Gloucester Smiles with Kevin Martin

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BC Kevin MartinBreakfast at Charlie’s Place and also see Martin in a Gerttyimage used for an article on Dogtown Common.

 

 

 

A Plan To Keep Dogtown Wild And Free : News Photo

“A Plan To Keep Dogtown Wild And Free
GLOUCESTER, MA – MARCH 12: Kevin Martin checks out a Babson Boulder with a ‘Keep Out of Debt’ carving on Dogtown Common in Gloucester, MA on March 12, 2018. The area in Gloucester and Rockport known as Dogtown is hard to pin down. It is part historical site, part recreation area, and part rambling woodland. It is a place where mountain bikers ride rugged trails and history buffs come to explore the remains of Colonial-era homes. No matter how you see Dogtown, the land is an important local resource that needs to be protected, said Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-chair of the Gloucester Historical Commission and one of the leaders of an effort to have Dogtown listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo by John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)” Link

Salem witch trials end with Esther Elwell, from Gloucester, Sarah Jessica Parker’s ancestor

Sarah Jessica Parker season 1 episode 1 NBC Who Do You Think You Are tv show_ ancestor ESTHER ELWELL one of 3 women from Gloucester was accused of witchcraft.jpg

In the tv show, Who Do You Think You Are? (March 5 2010), produced by Lisa Kudrow, season 1, episode 1, Sarah Jessica Parker learns that her tenth great grandmother, Esther (Dutch) Elwell, was found guilty of witchcraft in 1692. Her arrest was the last formal accusation recorded during the Salem witch trials. The grisly court was dissolved days prior to her sentencing because spectral evidence was banned. Esther lived to be 82 years old. Parker visited Danvers to meet with historians and inspect the original records, and then on to Salem to pay respects.

Did Sarah Jessica Parker come to Gloucester?

Well, not according to the final edit. The show could have filmed here.

Witches of Gloucester

Beckoned to Gloucester, Salem teenager and accuser, Betty Hubbard, officially confirmed the false suspicions in 1692. And just like that three women from Gloucester– Esther Elwell, Abigail Rowe and Rebecca Dike– were arrested for killing Gloucester resident, Mary Fitch, by witchcraft. Historians determined that nine women from Gloucester were caught up in the witchhunts, jailed, and released (by the spring of 1693). Accused were more often than not related and at odds with accusers, well off, and/or “trouble”.  Collaborating institutions and collections have gathered and digitized 17th century documents. You can peruse them here: http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/17docs.html

Later history of witches in Gloucester revolve around Dogtown. In the 1896 book,  In the Heart of Cape Ann, Charles Mann described Gloucester’s Dogtown as “practically the only ruined city in America.” By then Dogtown legends persisted about “witches” like Tammy Younger (died 1829), her aunt Luce George, Peg Wesson, and Judy Rhines.  Percy Mackaye’s 1921 poem Dogtown Common acknowledged Mann’s book, “curious reader may learn many strange, half fogotten facts concerning the old Puritan life of that region…”  Here’s the eerie opener setting a fitting scene for Halloween.

Inland among the lonely cedar dells
of old Cape Ann, near Gloucester by the sea,
Still live the dead–in homes that used to be.
     All day in dreamy spells
They tattle low with toungues of tinkling cattle
     bells,
Or spirit tappings of some hollow tree,
And there, all night–all night, out of the
     dark–
They bark–and bark.

eerie opening Dogtown Common 110 page poem by Percy Mackaye 1921.jpg

 

Apparently, when Sarah Jessica Parker starred in Hocus Pocus (1993), she did not know this family history. Some of the movie was filmed on location in Salem and Marblehead.

