Sam Novello asks GMG: What Happened to the Cannons at Stage Fort Park?

ca.1870

Stage Fort Park Gloucester MA when Fort Conant spruced up after Civil War_from historic photo pre 1900.jpg

cannon embrasure at stage fort park Gloucester Massachusetts_20191009_ cannons removed for restoration ©c ryan

 

 

Sam Novello asks GMG, “Joe, what happened to the cannons at Stage Fort Park—— two are gone?” 

The cannon(s) are undergoing restoration (cleaning, chemical treatment and re-painting). In 2018, the CPA Committee awarded $22,705 of an estimated $46,000 to the Stage Fort Park Advisory Committee to refurbish the Parrot Rifle Cannon for work scheduled to commence spring 2020. The project is led by the Stage Fort Park Advisory Committee. The grant application project summary indicates the scope of work as follows:

  1. The fabrication of an aluminum “historic-rendering of a carriage for the Parrot Rifle Cannon as part of a multi-year project to restore the Fort area of Stage Fort Park.
  2. Cleaning, treatment and repainting of the Parrot Rifle Cannon.
  3. Machining or “sleeving” of the Parrot Rifle Cannon to create a narrow lined bore capable of firing a small charge report.

“Our final goal is to restore the Fort area as a historic feature of the Park and its importance to our local military history.* Repairs and restoration of this site are long overdue. The ramparts are overgrown with vegetation**. The cannon barrels are suffering due to neglect. The barrels are subject to trash, dirt and debris. We hope to preserve this site for future generations. The cleaning, capping and painting of the cannon will protect the barrel against future damage. We have proposed an annual stipend in the city budget of $2000 for maintenance of the Fort as well as a security plan for the Fort which would include lighting and security cameras. *Our ultimate goals include a visitor education center with historic references to the Fort and its history. It is expected that the entire Stage Fort Park will be used as a centerpiece of the city’s 400th anniversary celebrations.”

 

– Stage Fort Park Advisory Committee CPA application excerpt, photo from packet and phasing goals

Read the full application here: 2019 CPA Application SFP Parrot Rifle Cannon Carriage

*There is no finalized plan for this area overall. See photographs then/now below. There is a history of Fort use and restoration for  historic battles as well as city celebrations honoring this legacy and the kind souls who volunteered to do so. I’m not sure if the 187th Infantry Brigade was paid for the work they did in 1973, which I’m assuming was the last big overhaul. The CPA grant is just about the work on the cannons. The Historical Commission wrote a letter of support stressing replica accuracy using period materials (wood and metal)

**The area is overgrown at the moment because of various DPW work on the boulevard and future plans. (When I photographed the area annually it’s cleared.)

Stage Fort is the oldest fort in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

2019

view over cannons at Stage fort_view of Gloucester Harbor_ Ten Pound Island_Gloucester Massachusetts_20191009_ ©c ryan
October 2019 cannons removed for restoration from site design 1973 by 187th Infantry Brigade

ca.1870

Stage Fort Park Gloucester MA when Fort Conant spruced up after Civil War_from historic photo pre 1900.jpg
“Fort Conant”, post Civil War – pre 1900 site of ramparts before land set aside as Stage Fort Park. Four cannons were mounted during the Civil War

 

temporary visibility_20191009_cannons stage fort gloucester ma ©c ryan.jpg

 

1973

As part of the city’s 350th celebration prep, the cannon site area (earthworks, entrance area, powder magazine, and gun embrasures) was restored by an engineer brigade from Wollaston. The design intent turned the clock back to how the fort would have been built out in the 1700s. Julian Hatch, the chairman of the 350th, had been director of public works for the city. The project was decades in the wishing and sensitively designed at long last.

1930

In 1930, the Fort was spruced up from its formal design post Civil and Spanish war.  Fisherman’s Field Stage Fort information plaques were commissioned and unveiled.

