Join in planning now for #GloucesterMA 400th Anniversary in 2023!

All are invited to have fun, join in, share ideas for Gloucester’s 400th Anniversary possible celebrations in 2023. A public meeting will be held at City Hall on Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 1-3pm. Can’t attend? Email your input to the 400th steering committee: email gloucester400@gmail.com  and check out the 400th Anniversary Facebook page For More Info

“Although Gloucester’s 400th Anniversary is five years away, we know that those years will go by quickly.  400 years deserves a year long celebration in 2023 and a steering committee has been meeting for the last six or seven months to get the process started. Three Captains have been chosen to lead the group:  Bruce Tobey, Bob Gillis and Ruth Pino. The Committee is sponsoring a public meeting on Saturday April 28, 2018 in City Hall Auditorium…What should happen during 2023? What would you participate in? What would you miss if it didn’t happen?” 

With so much advance notice, it’s fun to ruminate. Three words come quickly to mind for one idea: Virginia Lee Burton. Burton was one of the most influential children’s book author-illustrators of the 20th century and Folly Cove textile designer and founder. She received the Caldecott medal in 1943 for The Little House. Whether for the 400th Anniversary or not, I hope one day that there are tribute commissions for Virginia Lee Burton’s beloved characters Katy from Katy and the Big Snow and Mary Ann from Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel at Stage Fort playground.  Life Story and Song of Robin Hood were also informed by landscape and her life in Gloucester. (The Burton tributes could be massive, interactive and accessible bronze sculptures. Tom Otterness commissions were completed at this scale. Why not Burton? They don’t have to be. Also bring back the monumental sea serpent and the big truck. These memorable imaginative expressions were wood in the past and maintained for years. Perhaps they could be recreated with modern decking materials. And add in Burton’s Little House! )

 

Archives

May 1923 Gloucester Daily Times covers down to the wire plans tercentenary Gloucester Mass.jpg

Gloucester has a history of producing major anniversary celebrations which makes looking back through archives* inspiring for future plans. Here are a few I’ve pulled:

*digitizing Gloucester Daily Times and Gloucester’s municipal archives is another oft repeated plea of mine and others–am sending that one along to a 400th dream wish list…

1892

Link to Gloucester’s 250th memorial celebration BOOK: https://archive.org/stream/memorialofcelebr00glou

1942

August 16, 1942– the city’s second (!) Tercentenary Celebration.

 

1923 Fighting for public art –  the Fisherman at the Wheel memorial commission

On May 21, 1923, the Gloucester Daily Times published an article about the appropriations and planning for the city’s 300th Anniversary which is remarkable in content and its late date–the celebration was just months away!  The idea itself and related costs concerning a public art commission –the one that would become Gloucester’s renowned Fisherman at the Wheel Memorial– were hammered out at a heated City Council meeting. Here’s the nearly complete transcription:

COUNCIL RECONSIDERS AND VOTES $5000 TO CELEBRATION: Equal Amount Will Be Reserved for Permanent Memorial Fund–Executive Committee Held Prolonged and Animated Session Saturday Evening. May 21, 1923 (*note ______ indicates illegible copy)

After three hours of discussion and a conference of the municipal council behind closed doors lasting about three-quarters of an hour on Saturday evening, it was voted to reconsider their action whereby the $10,000 appropriated for the anniversary committee should be alloted for a permanent memorial and voted for _____ committee to expend a sum not exceeding $5000 for the celebration, and the other $5000 to be used for the creation of a permanent memorial.

The agreement as finally reached is ______________ provide for the dedication in whole or in part of a permanent memorial to be erected and paid for jointly by the _______ city of Gloucester. “The municipal council agrees that a sum of $5000 of the amount appropriated by the city for the celebration will be for the general purposes of the committee if necessary, with the understanding that all expensea for additional police protection incurred by the  committee on public safety will be paid for by the anniversary committee. And with the further understanding that the anniversary committee will do all possible to have this sum of money applied to the permanent memorial in addition to the sum reserved ____ by the municipal _____ surplus after the celebration is over, this surplus also to be for the purpose of a permanent memorial.” The meeting opened at 8.15 o’clock, with a reading of the records by Secretary Harold H. Parsons, and following this there came without hesitation_____ ing of the celebration from those present, and for a time, one was reminded of the old town meeting days. ___________ A Piatt Andrew ___________ carnival parade by members of the art colony of the city were accepted and adopted. 

Plain Talk by Chairman Barrett-  Chairman Barrett then arose and addressed the members present and said: “I sent a communication to the municipal council some time ago to find out just what standing this celebration had with them. The letter I received was not

Continue reading “Join in planning now for #GloucesterMA 400th Anniversary in 2023!”

