds. This is a wonderful way to introduce kids to the sport of Open Water Swimming.”  And to talk about the history behind celebrating a clean water swim here in Gloucester harbor, the natural world ‘all about us’, stories of conservation, and work of naturalists like Sarah Fraser Robbins.

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Gloucester’s clean harbor: H2O no no’s are in the past

20160809_060501-PANO

Did you read about Cape Cod’s Big Water Drinking Problem in the Boston Globe magazine this past weekend, the cover story? Oy, complicated.

There’s still time to register for the annual Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim which will be held at Niles Beach Saturday morning. Swim or raise a toast–there is so much to celebrate.

Swim to celebrate Gloucester’s clean water

Swim to celebrate the moments people help*

Swim to celebrate a history of ongoing conservation

Swim to celebrate the guys on the DPW crews

Before it was Celebrate the Clean Harbor it was… clean it.

Thirteen year old Elinor Doty swam a mile and a half in 29 minutes, ahead of 16 other swimmers in 1979. The race was in tribute to John McPhee, head of Gloucester Sea Scouts. “We tried to get swimmers who knew John McPhee,” said race organizer Jim Doty, Elinor’s father. “I’d like to make it an annual event if I can swing it…”

“Rounding out the field of 17, was 68 year old Sara Robbins, who was surprised by an unexpected visitor during the middle of the race. “The grey harbor seal popped up beside me to show me a two-pound flounder that he had caught,” said Robbins, who has been training a half mile each day for the past two weeks. “I’m not too fast but I get there.” She said she used the side stroke during the whole course.”

Doty came in first place again in 1980 when the swim morphed into the ideal kick off event for Cape Ann’s Year of the Coast. Because of water quality, several parents wouldn’t let their children participate. “And only two are from the Cape Ann YMCA, James Doty notes, which usually supplies more contestants.

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1979

 

Water pollution was rarely mentioned if at all before the Cape Ann Year of the Coast, an undeniable avalanche tipping point. One 1980 article has a picture of Sarah Fraser Robbins, Sarah Evans and Chandler Evans. The 8 year old was ceremoniously passed from boat to boat and then dropped in so three generations could swim across the finish line. In 1981 organizers reminded people that they didn’t need to complete the swim, they could jump in and swim across the finish line in support. I wonder if that tradition was maintained?

1980 swimmers besides the Evans clan and Doty–Gloucester residents, unless otherwise stated: David Hayden (2nd place), Karen Hartley of Dorchester (3rd place), Andy O’Brien of Rockport, Barry Hallett Jr, Darrell Hallett (swam part way alongside his brother), Kay Rubin, Polly Doty of Dedham, Jack Crowley of South Weymouth, Carl Blumenthanl, Chris Lovgren of Gloucester, Stan Luniewicz, Bill Jebb representing Sea Tec, Steve Haskell Sea Tec, Sharon Kishida Sea Tec, Earl Kishida Sea Tec, Jan Childs, Chris Sanders of Rockport, Chris Vonalt of Rockport, and Sam Rugh.

Councilor Carolyn O’Connor led a brief awards ceremony. I love the quip recorded in Laura Meades 1980 sports report Hardy Swimmers Keep Heads High“As they went on, the swimmers shouted encouragement to one another and checked their progress.  “What’s ahead of us?” asked Steve Haskell of SeaTec Inc, a diving firm. “A couple of 8-year olds,” replied SeaTec’s owner, Bill Jebb, swimming beside Haskell.”

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1980

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1980

 1979 Clean Harbor Swim003

 

I hope DPW feels proud that their work protected us, Gloucester’s famous harbor, our legacy.

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Before the waste water treatment facility was built in 1984, untreated waste (sanitary, storm water, industrial, you name it) was discharged directly into the inner and outer harbor. Gloucester was not alone. Rockport, Essex, Beverly- there were many North Shore stories. I wish I knew the name of every person that did the necessary retrofitting and water treatment labor. They dug up roads, laid pipe, cleaned up messes, dealt with outfalls, extended sewer lines, requested a decontamination shower and changing area (1978) so they wouldn’t have to wash up at home, engineered, mapped, and monitored what was necessary to bring us from a crisis by 1980–and lawsuit– to where we are now in 2016. DPW continues to address storm water pollution, also mandated, and will make next year’s compliance deadline. (Gloucester is not unduly impaired by industrial waste like some other communities that will feel the pinch.) Thanks to Larry Durkin, Environmental Engineer, DPW, and Senator Tarr’s office for pouncing on MBTA’s pesticide spraying.

To paraphrase the famous George M Cohan quote: My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my brother thanks you, andI will add that my children thank you, future generations thank you, wildlife thanks you, businesses thank you, truly all of Gloucester thanks you!

**I grabbed material for this post from GDT headlines thanks to   Sawyer Free Library. Newspapers on microfilm are available in the Reference Department. I am not alone in dreaming of the day when Gloucester archives, Gloucester Daily Times, and other essential research are digitized, but I tend to repeat this ongoing plea.

*It’s not one person, event or decade that stands out. There’s an incredible timeline of care. Who would you add? part 2

Continue reading “Gloucester’s clean harbor: H2O no no’s are in the past”