Printable PDF of the plaque translation here 

fishermans-field-transcription.jpg

Read more about historic battles and Gloucester Stage Fort Park in this trivia quiz designed by Shaun Goulart, GHS history teacher in this prior GMG post

1921

1920 Frank Cox Stage Fort Frank Cox

copy of Frank L. Cox fine art photograph (pre dates 1921) he used to illustrate his pocket Gloucester guide “The Gloucester Book”, and sell prints

ca.1870

historic stereoview woman on fort conant stage fort park after civil war.jpg

 

Stacy Boulevard: Walker Hancock Triton sculpture, Betty Smith gardens & tennis courts to the East, and Blynman Bridge & railings to the West – more stunning investment #GloucesterMA thanks to DPW, Ann Gilardi Johnson, Generous Gardeners, CPA, DOT

Gloucester, Ma.

There is much exciting work in progress along Stacy Boulevard including welcome tributes to women. Incremental aesthetic improvements, public access, ease of movement, and celebration of culture require many hands and deliver a huge impact. Here is a brief description of the special current projects and some people involved.

Two revitalized and enhanced gardens beyond the tennis courts will emphasize generations of care

“Remarkable support comes from volunteer expertise like award winning designer Ann Geraldi Johnson and Susan Kelly and the Generous Gardeners who have stepped up as the city’s groundskeepers on the boulevard.” Mike Hale, Director of Public Works 

The Elizabeth Gordon Smith (Betty Smith) garden was cleared and the small Picture garden past the boulevard tennis courts was unearthed. Because Gloucester garden groups pre-date 1900, it’s especially moving to see the work in progess shoring up inspiring legacy connections. Incredible volunteers past and present serve the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW). Stacy Boulevard & Stage Fort Park advocates like Betty Smith, Louise Loud & the Gloucester Civic & Garden Council tended and protected Gloucester’s natural beauty — the very same grounds that are so lovingly served now by dynamos like Ann Gilardi Johnson and Susan Kelly & the Generous Gardeners. Plaques for Lucy Brown Davis, tribute by her sister Catalina Davis, and for Lucy P. Rogers ” president of the Gloucester’s Woman’s Club 1927-29″ are nearby.

photos: Betty Smith garden IN PROGRESS February (overgrowth and clearing underway–poison ivy was found) vs. March and can’t wait to experience the AFTER!

Gloucester MA Department of Public Works directing restoration special gardens Stacy Boulevard _20190215_ sculpture Walker Hancock © catherine ryan (4)
February 2019
TRITON bronze scupture public art Stacey Boulevard Gloucester Ma_ artist Walker Hancock monuments man_ raised atop boulder base _20190324_© Catherine Ryan (12)
March 24, 2019 more progress two gardens revitalized- Paul Manship Triton fantastic enhanced boulder base clearing
TRITON bronze scupture public art Stacey Boulevard Gloucester Ma_ artist Walker Hancock monuments man_ raised atop boulder base _20190324_© Catherine Ryan (6)
Gloucester, Mass., March 2019. Pubic art – Walker Hancock Triton

 

 

 

Continue reading “Stacy Boulevard: Walker Hancock Triton sculpture, Betty Smith gardens & tennis courts to the East, and Blynman Bridge & railings to the West – more stunning investment #GloucesterMA thanks to DPW, Ann Gilardi Johnson, Generous Gardeners, CPA, DOT”

Stacy Boulevard: Walker Hancock Triton

March 2019 work continuing across Stacy Boulevard – read details HERE about  these projects– Hancock SculptureBetty Smith Gardens & Tennis Courts to the East, and Blynman Bridge & railings to the West-  additional stunning work and investment thanks to Gloucester MA Department of Public Works, Ann Gilardi Johnson, Generous Gardeners, CPA, Department of Transportation (DOT), and more.  Stacy Boulevard Part 8

TRITON bronze scupture public art Stacey Boulevard Gloucester Ma_ artist Walker Hancock monuments man_ raised atop boulder base _20190324_© Catherine Ryan (12)

March 24, 2019 photos of Walker Hancock Triton and grounds prep before/in process.

