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

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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 in 2012, 15, and 17 it was 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 

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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

 

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”

Looking for a GHS photograph of Frank Cox for David Cox and GHS photos that look like It’s A Wonderful Life

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(L-R GHS senior photographs) David Cox, Norm Cox, and seeking photo of Frank Cox

 

David Cox had five older siblings. At the time of David’s graduation photograph, the family of Mr. and Mrs. Frank L. Cox were residing at 853 Washington Street, Gloucester, MA. David’s mom was so beloved  2 families named their daughters after her, and 3 families named their sons after her (her maiden name ‘MacAulay’ as their middle.)

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Here is a close up of the GHS photograph for his brother, Norman (“Norm”). Norm gave this print to his friend, Ken. Thankfully it made its way back to the Cox family.

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Norman Cox

Frank and Norm graduated together from Gloucester High School in 1941; Frank had to make up a missed year recovering from pneumonia. He must have been busy as he was a recognized athlete and Flicker mentions his status in “our rogues gallery”. At this time the Cox family resided at 616 Western Avenue.

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We are wondering if anyone has a copy of a cadet formal photograph of the oldest brother and sibling, Frank Cox? Or a copy of the senior photo as seen in the yearbook. Both Frank and Norman were in the Army Air Corp during WWII. Frank was drafted out of the Citadel and was a bombardier flying missions out of England. Norm went to Harvard on a GI bill. After retiring from a long career at Mitre Corp, Norm worked with David at the store. At Gloucester High School, all three Cox brothers were cadets which Albert Bacheler established at the school. David won awards.

Here’s one mention from the papers that David hopes I ditch, which I’d consider however it’s worth repeating for that mention of Albert Bacheler (see Civil War coat) and the brag: David Cox, a senior cadet from Company E, turned in a brilliant effort last night to take top honors in the 63rd annual Prize Drill and Dance in Albert W. Bacheler Drill hall of Gloucester High School.”

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The girls had their own unit, the ‘Girls Drill Team’ which David’s sister and athlete, Theo, won. We don’t know if there were cadet photos for the girls. Louise and Christine were David’s other siblings. David told me that there were 4 special Prize Drill and Dance galas at Gloucester High School each school year. The first was the individual drill competition. The second was the prize squad drill competition. The 3rd dance was the Officers Party. The 4th and final prom was the Sargents Party and for this one the boys wore white jacket cut aways. These scans are from the collection of David Cox. He’s speaking to Nancy Knowles Rossi in one of the photos. Who can you recognize?

What is everyone gathered around in that last photograph?

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