Side by side photographs: BEFORE (April 2017) / DURING CONSTRUCTION on the 8s (October 2019) Stay tuned for After.
88 Long Beach
68 Long Beach
Behind 28 Long Beach
What’s in a name? For these front row cottages it’s the charm of Long Beach all the way. What would you use?
Compare with April 2017 see 74 Long Beach front row cottages in less than a minute slowed down version “Coastal Living: Long Beach walk combines ocean view, front row cottages and beach” here
In 2018 Rockport widened much of the Long Beach seawall walkway beginning at the Gloucester side and stretching past the midpoint. Recently crews began extending this project straight through to the end point on the Rockport side. The work is expected to be completed in a couple of weeks.
Rocky explained it’s done in segments and moving right along.
Besides this big project, the getting ready for summer bustle is in full swing. Annual staircase return? Check! Front row cottage work? Check! New patio and masonry work by the former hotel (photos 2018 vs 2019 below) where the stone patio was compromised, various yardwork and private deck repairs are visible along the promenade.
Plenty of prior GMG posts (search “Long Beach seawall”); here are a few:
Seawall damage coverage GMG post May 25, 2018
What a stunner day for the next phase of the Long Beach seawall repair. They’re loading and raking in fill to level the walkway today. Roller still to come.
speedy backing up
this way and that still to come
Phases of storm repair continue.
Photos show the next stage in the seawall repair on the walkway (what the white spray paint meant). The promenade is two lanes: the ocean lane is a bit higher for now. Hooray!~more staircases are passable.
Photo journal documenting rapid damage and repairs post trio of winter storms as of May 2018.
is creeping back, truly. (view looking across to Gloucester side)
(sand migrating back- view looking to Rockport– see 2017 post about Long Beach annual shifting sands )
beach erosion was significant
Spring tides slam the Long Beach seawall.
photo: A tree tossed up like a toothpick atop the rip rap helps to illustrate the ocean’s twice daily whollops.
vulnerable spots clearly visible to the naked eye (I marked up two with red lines)
When the seawall opened up and heavy concrete sections balanced like hanging chads or individual playing cards, I was not surprised. The massive promenade had shown signs of strain. Small fissures and tiny holes were noticeable before the winter storms accelerated its decline. Water finds a way in at high tides. The manmade wall is noticeably shifting and rumbling at a greater pace. Holes, cracks and breaks along the seawall expand, and new ones erupt. I can’t help conjuring up comparisons to Yellowstone’s boiling and unpredictable surface. I imagine stakeholders are mapping details of their immediate landscape. Though beaten down, the promenade is walkable and sturdy. Tiny holes do expand rather alarmingly.
and another (filled)- the cone eventually dropped beneath the path
more photos (before-afters, repairs, boulder pyres, stairs or lack thereof, and nuisance popples) and videos of seawall ramparts giant boulder shuffle
Sunny morning inspection following April 17, 2018 spring storm. DPW crews were racing to assess before the next incoming high tide. Gloucester-Rockport, Mass. Long Beach seawall and stairs were hit hard yesterday including a collapse. “I’ve never seen an aerial bend in the middle before.”
“Uneven surface- Pass at your own risk”
more photos (click to see full size)
Riley took bites out of the Long Beach seawall, and ripped out decks and fences wherever last night’s raging tide rushed. Debris strewn roads include large timber rails and rocks.
Progress on some winter builds.
BEFORE 142 Long Beach April 2017
BEFORE 4 Long Beach April 2017
At the back of Longbeach Place; and in the distance at the corner of Long Beach Road and Rockport Road
As with Manchester Singing and other North Shore beaches, the white or “dry” sand of Long Beach sings a musical sound as you scuff ahead. Lately though it’s whistling a shorter tune because there’s an astonishing loss of the dry grains.
Over the last 10 years, so much sand has been washed away from Long Beach most every high tide hits the seawall. Boogie boarders need to truncate their wave rides else risk landing on the rip-rap. It’s become a competitive sport to lay claim to some beach chair and towel real estate if you want a dry seat. On the plus side, low tide is great for beach soccer and tennis, long walks and runs. Bocce ball has replaced can jam and spikeball as the beach games of summer 2017.
Seasoned locals recall having to ‘trudge a mile’ across dry sand before hitting wet sand and water. In my research I’ve seen historic visuals that support their claims.
Historic photos and contemporary images –from 10 years ago– show a stretch of white sand like this one looking out from the Gloucester side of Long Beach to the Rockport side.
photocard showing the pedestrian walkway prior to the concrete boardwalk. Historic prints from ©Fredrik D. Bodin (1950-2015) show the damage after storm, 1931. See his GMG post and rodeo (ca. 1950)
After the Storm, Long Beach, 1931 Alice M. Curtis/©Fredrik D. Bodin (1950-2015) “Printed from the original 5×7 inch film negative in my darkroom. Image #88657-134 (Long Beach looking toward Rockport)”
This next vintage postcard flips the view: facing the Gloucester side of Long Beach –looking back to glacial rocks we can match out today, a tide line that shows wet and dry sands, and the monumental Edgecliffe Hotel which welcomed thousands of summer visitors thanks to a hopping casino. The white sand evident in front of the Edgecliffe bath houses (what is now Cape Ann Motor Inn) has plummeted since a 2012 February storm and vanished it seems, perhaps temporarily, perhaps not. It’s most evident where several feet of sand was cleaved off from the approach to the boardwalk.
