Pink sky, grey clouds, winter trees, and the park’s massive gem, Tablet Rock, one February morning.
Then / Now
natural back lit above | artificial light atop below
view before the gazebo | summer concert 2017
Cher Ami 55 Washington Street, Gloucester, Mass. 1950s advertisement
Merry drives and chocolates – Sweet and simple valentine’s day sweetheart yard decorations on a local home in Gloucester made me smile!
Presented by the four libraries of Cape Ann, the group exhibit, Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads, featuring original children’s picture books, is on display at the Rockport Public Library until February 29, 2020. Rockport is the 5th and final stop and hosting a reception on February 29th at 11am. At each venue, a Cape Ann Reads participating artist was invited to create a special temporary installation. Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is the Cape Ann Reads Invited Artist for Rockport. The show is made possible with support including the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation.
BETTY ALLENBROOK WIBERG
Pine needles, foam, playhouses and gnomes – custom family toys, miniatures and games from the artist’s archives and attic spanning 1969-2019
The Invited Artist for the Rockport stop of the travel show Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads is Betty Allenbrook Wiberg, a long-time Rockport artist and resident and former Bearskin Neck gallery owner. Wiberg has installed original toys she’s made over 50 years inside a display case and Children’s Room at the Rockport Public Library. Made by hand with love out of common materials found at home and in nature– like paper, foam core, seeds and acorn caps– these personalized toys were inspired by her children and grandchildren’s favorite books, hobbies and changing interests. In particular she chose examples of characters and worlds brought to life from the pages of books. Wiberg hopes the menagerie of custom toys for those dear to her will engage young and old alike and inspire ideas to try at home with any ready materials at hand.
As Wiberg placed acorn cap people within the display case, she explained how she was aiming for fanciful “haphazard” children’s worlds as when kids play. The red gnomes and stylized forest might blend together with the world of air dry, clay acorn figures, boundaries or not. Painted sculpey villagers parading past tiny painted blocks, a stand in for Bearskin Neck in Rockport, might stop for tea at an outdoor blue chairs circle. An interior scene inspired from Beatrix Potter books is draped with sculpey play food and housewares, set atop tables and hutch, dining seats and floor. Wiberg can’t help but design family directly into these captivating scenes. (The Allenbrook and Wiberg family trees are steeped in the arts.) Charming ephemera associated with loved ones, or expressed as figures and actions, are intrinsically dispersed and personal. A few of the acorn capped musicians were inspired by her son-in-law, a performer and musician. Her mother and daughter Kristy are painted waving from the window of the teeny Bearskin Neck home. A Lilliputian trophy was hers when she was a little girl.
In preparation for this installation, with help from her daughters pulling boxes from the attic and dusting off these cherished family toys, Wiberg recalled a favorite book from her childhood, Maida’s Little Shop (by Inez Haynes Irwin*), and how much she wanted to have a toy shop like the one in that story. With so many creative toys adapted for kids and grandkids spilling across every surface imaginable unearthed and under consideration for this installation, her family didn’t miss a beat. “You do have a toy shop!” they laughed.
“This show has me remembering books,” Wiberg stated. “I’ve never forgotten that that little book arrived in a bushel of books delivered as a gift by artist friends of my parents. Perhaps they were from a library sale. To this day I tend to give other children books, because they’ve had such an impact on me and my daughters.”
Betty Allenbrook Wiberg illustrated the children’s picture book, Little One, written by her eldest daughter, Kirsten Allenbrook Wiberg, which they submitted for the Cape Ann Reads contest. Little One is about a small elephant that struggles with growing up, encounters danger, but survives to live a long life. The story is illustrated with 13-14 pages of Betty’s stunning, full-size black and white images of African wildlife focusing on the small elephant and his/her family. Little One earned a Cape Ann Reads Gulliver Award. Kirsten Allenbrook Wiberg, eldest daughter of Betty, lives in Gloucester where she has maintained her therapeutic body-work practice since 1991.
In addition to the children’s picture book, Little One (included as part of the Once Upon a Contest group show), and these personalized toys she’s shared in public for the first time, examples of Wiberg’s still life and portrait fine art are also on view.