TRITON bronze scupture public art Stacey Boulevard Gloucester Ma_ artist Walker Hancock monuments man_ raised atop boulder base _20190324_© Catherine Ryan (6)
Gloucester, Mass., March 2019. Pubic art – Walker Hancock Triton

 

 

 

Celebrating the Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage restoration and resiting at the Lanesville Community Center, #GloucesterMa

ROSS BURTON _Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage opens_Lanesville Community Center_Gloucester MA_20181021_© c ryan
Congratulations to Ross “Sandy” Burton, Chris Wagner, Russell Hobbs, Cheryl Mazer, Juidth Oleson, Christine Drohan, Carol Kelly, and many many other volunteers who rescued and repurposed Virginia Lee Burton artist studio into a most fitting new chapter

Come on inside the Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage which was once the acclaimed artist’s former studio of her own. Virginia Lee Burton’s personal studio was rescued and nestled into the Lanesville Community Center property. The center’s clubhouse and grounds, established in 1954, seem to be the ideal spot for a summer rec program, even more so now. As one enters the cottage through the custom built door, there’s a brand new window straight ahead where the stove and chimney – and asbestos– had been. Virginia Lee Burton needed a wood stove. Today’s visitors won’t. New materials and insulation make the cottage cozy and warm.

Folly Cove Designers.jpg
vs “The Barn” (1948) Folly Cove Designers large public space 

 

Chris Wagner president of community center and project manager_ ROSS Burton_ Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage opens_Lanesville Community Center_Gloucester MA_20181021_© c ryan
Chris Wagner & Ross Burton (with microphone)

At the celebration presentation on October 21, 2018, Chris Wagner, President of the Lanesville Community Center and project manager,  recounted some history. Virginia Lee Burton purchased her studio from the Building Center in 1963. It was a pre fab home that she repurposed for her needs. He explained that the volunteers leveraged outreach. The Building Center responded with “anything you need,” and was so supportive of the cottage regeneration that they offered the volunteers a $5000 credit towards building materials. It takes an inspiring and talented village. Other area businesses stepped up: Timberline donated shingles; Argentino handled plastering; Closed Cell Structures out of Reading handled the spray foam so the cottage was winterized; Carpenter & MacNeille designed and commissioned door and windows custom built by Chris Roe from Bayview; architectural drawings from Dore and Whittier; KML Electric; plants and flowers from Generous Gardeners; and cut sunflowers for the reception from Shaws. How inspiring to learn that Camilla MacFadyen, artist and textile extraordinaire, had a hand in this studio-raising. Character, warmth, and charm were added to the new exterior wood work. Volunteers salvaged what they could of the studio and rebuilt a gem. Work is still underway. When Burton exited her sanctuary studio, she faced the ocean. Now it’s an ocean of love. Plans for future community programs and events (see below) are underway and volunteers welcome.

 

 

Support for the cottage renewal came from residents of Gloucester via CPA funding and donations, various city staff departments (e.g. conservation and community development), and a slew of committed volunteers. Like Russell Hobbs! Here’s the modest presentation listing some key volunteers:

 

The poignant celebration was held inside the Lanesville Community Center and concluded with an apt recitation from a Little House passage read by Christine Drohan.

Continue reading “Celebrating the Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage restoration and resiting at the Lanesville Community Center, #GloucesterMa”

Lights! Flyover! Docksiders! Mattos! Let’s play ball! You don’t want to miss Mattos Field rededication celebration Oct. 5

Countdown to Mattos Field rededication day celebration

There’s just six more days till the big event, Friday October 5th, 2018, at 4:30PM, Joseph S. Mattos Jr Memorial Field, Gloucester, Massachusetts. And we’re talking years of community preparation to make it special!

Mattos Field_Sept 14 2018_years of community preparation heading into rededication celebration October 5 2018©catherine ryan.jpg

Celebrate Joseph S. Mattos Jr 

“We have a big day ahead for Joseph S. Mattos Jr. as it is his 100th. anniversary of his death and we are going to dedicate his flag to him on October 5th. 2018. We are dedicating his flag and we are also having a flyover as we raise the flag. A pilot named Rich Little is going to do it with his friends. He runs a charity Flights4CF as his daughter has this disease. The ceremony starts at 4:30 and the program is beautiful. The day will be completed with a softball game with the Softball Buddies special needs team and then food at the Gloucester Fraternity Club up the street as they have donated the hall to us for free. We are very thankful to the city, the  Light Up Mattos Committee, our C.P.A., Lucia Amero and Cape Ann Veterans Services, and everyone who has worked so hard on this field! It’s a big big list! (Here’s a more detailed on published Nov 2017 in the GDT)” -Patti Amaral