Juni Van Dyke solo exhibition at Jane Deering Gallery: Artist of such expressive power and spirit

Juni Van Dyke’s show at Jane Deering Gallery 19 Pleasant Street Gloucester MA opens Saturday October 29 5-7PM and continues through December 2017. I think Juni’s art transposes her passions and delights into works of sumptuous color and significance. They are beautiful, moving and resonant with her life experiences.

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Jane Deering Gallery is located within the 1842 home built for Capt. Harvey Coffin MacKay and  Sally (Somes) MacKay. They were married in 1816. The building is one of many distinctive assets within Gloucester’s Central Historic District. There aren’t many wood structures dating from this time because of fires.

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McKay’s name is on the 1821 First Fire Club list, established in 1766, appointed to Engine No. Two.  Members agreed to 14 Articles: “to be helpful to each other in case of fire; 2, each member to provide two good leather buckets and two strong bags of not less than three bushels capacity, the fine for non-compliance being 12-1/2 cents; 3, to meet annually, also quarterly, with a fine of 12-1/2 cents for non-attendance; 4, a committee of two to inspect each other’s premises and inspect all fire apparatus quarterly; 5, a moderator and clerk to be elected; 6, prescribe the duties of the clerk; 7, to expel members absent from four quarterly meetings and refusing to pay the fines and assessments; 8, to pay for buckets or bags lost at any fire; 9, each member to pay 50 cents for a printed copy of the articles; 10, a secret watch-word for the society, the fine for divulging the same being 40 cents; 11, a fine of 12-1/2 cents for buckets or bags being out of their proper places; 12, fines and assessments to be paid to the Clerk; 12, a three-fourths vote necessary for admission, etc.; 14, a quarterly assessment of 25 cents to meet ordinary expenses.” See The Gloucester Fire Department: its history and work from 1793 to 1893 by John J Somes, ©1892 

Capt. MacKay was born Joshua Gee Whittemore, Jr; records indicate that on February 13, 1813 he was “allowed to take the name of Harvey C. Mackay,…and be called and known by the said name; and the said name shall forever hereafter be considered as his only proper and legal name, to all intents and purposes.” At one time MacKay was Fitz Henry Lane’s landlord. Fitz Hugh Lane changed his name to Fitz Henry Lane in 1832. You can learn more about Lane at the Cape Ann Museum, right next door to the Jane Deering Gallery. The MacKay house jogged my memory about something else I learned from the Cape Ann Museum in a brief article by Stephanie Buck. In 1879, Sarah Johnson, a MacKay lodger, was the first woman to vote in Gloucester for a public official.  Buck’s article reveals who was second, third and fourth in line!  I thought about that when I peeked through the window at Juni’s show. Here’s a solo exhibition by a woman, at a gallery owned by a woman, next to a museum run by Ronda Faloon, with nearby exhibits featuring other solo shows by women, galleries and businesses owned by women, and Mayor Romeo Theken at City Hall. I hope we can raise money to commission original portraits of Mayor Kirk and Mayor Romeo Theken to add to City Hall.  They are the only Mayors that aren’t represented.

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In 2014, a trunk filled with archival material attributed to Captain MacKay including papers about the ship Parthian fetched $900 (est. $150-200) at online auction site, Invaluable, for The Gallery at Knotty Pine in West Swanzey, NH.

“I, Harvey C. Mackay do solemnly, sincerely, and truly swear, that the within REPORT and LIST, subscribed with my name and now delivered by me to the Collector of the district of BOSTON AND CHARLESTOWN, contains, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the names, age, sex and occupation of all the passengers, together with the name of the country to which they severally belong, and that of which they intend to become inhabitants, which were on board the London Packet whereof I am at present master, at the time of her sailing from the port of London or which have at any time since been taken on board the said vessel. And I do likewise swear, that all matters whatsoever in said report and list expressed, are, to the best of my knowledge and belief, just and true. SO HELP ME GOD. (Signed) Harvey Mackay, MASTER. Sworn to before me, this twenty-fifth day of April 1827, (signed) J. W., Dy. COLLECTOR.” See the (short) Passenger list on board the packet Ship London from England to Boston, Massachusetts on 25 April 1827 

 

A fishing schooner built in Essex in 1866 was named for ‘intrepid Capt Harvey C Mackay (1786-1869). From Out of Gloucester, http://www.downtosea.com: On December 24, 1879: The Sch. ‘Harvey C. Mackay’ Given Up as Lost: The Schooner Harvey C. Mackay, for whose safety fears have been entertained, and for whose coming back to port anxious ears have long been waiting, has been given up as lost by her owners, and she must be added, with her crew of hardy men, to the list of lost fishermen. She left port… 

New Jane Deering Gallery opens in Gloucester