About the Artist
Betty Allenbrook Wiberg was born in London and moved to the United States as a child. She received a fine arts scholarship to attend Boston University, and she completed her formal training at Massachusetts College of Art. She continued to study under her father Charles T. Allenbrook, a well-known portrait artist who resided and worked in Rockport and Florida. In 1957, she married Lars-Erik Wiberg and they settled in Rockport, Massachusetts, where they raised three daughters. Betty created designs for George Caspari Cards, designed fabrics for Bagshaws of St. Lucia, served as an artist in Federal Court, provided artwork for the Hoosac Tunnel documentary, and operated a gallery and studio on Bearskin Neck. Wiberg recalls bags she created for the Rockport Public Library toy check out and drawings of England, local freelance work for the Lions Head Tavern menu at King’s Grant Inn on Rt.128***. She presently maintains a home portrait studio in Rockport. See her artist statement below.
*** bonus photos north shore fun fact: King’s Grant Inn Lion Head’s Tavern menu that Betty Allenbrook Wiberg illustrated
As a youth my family lived in New Rochelle, New York. I remember drawing and painting from an early age and assisting my father at the local art association. We visited Rockport for vacations when I was a child and my father painted the local landscape.
My parents, Margaret and Charles T. Allenbrook bought “the Snuggery” in 1952 on Bearskin Neck and opened Allenbrook’s portrait studio. It had living quarters in the rear and upstairs. When I became more serious about my drawing, I would go out in the studio and draw portraits from my father’s models as they posed for him. This was the way I became comfortable drawing before others. Sometimes I would entertain the children so they would sit better for my father. I used masks and other toys to accomplish this or read them a book. When I was around seventeen I started doing painted silhouettes for a dollar and that was exciting to be earning something with my own efforts. I also helped with framing my father’s work. My father would give me advice and instruction on my efforts and I assembled a portfolio of my work which won me a scholarship to Boston University.
In 1954, I met my husband Lars-Erik Wiberg outside my father’s Rockport studio while he was working on a car. Yes, in those days one could park there. We married in 1957 and lived at the Fish House, 27 Bearskin Neck while I transferred to U Mass Art. After school, I opened a gallery in our home on the Neck. I did silhouettes and sold my fanciful drawings, block prints and other handwork. Later, we expanded the Fish house and had two daughters, Kristy and Margaret. When our third child, Brenda was on the way, we moved to larger quarters at our present location.
My husband made the children a large puppet theater* which sparked a series of handmade puppets of various sorts and materials. The children were eager art explorers and we had costumes and other creative materials ready at hand. We were regular visitors to the local library. I made cloth bags for toys which became a part of what could be borrowed from the Rockport Public Library.
I started doing commission work part time and also did volunteer work. In the 1980s this expanded to part-time work for the TV studios which brought me into another world since I was sketching in courtrooms. Once, I ended up on the sidewalk finishing a sketch, while the reporter waited to grab it and take it into the truck for transmission. It was hastily done and later when I viewed it, I saw they had zoomed in for a tight shot. I was embarrassed to see how careless the work appeared. It was an unnerving experience at times because the culprits were sitting right near the artists while we heard testimony of their serious misdeeds. I had a tongue stuck out at me by one of them and heard others’ lives threatened. My work exceeded the art budget of the TV station during the Angelo trial which went on for over a year.
This all changed when my father passed away in 1988 and I joined my mother at the studio on Bearskin Neck. I was happy to be working closer to home and sometimes could walk downtown to do portraits. It was very nice to spend more time with my mother and be drawing people and children who posed for me instead of trying to catch them from a distance as in the courtroom. Our daughter, Brenda later joined me and drew animal portraits from photos after she graduated from U Mass. art school. We worked together for about three years until 1996 when my parents’ studio was sold and we moved the studio to my home on South Street. Our daughter, Margaret, an art graduate also exhibited her art work and handmade jewelry with us. Over several years, we have had open studios and invited family and visitors to see our endeavors. Lately, this has been dormant but with grandchildren also creating their own art we are considering another open studio. It is a grand way of connecting with others who enjoy creating with various materials and share ours.
Thinking further about this show at the library, and Rockport, I was President of the Friends of the Rockport Library years ago, and also did some art work for them. And I spoke before the local rotary about my courtroom work long ago.