Mattos Field before the big day_20180914_©catherine Ryan

image3

 

Trailblazers and Scenes from Essex National Heritage 20th Anniversary Gala at Peabody Essex Museum

Secretary John Kerry reconnected with Mayor Romeo-Theken before he took to the podium to address more than 300 guests attending the Essex National Heritage 20th Anniversary gala at the Peabody Essex Museum. They go way back. Essex National Heritage was designated in 1996 with key support from John Kerry and Ted Kennedy.

IMG_20170405_191458

IMG_20170405_184549
20th Anniversay Gala at Peabody Essex Museum L-R: Mayor Romeo-Theken, Gloucester; Secretary John Kerry; Annie Harris CEO Essex National Heritage

Here’s a star, Emily Levin from Essex National Heritage. Everyone who hosts programs over Essex National Heritage fabulous annual Trails & Sails enjoys working with Emily.

The temporary Essex National Heritage illumination is projected above the Halo sculpture by Anish Kapoor.

IMG_20170405_183134 (3).jpg
Emily Levin, Essex National Heritage (20th Anniversary Gala Peabody Essex museum)

IMG_20170405_194409

IMG_20170405_181257

ANNOUNCING THE TRAILBLAZERS

IMG_20170405_190644

4000 votes helped select a few Trailblazer nominees for a special champagne toast representing their mission and all the wonderful cultural resources across 34 towns. Kim Smith was in good company! We toasted the following 2017 Essex National Heritage Area Trailblazers:

1)PRESERVING THIS SPECIAL REGION
1st place | Essex County Greenbelt Association
2nd place | Ipswich River Watershed Association
3rd place | The Cabot

IMG_20170405_205431

2)CONNECTING PEOPLE TO PLACE
1st place | The Trustees of Reservations
2nd place | Mass Audubon
3rd place |Essex Agricultural Society

IMG_20170405_205538
surprised Pilar !

3)BUILDING & GROWING OUR FUTURE
1st place — Peabody Essex Museum
2nd place — YMCA of the North Shore
3rd place — Valley View Farm

4)ADVANCING OUR EDUCATIONAL MISSION
1st place (tie) | Lowell’s Boat Shop and The House of Seven Gables
2nd place | Maritime Gloucester
3rd place | Essex Shipbuilding Museum

IMG_20170405_205931
sailing at the same table: Mayor Romeo Theken, Mary Kay Taylor Schooner Ardelle, Graham Mckay Lowell’s Boatshop Amesbury; Stefan Edick Schooner Adventure. Bill Steelman presenting award to Graham.

Nice detail: the second festive beverage for the reception featured the trio of colors in the Essex National Heritage logo.

IMG_20170405_183342 (1)

Gloucester organizations and partners were featured in the slide loop including: City Hall for Community Preservation, Discover Gloucester, Lannon, Rocky Neck, Schooner Adventure, HarborWalk, Cape Ann Museum.

IMG_20170405_204145

IMG_20170405_201001

IMG_20170405_204215

from Essex National Heritage printed matter:

On April 5 2017 we’re celebrating all of the incredible organizations and people that we’ve spent the last two decades working with to preserve and enhance the significant historic, cultural, and natural places that make Essex County like nowhere else. We are also THRILLED that Secretary John Kerry will joining as the celebrate. Secretary Kerry played a key role in the federal legislation designating the Essex National Heritage Area in 1996!

Who are the Trailblazers and which will receive a toast?
The public nominated 131 Trailblazers.  While all Trailblazers will be recognized at the Gala, only a few will be honored with a special toast!  The public was invited to vote for which Trailblazers will receive a toast, and the results will be revealed only at the event; toasts will be made at the Gala!

$463,141: City Council okays 14 CPA grants for 2016. Info meeting for 2017 application February 8th

Congratulations to the 2016 (round 7) awardees!  Their final presentations were at City Council on Tuesday.

