9 ribbon cuttings! Byway kiosks

Stage Fort Park_Gloucester MA_ since 1897_ Visitors Welcome Center_20170519_©c ryan
(before)

Essex National Heritage Heather Goss, Project Manager, shares save the date notice

Ribbon Cuttings – Essex Coastal Scenic Byway Kiosk Installations save the dates

  • BEVERLY, Wednesday, December 5th, 9:30am
    Location: 191 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA 01915

    IPSWICH, Wednesday, December 5th at 1:00pm
    Location: 36 South Main Street, Ipswich, MA 01938

    LYNN, Friday, December 7th, 9:00am
    Location: Intersection of Union and Broad Street, Lynn, MA 01901

    SALEM, Friday, December 7th, 11:00am
    Location: 2 New Liberty Street, Salem, MA 01970

    SALISBURY, Friday, December 7th, 4:00pm
    Location: Maria Miles Visitor Center, Exit 60 on Route 95, South Bound, Salisbury, 01952

    MARBLEHEAD, Monday, December 10th, 1:00pm
    Location: Chamber’s Information Booth, at the intersection of Pleasant, Essex and Spring Streets, Marblehead, MA 01945

    NEWBURYPORT, Tuesday, December 11th, 9:30am
    Location: Information Booth, 35 Merrimac Street, Newburyport, MA 01950

    ESSEX, Tuesday, December 11th, 1:00pm
    Location: 113 Main Street, Essex, MA 01929

    GLOUCESTER, Wednesday, December 19th, 10:00am
    Location: Stage Fort Park, 24 Hough Ave, Gloucester, MA 01930

Essex Coastal Scenic Byway Essex National Heritage new kiosks 2018About the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway kiosks:
The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage) is pleased to announce the installation of 9 informational kiosks in communities along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, a state-designated route linking 14 coastal cities and towns from Lynn to Salisbury. These kiosks are a part of a wayfinding signage project that has been ongoing for over a decade with the goal of supporting a tourism-based economic initiative by showcasing the region’s historic, cultural, and natural places. Envisioned as a sustainable form of economic development, the route of the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway was established by the state legislature in the mid-2000s. The 90-mile Essex Coastal byway is one of 15 state-designated scenic byways in Massachusetts and guides visitors and residents through one of the country’s most picturesque and historically significant regions – Boston’s legendary North Shore. The route features mile after mile of breathtaking vistas, historic homes, access to world-class art and culture destinations, distinctive local businesses and visitor centers. With the addition of these kiosks to the existing wayfinding signage, travelers of the byway will be able to access visitor- related information about the communities and the Essex National Heritage Area, stimulating the exploration of the byway region’s extensive heritage sites, recreational resources, and visitor services. Additionally, these kiosks list byway access routes from local major highways and are an accessible resource for the public year-round. From south to north byway communities are Lynn, Swampscott, Marblehead, Salem, Beverly, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Newburyport and Salisbury. “Essex Heritage is working to support our local economy and the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway is an excellent vehicle for promoting tourism within these communities,” said Essex Heritage CEO Annie Harris, “The kiosks help bring attention to our enduring local landmarks and demonstrate how heritage sites continue to financially benefit the businesses and residents of this coastal region.” The wayfinding signage and kiosk system was funded by a grant from the Federal Highway administration (FHWA) with matching funds provided by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The hardware and panels were designed by Omloop Design based in Framingham, with strong support and direction from stakeholders within the represented communities*. The kiosks were fabricated and installed by Design Communications Ltd (DCL). Essex Heritage is organizing ribbon cutting ceremonies for each community receiving a Byway Kiosk. 

*In Gloucester most recently those assisting ENA with the Kiosks include Marie Santos, Gloucester’s Community Development (and Voice of Gloucester HarborWalk narration), and Elizabeth Carey, Director Discover Gloucester.

About Essex Heritage and the Essex National Heritage Area:
Essex Heritage is the non-profit organization that manages the Essex National Heritage Area by developing programs that enhance, preserve, and encourage recreation, education, conservation and interpretation projects on Boston’s North Shore and the Lower Merrimack River Valley. The Essex National Heritage Area is comprised of the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, MA. For more information, visit http://www.EssexHeritage.org or call (978) 740-0444. 