I would very much like to thank Catherine Ryan who has encouraged and inspired me to bring forth my art efforts through the Cape Ann Reads project she created with the local libraries. It has been far more of an adventure then I anticipated and brought many local artist and writing talents to the public through an exhibit at the Cape Ann Museum and the Libraries. I’ve had the opportunity to do a paper craft workshop at the Cape Ann Museum and hope to give one at the local library. Stay tuned in! – Betty Allenbrook Wiberg, February 2020
Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is the Invited Artist for the Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads travel show at the Rockport Public Library venue, February 2020, presented by the four public libraries of Cape Ann with support from the Bruce J Anderson Foundation | The Boston Fund.
~large puppet theater gifted to The Waldorf School
at Rockport Public Library February 2020
Enjoy ” Seek and find” activity sheets you can photograph to bring with you to the show or print out. (There are copies on site as well.) The first one is harder and may take longer. The mini one is geared to the youngest visitors.
*Inez Haynes Irwin (b. 1873 Brazil – d. 1970 Massachusetts) author of Maida’s Little Shop, was a renowned early 20th century, award-winning Massachusetts author, suffragist and feminist. She attended Radcliffe. Her parents were from Boston. Haynes married newspaper editor Rufus Gillmore in 1897; they later divorced. She married William Henry Irwin in 1916. She wrote fifteen books in the Maida series beginning with Maida’s Little Shop in 1909, first published by American publisher B.W. Huebsch**, and concluding with Maida’s Little Treasure Hunt in 1955. Haynes was the first fiction editor for The Masses. She served as Vice President and President of the Author’s Guild of America. In 1924, she received an O. Henry Award her short story, The Spring Flight. Her aunt, Lorenza Haynes (1820-1899), was the first public librarian in Waltham, Massachusetts, then one of Massachusett’s first three ordained female ministers. The aunt’s assignments began in Maine, where she also served as Chaplain to the Maine House of Representatives and Senate. Her ministries included two in Rockport: the First Universalist Church on Hale Street (1884) and the Universalist Society, Pigeon Cove. (“She was an acceptable preacher and did good work wherever her lot was cast.” Universalist Register, 1900. Scroll up and down – fascinating to compare the complimentary entries for the male pastors in these pages. For a more detailed entry see this nutshell on Lorenza Haynes ). Inez wrote about her aunt and big family in this major essay. In it she corrects the record that her aunt left posts because of unfair pay, not her frality as reported in biographies.
Artist Betty Allenbrook Wiberg did not know that the little Maida book she recalled so fondly was part of a series or about its author or the aunt’s ties with Rockport. “I haven’t thought about that book until I worked on this show. It’s almost providence at work when you hear connections like these!”
**About Inez Hayne’s first publisher, B.W. Huebsch– His eponymous firm sponsored writers and was credited with building interest for Joyce, Strindberg, DH Lawrence, Sherwood Anderson and others. His imprint was a 7 branch candlestick with his initials BWH. Later, he merged his firminto a nascent Viking Press and continued at the helm as editor in chief. According to the NY Times obit he was a leader in the A.C.L.U.
Read Chapter 1 Maida’s Little Shop:
Since 1:30pm – Helicopters are sweeping back and forth close to shore, low and high, from Eastern Point past Long Beach and Thacher Island. Police from neighboring communities are helping; we have seen a few vehicles park and walk the rocky coastline and several vessels.
See Kim Smith post for recent update
“…Coughlin said the building, which was built in 1969, needs to be updated but is in good shape structurally and will not be demolished. “It’s too good of a building (to demolish),” he said.”– John Coughlin Gateway Realty Trust quoted in Gloucester Daily Times, Paul Leighton article 1/7/2020
What a beautiful spot! The building was designed by architect Donald F. Monell for the Beverly Newspaper Offices and Factory in 1968 (built 1969) and consolidated with the Salem News in 1995. Monell worked and resided in Gloucester Massachusetts and designed residential, public and busieness projects including the Gloucester Daily Times (1956), Newburyport Daily News buildings, Sawyer Free Library addition, and the Cape Ann Museum.