Deborah Cramer’s book The Narrow Edge galvanizes action to push biomedical rescue for horseshoe crabs and red knots! Revive and Restore convenes Eli Lilly to announce environmental breakthrough

horseshoe crab wingaersheek beach low tide January 21 2018 ©c ryan

Biomedical Breakthrough is win-win for shorebirds and horseshoe crabs:  Deborah Cramer of The Narrow Edge spreads the word

“Jay Bolden, a senior biologist with pharma giant Eli Lilly, has spent the last five years proving a synthetic molecule works as well as horseshoe crab blood in a life-saving medical testIt took a dedicated birder to convince pharma giant Eli Lilly to use a synthetic compound instead of horseshoe crab blood in a mandatory medical test. Now, he hopes the rest of industry will follow…” – from National Audubon article published this March 11 2018  Inside the Biomedical Revolution to Save Horseshoe Crabs and the Shorebirds That Need Them, by Deborah Cramer with photographs by Timothy Fadek

Cramer explained that Ryan Phelan, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Revive and Restore contacted her “to see how this organization might help accelerate institutional and government exploration, acceptance of the synthetic endotoxin test to replace the use of horseshoe crabs…In the book, I’d portrayed how essential the energy rich horseshoe crab eggs are to shorebird migration, and how their numbers decline when they leave for the Arctic, hungry.  I’d described how every human family, and their pets, depend on the horseshoe crab blood test to detect potentially life-threatening endotoxin in vaccines, joint replacements, PET scans, heart stents, IV lines, etc.  And went on to tell the story of the development of the genetically engineered substitute, and the– at the time decade long–that had elapsed without it being accepted or adopted by regulators or the pharmaceutical industry.”  

Revive and Restore’s announcement in the NJ Audubon news this week has more information about these dedicated scientists and exciting news. Deborah Cramer is too modest to spell it out, so I will. Revive and Restore was inspired in part by Cramer’s book, The Narrow Edge, an award-winning read that’s smart and lyrical, and an environmental game changer. Have you read it yet?

 

horseshoe crab verso © cryan wingaersheek beach gloucester mass 20180121_070721.jpg

Here was a substitute test that could leave hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs in the water every year, no one was using it.

 

 

The Narrow Edge reveals more unexpected alliances and consequences. Readers learn that hunters have done much to protect wildlife at the edge of the sea through the tax on guns and ammunition. The Federal Duck Stamp that’s required on hunting licenses  provides millions of dollars to support national wildlife refuges (and supports contemporary fine art). Memberships to organizations like National Audubon and donations from wildlife fans, photographers, and birders make a difference.

Cramer had to be trained how to handle a gun for necessary wild and remote travel research.  Gloucester, Cape Ann and North Shore readers: she took the course for her license to carry at Cape Ann Sportsman Club found along Dogtown’s edge where it’s been for over a century. (I’m not certain how Cramer rated there, but a president’s daughter was a good shot. In 1912, Helen Taft, qualified as an “Expert with a Rifle” when she visited the range with her Gloucester friend, Elizbeth Hammond.)

1912 Government rifle range in Dogtown Common

prior gmg post, June 2016Piping Plover Fans: Local author Deborah Cramer on sandpipers is a must read. Oh, and dogs vs.

To learn more about Deborah Cramer, go to www.deborahcramer.com

Continue reading “Deborah Cramer’s book The Narrow Edge galvanizes action to push biomedical rescue for horseshoe crabs and red knots! Revive and Restore convenes Eli Lilly to announce environmental breakthrough”

7PM tonight | Dogtown National Heritage project kicks off at Gloucester city hall

Reminder-  Dogtown could be eligible for the National Register. A team of archaeologists began surveying and reviewing Dogtown the week of November 13. Come to a special public presentation TONIGHT – November 29th in Kyrouz Auditorium, Gloucester City Hall, 9 Dale Avenue, at 7pm.

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 Artistic practice inspired by Dogtown takes on many forms across generations and centuries. I’ve shown examples of 20th century artists and writers connected to Dogtown. Here’s a 21st century one to note: Deborah Guertze, Babson Boulders # (Courage), original small and lovely hand colored etching, ed.50. This particular impression is currently for sale at Rockport Art Association.

Oct 28 GMG post announcing tonight’s public meeting: Before Dogtown was Dogtown: archaeological survey project to be presented at City Hall November 29! Maybe hello blueberries bye bye lyme disease

“Presenters at City Hall on Nov 29th will include Betsy Friedberg from the Massachusetts Historical Commission, who will explain how the National Register program works and what it does and does not do, and Kristen Heitert from the PAL, who will present an initial plan for defining the boundaries of Dogtown as a National Register District. People attending the meeting will be asked to respond to that plan and to express their views about what makes Dogtown special. What should be the boundaries of the proposed National Register District, and what cultural features should be included in it? What would be the benefits of National Register status, and are there any drawbacks?”