 

Since Gloucester voted to approve the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in 2008, the city has administered 7 rounds of funded projects throughout our community. Have a look at who you helped fund in 2016

  1. North Shore CDC and Action, Harbor Village *missing this photo but great presentation!
  2. Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association, Wheeler School House & GFD Riverdale Hose, No 2
  3. Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Civil War Monument
  4. Generous Gardeners, Stacy Boulevard Gardens
  5. Stage Fort Park Advisory Committee, Welcome Center Renovations
  6. Community Development Dept., Stage Fort Park Beautification Project
  7. City Clerk’s Office, Archives Initial Storage Project, Phase I
  8. Oak Grove Cemetery, Oak Grove Cemetery continued restoration
  9. Gloucester Committee for the Arts, “Out of the Shadows: Gloucester’s historic Depression Era Mural” preserve & restore murals with refined project scope,discovery and schedule of work
  10. Historic New England, Beauport Museum, outer building roof replacement
  11. Sargent Museum, Preservation of porch, granite steps & retaining wall
  12. Gloucester Writers Center, Preservation of Maud/Olsen Library & GWC Archives
  13. Maritime Gloucester, Rehab & Restoration of the railway
  14. Friends of Burnham’s Field, Continued rehab of Phase I of Burnham’s Field Restoration

Safe bet you might know someone assisting one of these projects. Who else helps?  The volunteers on the Community Preservation Committee are fantastic: Catherine Bill Dugan, Catherine Schlichte, Henry McCarl, David Rhinelander, John Feener, Barbara Silberman, Heide Wakeman, Ellen Preston, and Scott Smith. There’s no break for this committee. From start to finish the process from an applicant’s perspective takes nearly a year. Depending upon the project, it will involve assistance from the Community Preservation Committee, City staff and various departments, City Council, City Council sub committees, and the administration.  Just as one round winds down, the next year’s process and round of applicants gears up. Visit the Community Preservation Committee page on the City website to learn more about the CPA and to see prior projects.

Save the date:The Community Preservation Committee will be hosting an information meeting for prospective 2017 applicants at Sawyer Free on  February 8, 2017 at 6pm. Applications are due April 17, 2017.

Debbie Laurie, a Senior Project Manager in the Community Development Department who manages Grants and CPA for the City writes about the info meeting: “We want to help guide applicants through the process and answer any questions you may have before filling out an application.  We can also determine if your project is actually eligible or not.  Please pass the word around if you know of anyone that may be interested. “

Boston Globe on CPA funding across the state including Gloucester art, City Hall, Central Grammar, Cape Ann Museum. Brenda Buote splays the numbers and approaches.

Gloucester continues to be a positive example in today’s paper. Great article.

20160717_073505

Continue reading “Boston Globe on CPA funding across the state including Gloucester art, City Hall, Central Grammar, Cape Ann Museum. Brenda Buote splays the numbers and approaches.”

Elephants on the Beach? Check out this 1950s photo and help restore Cressy Beach on Tuesday, April 2 @ City Hall

elephants-at-cressy-beach
When the circus came to town in the 1950s, their elephants bathed at Cressy Beach (click photo to enlarge)

Bob Ryan, President and General Manager of CATOC (Cape Ann Transportation Operating Company) has applied to the Community Preservation Committee for funding to restore Cressy Beach to the way it was when this photo was taken.  As you can see by this photo, Cressy Beach was once a sandy beach, on which parents sunbathed while their children chased elephants.  Bob says it can be a sandy beach again and he’s done his homework.  In a nutshell, here’s what he says about the project,

The project involves the Gloucester Conservation Commission, Mass DEP, the Army Corps of Engineers and Endangered Wildlife and Species Agency. In addition, the “Beach Nourishment” project includes site preparation, topographical survey, engineering plans and bringing in 3,500 tons of sand to cover the beach above the “mean high water area.”

Letters of support are pouring in for this project, including one from Janeil C. Rey, PhD, who also sent this photo.  So if you’d like to see Cressy Beach full of sun-bathers, come to City Hall next Tuesday, April 2 and support this project.

PLEASE NOTE: There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to chase elephants into the water once the beach is restored.