photos – winter views January 2020
photos: Spring views
Excerpt from a prior post I wrote about Donald F. Monell back in May 2019 with photos of extant designs both residential and commercial:
“Donald F. Monell ( 1917-2002) earned multiple degrees: Bowdoin (BS, 1937) , Royal College of Edinburgh (1938), Tekniska Hogskolan in Stockholm (KTH Royal Institute of Technology), and M.I.T. (MS in city planning,1941 and MS in architecture, 1950). He was a research assistant in City Planning at M.I.T. (1940-41), and a Research Associate in solar energy at M.I.T. from 1949 to 1951. During World War II he served as a Captain with the 333 Engrs. S.S. Regiment in the US Army Corp of Engineers from 1942-46. Prior to setting up his own firm in 1952, he worked as a community planner in Tennessee and for various architectural establishments. His son Alex Monell said that his father declined positions with larger international firms. “He preferred working on a smaller one to one relationship with clients.” Monell’s tenure at M.I.T. coincided with I.M. Pei and Buckminster Fuller; Monell set up his eponymous business two years prior to I.M. Pei. I asked Alex if his father worked with architect Eleanor Raymond. She built her home in Gloucester and had similar interest in sustainable design. She is credited with designing one of the first solar heated houses in 1948 “I know he worked with Maria Telkes (who invented a means to store heat in melted crystals that stored more than water could) on one of their solar homes and now that I looked her up I see the home was designed by Eleanor Raymond! So they knew each other.”
Monell was licensed to practice in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York and was NCARB certified. He was a member of AiA and Boston Society of Architects. He served on Gloucester’s Civic Art Committee beginning in the 1960s. He was a trustee of the Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra, an incorporator of AGH and Cape Ann Savings Bank, and a Vice President of the Cape Ann Museum (then Cape Ann Historical Assoc.). Monell’s office was located in the Brown Building, 11 Pleasant Street. His son remembers visiting his dad on jobs and admiring the hand made scale models. Local residents may recognize the names of Monell hires: Kirk Noyes who preserved Central Grammar and other award winning developments, was a draftsman, and Craig Toftey helped Monell
Don Monell and Lila Swift, co-founders and collaborators of their own wrought steel furniture design firm in 1950, Swift & Monell, husband and wife, architect and artist, were the Charles and Ray Eames* of Gloucester for a time. Original examples of their woven leather, metal and enamel stools, tables, and bins are rare and placed in collections. The furniture was exhibited at Current Design (now ICA) and Furniture Forum. They operated the business in upstate New York when Monell worked for Sargent Webster Crenshaw & Folley. They built a studio for their business in their home when they moved back to Gloucester in 1952. Initial prototypes and editions were inspired by touring Lawrence Mills with Monell’s brother in law, who worked in the textile industry. Alex clarifies: “I do not know what mill my father’s brother in law was involved in or to what capacity, I just remember my parents toured it and found the source of leather. A Cambridge firm sold them for awhile. And later my parents gifted them as wedding presents to close friends and relatives. Ray Parsons a blacksmith from Rockport often made the frames and later I made some at Modern Heat.”
*footnote- Ray Eames in Gloucester: Before Hans Hofmann (1880 – 1966) settled into teaching in Provincetown, he was invited to teach summer classes at the Thurn School of Art in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1933 and 1934. Thurn was a former Hofmann student. Ray Eames studied painting with Hofmann in Gloucester and was a student of his for years. Decades later (during an interview with Ruth Bowman, who I knew, was wonderful, and friends with Rita Fraad who had a great Hopper) Eames mentioned 1940, a later date, for when she first learned about Hofmann. On an architecture timeline- Charles and Ray Eames were born in 1907 and 1912 respectively, and Monell in 1917. They were married about a decade before Monell & Swift and west coast rather than east. Yet they were contemporaries. Art & Architecture case study homes began in 1945 (Eames house, 1949) Eames lounge chairs were manufactured in 1956 (after years of prototypes). Gropius House in Lincoln , Mass., landmark Bauhaus residence now museum was built in 1938, same year as MoMa Bauhaus exhibition. The Graduate school at Harvard designed by Gropius was a TAC (The Architects Collaborative) build in 1950. TAC was founded in 1945 with the clout addition of Gropius who continued with the firm until his death in 1969. Original 7 founders were Norman Fletcher, Louis McMillen, Robert McMillan, Ben Thompson, Jean Fletcher, Sarah Harkness and John Harkness. Twenty years later, Monell’s Plum Cove elementary school design in 1967 was leveraged by partnering with The Architects Collaborative. Gloucester’s Plum Cove school is a TAC build. Wikipedia lists several commissions. The school could be added…”
Read my full piece here and see more examples of his buildings. “Many of his commissions are heavenly sites where buildings serve the surroundings, whether built or natural.”