HarborWalk marker installed 2012_Stage Fort Park_Gloucester MA_looking across Visitors Welcome Center to Gloucester Harbor_20170519_©catherine ryan.jpg
Gloucester HarborWalk marker (#42) was installed at Stage Fort Park in 2012

Does the #MBTA new design for the #Annisquam River bridge look like a prison tower to you?

MBTA Gloucester bridge sim

The tower and the scale of the concrete column brought to mind the opening scenes of Dr. Zhivago with Alec Guinness looking for his niece. Here’s a TCM film clip to give you some idea of what I mean despite cutting off right before the pan up to the guard tower.

Dr Z still

 

Here’s how the Annisquam bridge looks today.

20170909_080624

 

Mostly great gorgeous marsh.

Its scale suits the site and often disappears. American artist Edward Hopper painted a close up in 1923.

landscape-with-bridge-watercolor-whitney1

There are four significant Edward Hopper artworks that are related to the commuter train he took from NYC to Gloucester, MA. I sent the images to Fay Spofford & Thorndike for their reference as in my professional experience any architects and engineers that I’ve worked with were keen on historic links. They couldn’t have known this one. Until I corrected the records in 2011, the Hopper watercolor was misattributed as an unidentified landscape, likely Maine or Massachusetts. It’s definitely Massachusetts–the Annisquam River train bridge in Gloucester, MA, to be precise. If you live here, you know that scene by heart. Hopper captured most every gateway to Gloucester. A 2012 photograph by Allegra Boverman reporting on bridge damage for the Gloucester Daily Times, zoomed in just so, helped me illustrate the match.

Catherine Ryan identifying Edward Hopper Annisquam River Bridge

I also shared the exciting Hopper news and connections with then Mayor Kirk, community development, Senator Tarr, the Gloucester Daily Times, and the Boston Globe. I wasn’t speaking to them about the design as I felt the state and the architects and engineers would be on that.

I have no idea when that distinct yellow shack–a mini me Cape Ann motif– was no longer there: perhaps it could be recreated, or a nod to the A Piatt Andrew bridge could be referenced with some planning? Maybe some of the diagonals of the old structure, or some other New England elements at the abutment sides could be incorporated into the design?

A couple of years later, I found an old Good Morning Gloucester post by Fredrik D. Bodin. There’s no mistaking that two level shack! I wish I could have spoken with him about the Curtis photograph.

a8767_017wm FRED BODIN little yellow house motif like and new england building on right

I don’t suggest that the treacherous bridge needs to be “preserved” or want to impede progress.  However, if there is a small way that the design can tip its hat to Hopper, Gloucester, New England…why not? It is a landmark, a beacon for Cape Ann.  It’s very exciting that the project is going out to bid. I hope the winning firm mitigates the design to temper any possible prison comparison. Leave the pier-column design but adjust the tower? Can it be both structurally sound and inspiring?

SCENES FROM O’MALEY: EXPLORING MASS IN MOTION SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL WALKING PRIORITIES. CUE GMG POLL

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photo L-R: Principal Debra Lucey; Steven Winslow Community Development; Val Gilman Ward 4 City Councilor 

Thirty people came together in the beautiful library at O’Maley for a public meeting concerning safer walking on nearby streets. The meeting was presented by Ward 4 Councilor Val Gilman and Mayor Romeo Theken. Read prior post with announcement details. Steve Winslow from Community Development gave a presentation before a crowd of residents, mostly from the neighborhood with a smattering of O’Maley parents. O’Maley’s terrific Principal, Debra Lucey, participated.

Winslow explained that he and Principal Lucey worked on the crux of the issues back in 2012 through a “Safe Routes to School” planning study. Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School are implemented by MassDOT (Massachusetts Department of Transportation). Principal Lucey, a Lanesville resident, drives to school via Reynard Street, arguably the route most discussed as being problematic at this particular meeting. People are driving too fast on Cherry Street.

Nothing is final and the discussion was open. Attendees were encouraged to put a sticker by projects they wanted to prioritize and/or take off the table. What three would you tick?

Lucey and her husband relocated to Gloucester because of the O’Maley job and a sweet connection with Gloucester. She and her husband had their first date here: Good Harbor Beach and dinner at the Rudder!

Massdot

Massdot Complete Streets funding portal

MA Public Health Association complete streets 

massDOT omaley safe routes complete streets