Sort, Roll, Inspect, Repeat – Mary Ann’s descendant & construction progress on Long Beach seawall

Construction work continues on the Long Beach seawall at 3 compromised sections: two 500′ sections (one is closer to the Gloucester edge and the second pretty much mid beach) and a third 30′ area of trouble at the corner by the creek and footbridge. Last summer’s temporary pyres have been vastly expanded with truckloads of boulders from Johnson’s Quarry. The line of boulders helps to prevent sand from being scoured away by seas and the bottom of the wall from further erosion. The rip rap will add ballast support weight.

Besides the crew at Long Beach, the second unit labors at the quarry. It’s slow and careful going impacted by weather and tides. This week was busy. Next week’s conditions are less favorable. Extra time is allotted to make certain heavy equipment beats the tides or the very real possibility of large equipment breaks or malfunction (thankfully has not happened yet). People wondered if a jetty or two was in the works but that is simply temporary staging.

Boulders are deposited at the Gloucester entrance to the beach and transferred to repair sites. Excavators work with Rockport DPW and GZA engineers for optimum selection. (GZA was contracted for Gloucester’s Stacy Boulevard work.) “Spotters” can be seen atop the Long Beach walkway. After the boulders are dumped into piles, the excavator sorts, lifts, rolls and inspects the whole lot and singles like searching for an impossibly hard to find puzzle piece. Sometimes one boulder is turned 15x before it’s the correct pitch or timing. The sorting was remarkably graceful and reminded me of rinsing and prepping berries or beans.

One day at Long Beach I spotted a swimmer with a glorious and faithful arm tattoo of Mary Ann from Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. He was staying at Cape Ann Motor Inn. Did he know that the author and illustrator, Virginia Lee Burton, was from Gloucester? He was stunned and thrilled. She modeled the steam shovel after one she brought her son to see busy building Gloucester High School. Families with little construction fans might enjoy watching Mary Ann’s descendant shoring up the Long Beach seawall.

The timeline for permits and planning for a future sand phase have not been slated.

Long Beach seawall Gloucester Rockport Ma_20190315_© cryan

 

 

come to hear the story and build a steam shovel or create your own machine! Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel Lanesville #GloucesterMA

February 23, 2019 Lanesville Community Center Virginia Lee Burton Writing Center

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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!”

Meet CHRIS VAN DUSEN and see Virginia Lee Burton drawings for Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel @WenhamMuseum

Wenham Museum Dig This..and Build That! Opens This Weekend

Opening Party – Sunday, November 5, 2017 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Dig This...and Build That! annctWenham Museum Dig This..and Build That! Opens This Weekend

Opening Party – Sunday, November 5, 2017 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Free with Museum Admission
Meet Author Chris Van Dusen, take part in a community build, and create your own road!  

Wenham Museum Press Release: “See and touch everything from architecture and autos to books and blocks in our latest exhibit! 

Featuring original illustrations from Virginia Lee Burton’s classic 1939 book Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and antique toys from the museum’s collection, we have it all when it comes to construction: vehicles, building blocks, Erector Sets, puzzles, LEGOs, and more! There are also original illustrations by two current artists: Chris Van Dusen’s books If I Built a House and If I Built a Car, and Brian Lovelock’s books Roadwork, Construction, and Demolition.

Plus, dig out some toys and materials to create your own constructions right in the gallery! Get on a digger and move stones in the pit, put together amazing creations from Lincoln Logs, building blocks, LEGOs, and more, and try your hand at building a book to take home with you!

On Sunday, join us for our exhibit opening party where there will be lots of hands-on construction opportunities including creating your own road and working on our community building project. We are also so excited to welcome children’s book author and illustrator Chris Van Dusen who will be here to to sign his books, If I Built a House and If I Built a Car. “

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Virginia Lee Burton, children’s book author/illustrator, Folly Cove textile designer and founder, resided and worked in Gloucester, MA, where she created some of America’s most popular and classic children’s picture books. Burton’s characters and stories have been enjoyed by children of all ages all over the world. She received the Caldecott medal in 1943 for The Little House. Other books include Katy and the Big Snow and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

PLAYTIME STORIES CELEBRATES VIRGINIA LEE BURTON ON JULY 15

Live Theater Performances at Gloucester Stage for Young Audience Members Age 2 and Older

Gloucester Stage Company proudly announces A Celebration of local author Virginia Lee Burton at Playtime Stories,  on Saturday, July 15 at 10 am at Gloucester Stage, 267, East Main Street, Gloucester. An engaging combination of children’s stories and live performances for ages 2 and older, Playtime Stories offers young children the unique opportunity to experience the fun and magic of live theater as they watch their favorite books come to life onstage. Following the performance audience members will be invited to join the Playtime Stories Company in fun and interactive workshops relating to the story. Each Saturday the Playtime Stories Company, consisting of members of Gloucester Stage’s apprentice company, veteran Youth Acting Workshop students and special guest narrators will perform a children’s story against the backdrop of the story’s illustrations as well as create a dynamic weekly series of interactive events related to the story. Saturday, July 15 the stories are Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel The Little House narrated by Danvers native and 2016 Education Apprentice Sarah Vandewalle and performed by Youth Acting Workshop students and members of the 2017 Apprentice Company. According to Youth Acting Workshop Director and Teacher Heidi Dallin, “We had a great response to the Playtime Stories program over the past two summers. It is a terrific way for YAW to reach out to younger audiences to spark their excitement in live performance. Many of the veteran YAW students in the Playtime Stories Company have been involved in the YAW program since they were 5 years old and now they will inspire the next generation of YAW students!” Each week through August 19 Playtime Stories explores different stories ranging from classic fairy tales to new stories to works by local authors.  July 15 is a A Celebration of Cape Ann author Virginia Lee Burton with the books: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Little House

Playtime Stories at Gloucester Stage, 267, East Main Street, Gloucester runs throughSaturday, August 19. Upcoming books to be read and performed by the Playtime StoriesCompany include; July 22: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Doctor De Soto, The Little Mouse, the Ripe Red Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear ; July 29: Where the Wild Things Are andCorduroy ; August 5 Dr. Seuss Celebration: Oh, the Places You’ll Go and Green Eggs and Ham with more stories to be announced for August 12 and August 19. All Playtime Storyperformances are held at 10 am at Gloucester Stage, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Admission is $5. For more information or tickets, call the Gloucester Stage Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com