Writing for the Gloucester Daily Times, Paul Leighton wrote that Salem News was looking for a new space because the operations no longer required such a big building. Various production and departments had already been relocated by this time. You can read the full February 2018 story here. The article mentions that it’s a 60,000 square foot property. Recent descriptions indicate that it’s 37,000+. I’m not sure why; perhaps, the greater figure encapsulated the grounds.
“32 Dunham is a 37,502 square foot building on 6 acres of land. Zoned for industrial, research and office, with high visibility on route 128. Less than 30 minutes from downtown Boston and Logan airport.”
Salem News moving to Danvers article by Paul Leighton Staff Writer about the status of the building now
“The Salem News is moving out of its longtime home in Beverly and heading to a new location in Danvers. The newspaper will move into its new office suite at 300 Rosewood Drive in Danvers on Sunday, according to Karen Andreas, regional publisher of North of Boston Media Group, which includes the Gloucester Daily Times.
“The Salem News has been located at 32 Dunham Road in Beverly since merging with the former Beverly Times in 1995. The company moved its press and printing operations out of Beverly years ago and consolidated several other business functions, such as the finance and customer service departments, in the North Andover offices of its sister paper, The Eagle-Tribune. Therefore, Andreas said, the Salem News no longer needs a building of that size.
“This building is 37,500 square feet, and way too big for us,” Andreas said. “It doesn’t make sense for us operationally.”
“Gateway Realty Trust of Essex has signed a purchase-and-sale agreement to buy 32 Dunham Road. John Coughlin, a project manager for Gateway Realty, said the company plans to preserve the building and lease it.
“Coughlin said Gateway does not have a tenant lined up yet but said the building, which has a mix of office and warehouse space and more than 100 parking spots, would be good for many types of businesses.
“Ideally it would be one tenant that would want to take the whole building, or we can sub-divide it,” he said. “It lends itself to a lot of potential users.”
“…Coughlin said his company, which owns several buildings on the North Shore, was attracted to the building due to its location next to Route 128. Dunham Road has been the site of several new office complexes built by Cummings Properties as well as a new manufacturing headquarters built by tech company Harmonic Drive. The road is also home to North Shore Music Theatre.
“…The Salem News building, which includes six acres of land, was listed for sale at $3.5 million.
Trilogic Systems* is moving from 126 Main Street (next to Main Street Art & Antiques) to the ground floor space at 37 Main Street on the west end, next to Jon Sarkin Fish City Studios into the space last occupied by Rose & Dove Gift Shop.
*”Embedded computing products and services for the military, industrial control and communications markets”
18 Washington Street
Building for sale and/or ground floor retail spaces available on Main Street include:
In 1952*, Art Jewelers on 117 Main Street (now Unwind) in Gloucester, Massachusetts, offered GHS female graduates a FREE sterling silver teaspoon in a pattern of their choice.
Pauline Bresnahan writes about a great conversation she had with her mother this week: “We were talking about running a small business on Main Street today compared to when she was growing up here. She told me about the following story which I had not heard before. My Mom Graduated GHS in 1952. Art Jewelers on Main St. offered each Female Graduate a FREE Sterling Silver teaspoon in a pattern of their choice. My Mom picked Blossom Time, an International Silver Co. pattern. She and my Dad were married in 1953 and by then purchased 7 more teaspoons. They were gifted more place settings as a wedding gift.”
Other businesses catered to students, too. Gloucester Pants Co. at 211 Main Street advertised “special rates to students” in the yearbook. Nichols Candy and Luncheonette was across the street in 118 Main Street, where Franklin is now. There were several jewelers on Main Street. (Pauline worked at Blanchards and remembers her boss taking them to Cameron’s for celebrations.)