Before Dogtown was Dogtown: Archaeological Survey project to be presented at City Hall November 29! Maybe hello blueberries bye bye Lyme Disease

Old tree Rockport Road ca.1892

Dogtown is eligible for the National Register! Will Gloucester earn another major district designation?

Nov 29th, 7PM, Public Meeting

Come to a special public presentation November 29th in Kyrouz Auditorium in Gloucester City Hall, 9 Dale Avenue, at 7pm.

Read excerpts from the press release shared by Bill Remsen, local project coordinator, and Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-chair Gloucester Historical Commission, and some Dogtown maps and memorabilia 1633-1961:

Continue reading “Before Dogtown was Dogtown: Archaeological Survey project to be presented at City Hall November 29! Maybe hello blueberries bye bye Lyme Disease”

RECONNECTING BLUEBERRIES AND BUTTERFLIES TO OUR CAPE ANN LANDSCAPE

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Winslow Homer “The Berry Pickers”

Forum on the Cape Ann Landscapes

A thoughtful and thought provoking forum was held this morning at the Cape Ann Museum. The discussion was led by Ed Becker, president of the Essex County Greenbelt Association, with presentations by Mark Carlotto from Friends of Dogtown; Tim Simmons, restoration ecologist; Mass Audubon’s Chris Leahy; and Cape Ann Museum representative Bonnie Sontag.

cape-ann-museum-landscape-forum-panel-copyright-kim-smithSpeakers, left to right, Mark Carlotto, Chris Leahy, Tim Simmons, Bonnie Sontag, and Ed Becker 

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Today, the undeveloped areas of Cape Ann look much as it did when Champlain arrived in 1606, a mostly verdant forested peninsula, with some land management of grasslands conducted by the Native Americans that farmed and fished the landscape. In the coming months, the community will be examining how to restore very specific areas of Dogtown to the years when the landscape was at its most productive and richest in biodiversity, approximately 1700 to 1950. Most areas will remain forested and others will be returned to grasslands, moors, meadows, and pastures, similar to how it appeared when 19th and 20th century artists such as Homer, Hopper, Hartley, and Brumback painted Dogtown Common.

hartley-whales-jaw-drawingMarsden Hartley Whales Jaw sketch

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brumback-33406-webBrumback’s view of Dogtown in the eaqrly 1900s

pond-gloucester-massachusetts-copyright-kim-smithA typical Dogtown landscape of today

Tim Simmons charmed the audience with his “Blueberry Metric,” a formula whereby prior to grassland restoration, it takes approximately one hour to pick four cups of blueberries. After a blueberry patch has been restored, the time to pick a pie’s worth of blueberries is reduced to just 20 to 30 minutes. Here is Tim explaining how fire management helps blueberry bushes become more productive:

Not only blueberries but many, many species of wildlife, especially those in sharp decline, such as Prairie Warblers, Eastern Whippoorwills, native bees, and nearly all butterflies, will benefit tremendously from restoring native grassland and meadow habitats.

This is an exciting time for Cape Ann’s open spaces and a great deal of input from the community will be needed. A facebook page is in the making. It takes time to effect positive change, but the alternative of doing nothing is not really an option at all. Eventually a fire will occur and when landscapes are not managed well, the outcome may well be cataclysmic.

 

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From the Cape Ann Museum: The once open landscape of Cape Ann, a mosaic of glacial boulders, pastures and moors, has given way over the past century to a uniform forest cover. Through short presentations and public engagement, this forum examines the issues, methods and benefits of restoring this formerly diverse and productive landscape. Can Cape Ann once again include the open, scenic terrain that inspired painters, writers, walkers, bird watchers and foragers of wild blueberries? Come and lend your voice to this exciting and important conversation moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association. The forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon.forest_succession_ecology-0011
Successional forest regeneration graphics and images courtesy Google image search