*How many possible spoons? The GHS1952 senior class size looks to be > 250 inyearbook.
Pausing at the gentle rise and dip before Atlantic back shore on a soft winter morning
pale sunrise Jan 8 2020
Debris from the demo of the 13,500 SF property (and parking lot) on 206/209 Main Street, formerly known as Cameron’s restaurant, is being trucked away from sorted piles, scrap metal here, mixed materials there. Action Inc. and North Shore Community Development Coalition ‘s new apartment building will meld in a few street level commercial spaces. (Read about the latticework of buildings on this stretch of Main here and see photos then and now below. I think it will be both changeless and changing as the saying goes.) I’m confident the charm and great karma of Cameron’s meals and happy celebrations will carry forward for the residents and business owners coming to this corner of Main and Elm.
In the meantime I was delighted to find some (poor) snapshots with my mom inside Cameron’s. I’m sure there are more and better Cameron’s photographs out there!
photo snapshot captions – fuzzy glimpses of Cameron’s restaurant interior on St. Patrick’s Day 2009 (kids playing fiddles now in their 20s!) & 2010. There must be photos out there!
The eagle was removed, repaired and painted in 2017 in preparation for a new and most fitting site– flying high for Cape Ann Veterans Services. Who carved Cameron’s iconic eagle sign?
GMG reader David Collins shares the answer about the artist who hand carved the eagle as reported in the Gloucester Daily Times 2017. Carl Goddard of Nahant carved the eagle in 1967.
Artist studios across the street will have a front row for the construction progress.
Mayor Romeo Theken was instrumental in securing funding, including a MassWorks grant, for another generational neighborhood infrastructure overhaul in Gloucester, Massachusetts. This soup to nuts improvement project– water, sewer, drainage, pavement, & utilities–impacts several streets including: Cedar, Millet, Sargent, Shepherd, Trask, and Warner. Some original sewer pipes were a century old.
Gloucester DPW works in concert and alternates with various partners as the work is completed. While National Grid is up at bat currently with the utitlity upgrades, DPW is demobilized. The gas complany is replacing aged gas lines and mains, and improving services. It may have a wider scope than the city utility work.
photo caption: street work view down Millet Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts. City Hall and St. Ann’s in distance:
photo caption: Millet and Warner Street , Gloucester, MA (Jan. 14, 2020)
A breezy 60 degrees Jan. 11, 2020 on Long Beach, Rockport, Mass. Gloucester, Mass.
The Bruce J Anderson 2020 application deadline is all heart: February 14, 2020
That’s more than a month away, and the stellar team at The Boston Fund is hosting a Webinar next week to help with any questions. They make it easy to participate.
Every year, we share the Bruce J Anderson announcement for its upcoming grant cycle which has supported wonderful local projects. After posting the 2020 call, Larry Anderson wrote a message for GMG readers about the fund honoring his brother and the family’s love for Gloucester and Cape Ann. It’s often difficult for families to get together in one place as years go by, and here six siblings gather again and again for something so positive. (I have another post in mind about sibling tributes which I’ll share with Larry soon.) Thank you so much for sharing the story and sparking ideas!
“Thanks for recognizing the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation. Bruce was my brother. He loved Gloucester, where he spent most of the summers of his life and where he lived and worked at the time of his death many years ago. His six siblings — three sisters, my two brothers, and I — have been fortunate to be able to keep his generous spirit alive through the modest but steady efforts of the foundation created in his name. We have been gratified to be able to support the worthy organizations you name, as well as many others on Cape Ann. We are always glad to hear from new community-minded groups. So please take advantage of the January 15 webinar offered by the capable, helpful folks at The Boston Foundation, who administer the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation.” – Larry Anderson
Photos above show happy results from their support — installation views at Cape Ann Museum from the travel exbibit Once Upon a Contest Selections from Cape Ann Reads
A word from the Bruce J Anderson team at The Boston Fund
The Bruce J. Anderson Foundation, a supporting organization of the Boston Foundation, has launched its 2020 request for proposals.
and note the application deadline is Friday, February 14, 2020.
We will be hosting an informational webinar on Wednesday, January 15th from 12:00-1:00 pm EST. Those interested in attending can join us to hear about the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation’s grantmaking priorities, and the process for applying for funding. Please note that this webinar is not mandatory and your attendance will not affect how your application is reviewed. If you would like to participate in the webinar, please accept the attached calendar invitation so we can know your plans for attendance.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Loren Van Allen at email@example.com or 617-338-1621.
I noticed the open window because a bird hopped in. I didn’t stop to see what ensued but I was reminded about a GMG reader question: Who remembers Cher Ami and homing pigeons of Gloucester?
There’s a 2nd little pane missing on the Main Street side.
What’s in a name?
The 1810 brick building, Gloucester’s first, at the corner of 2 Main and 3 Washington Streets, now features Tonno Restaurant. The exterior has remained relatively unchanged since it was built in 1810 by Col. James Tappan. On the inside it’s been mixed use more often than not (various businesses, restaurants and lodgings). As a result it’s gone through a lot of rebranding: Puritan House, Tappan’s Hotel, Atlantic House, and Capt Bills are a few of the names associated with this historic structure. The Blackburn Tavern signs were added in 1978 for a restaurant.
The brick building at the other end of Main Street with Halibut Point Restaurant & Pub was Howard Blackburn’s actual tavern.
Fun fact: Col. Tappan taught young Daniel Webster.
The new Registry of Motor Vehicles is situated in a long empty, 6,983 ft’ free-standing building in the Danvers Crossing Shopping Plaza, 8 Newbury St. (Rt. 1), Danvers, Massachusetts. The Hardcover and Costco are across the highway. Businesses sharing the parking lot include Ann & Hope, Dollar Store, David’s Bridal, and Monkey Joe’s. (I didn’t know there were still Ann & Hopes.) A number of vacancies remain. The shopping center was originally built out in 1990.
Prior to this move, the RMV had landed at Liberty Tree Mall. This new branch was expected to receive 500 visitors per day. It’s open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. rather than the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. broadcast ahead of time. We have been a couple of times recently to this new one; they were quite helpful. (Make certain to arrive by 4pm on any given day or you’ll have to make a second trip. We learned this the hard way arriving for the first time at 4:35pm.) I never visited the RMV when it was in the mall. I have mostly been to the Revere location.
Reporter Paul Leighton followed the RMV Danvers relocation for the Salem News,
“The good news for North Shore residents is that the Registry of Motor Vehicles is finally planning to open a branch in Danvers after two years without one in this area. The bad news? The new place will cost taxpayers a lot more than the old one.
The registry announced last week that it had signed a 10-year lease to open an RMV branch in a former restaurant building at the Danvers Crossing shopping plaza on Route
The rent for the first year will be $350,616 — nearly 10 times as much as the $41,729 that the state paid in the final year of its lease at the Liberty Tree Mall.
A spokesman for the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, which handles leasing for the state, said the agency does not comment on lease negotiations.
Danvers state Rep. Ted Speliotis acknowledged the new lease payments will be much higher at Danvers Crossing. But he said that’s more a reflection on the great deal the state had at the Liberty Tree Mall.
Speliotis said the registry moved into the mall during tough economic times, when malls and other retail landlords were desperate for tenants. Liberty Tree even offered the space for free for the first three years, from 2010 to 2013.
“We were in the worst recession of our lifetime and the mall needed the foot traffic,” Speliotis said. “That was a once-in-a-lifetime deal.” Read the full article, “RMV deal finally done, but taxpayers will pay” April 30, 2018: here
The Danvers RMV wasn’t busy the times we went December 2019. Still, it remains a bit of a slog* to get to that RMV (or Revere or Wilmington) from Gloucester. Having been to this new one, I’m not sure why there can’t be a branch in Gloucester as well, perhaps at Gloucester Crossing.
*Having to go 5x in the past two months plus needing to get there by 4pm makes it a slog. Revere and this are a toss up.
Photos below: Gloucester Crossing December 2019 looking in the direction of Starbucks (on right) and future pharmacy (free standing building on left, next to Aspen Dental)
Before the Danvers build out- What about a DMV at Gloucester Crossing post here
New decade dawning: Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year.