I find the annual sand migration on Long Beach a fascinating natural mystery. It’s dramatic every year. Here are photos from this last year: fall (late Sept 2016), winter (December- sand covers rip-rap), spring (April -after winter storms with alarming loss), and summer (today)
SPRING April rip-rap uncovered, exposed. Climbing to the boardwalk is an exciting challenge for two boys I know (when the sand is filled in like the December photo it’s a short drop)
SUMMER July 14 sand is coming back though all boulders are not entirely submerged
Storms (namely February) strip the silky soft top sand away and expose the boulders strengthening the seawall. It’s easy to feel alarmed that the beach is disappearing. By summer, the sand fills back, though not always in the same spot or same quantity. Some rip-rap expanses remain exposed. Most is re-buried beneath feet of returning sand. New summer landmarks are revealed. One year it was a ribbon of nuisance pebbles the entire length of beach. The past two years we’ve loved “the August Shelf”. (Will it come again?)
This year there’s a wishbone river.
In case you missed the Gloucester Daily Times article “Rockport Looks to Fix Long Beach Sea Wall” by Mary Markos, I’ve added the link here. They hope to finish by 2025. I look forward to learning more and reading about it. If extra sand is brought back will high tide continue to hit the seawall? (In the past it could hit the wall or blast over in storms, but dry sand remained lining the wall.) Will the new wall occupy the same general footprint? Will it be higher? Thicker?
Long Beach panoramic (click picture to enlarge) view at low tide, April 2017. The barrier rip rap is mightily exposed. At other times the large boulders are buried beneath deep sand.
This spring awakening is calm. Most of the homes remain prepped for winter.
The view from the beach at low tide (ocean at my back) in two parts.
Contractor: Newport, Nashua, NH, Brian McCabe is the Project Manager
Status: in progress
Progress April 2017: nearing finish line
Project start (historic): pre 1900
Modern project start: 1999
Funding Awarded: 2013
Bid Open and contract amount: 2/24/15 approx $7 million
Contract completion: on schedule, estimated spring 2017
Locations: Stacy Boulevard and Blynman
Priority: Top Level! Unique and exceptional project– Mayor’s Office considers seawall boulevard a priority necessity, for safety, a centuries infrastructure project with immeasurable quality of life benefits for residents and visitors and essential to economy
Temporary work site chain link fence: Required. The chain link fence is installed by the contractor to protect the work zone and define it better.
Tender house at Blynman and bridge: These are State not city/DPW purview. The new bridge house is temporary (thankfully). The entire bridge needs to be replaced and when it is a new tender’s house will be constructed. I will write more about the bridge house and Blynman in other posts.
Local jobs– scroll below
photo above: fencing subcontractor on a beautiful work site readying for railing. Railing required diamond coring like old granite quarrying. Stacy Boulevard December 2016.
photo caption: Railing! 2000 feet of new galvanized railing. (The replaced railing was not galvanized. DPW replaces railing: it’s simply a matter of funding.)
photo caption: Alex Karp – GZA Field Engineer Boulevard construction. The GZA company acquired (David) Vine Associates. GZA is the design engineer for the boulevard project. David Smith at GZA (formerly Vine) has worked with Gloucester since 1999.
photo caption: Gloucester’s DPW construction along the Boulevard
photo caption: CAP STONE! It’s more than decorative. It has two exposed sides that need to be trimmed to look perfect. Mike Hale, Boulevard construction, November (of course note beard) 2016
photo caption: Stacy Boulevard contruction capstone and harbor
photo CAPtion!: Stacy Boulevard dazzling dizzying scope of ocean and capstone as far as the eye can see
photo caption: Mike Hale with Brian McCabe, Project Manager, Newport construction, November 2016, Gloucester Boulevard
Along with the Mayor’s office and current administration, Gloucester’s DPW and Newport Construction work with subcontractors including local ones such as:
GZA – national with corporate headquarters in Norwood, MA – Engineering
Gloucester Transit Mix Concrete, Gloucester, MA, – huge part of project!
Cape Ann Stone, Rockport, MA, Bruce Johnson (owner) – granite
MBT Electricians, Gloucester, MA – electrical and lighting
Essex County Landscaping, Gloucester, MA, J D Aspesi (owner) – irrigation and sod
Anne Gilardi Johnson – additional new gardens, site and landscape design for the Boulevard (building upon the successful Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial)– Johnson , a Gloucester native and multi award winning landscape architect, was commissioned by the Fishermen’s Wive Memorial board back in 2000 to design the landscape for Morgan Faulds Pike bronze sculpture, dedicated August 2001. “A series of design plans, and finally a study model, was produced as part of an interactive process between the designer, sculptor, and the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association.” Johnson is a member of the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (largest chapter of the national organization), “known for her design of urban spaces including parks, playgrounds, memorials and streetscapes in Boston,” Worcester, and Gloucester. Her award winning designs include Boston’s (James) Hayes and Childe Hassam Parks in the South End. Generous Gardeners is planting the new beds on the Boulevard: thousands of tulip and daffodil bulbs were planted by many volunteers last fall to bloom this spring!
some prior posts:
April 2017 nearing the finish line Part 1- Walk this way: Gloucester’s stately Stacy Boulevard public works project is breathtaking and one for the ages! Part 1
September 12 2016- Stacy Boulevard construction update: historic Blynman the Cut Bridge project scope plans and engineering details
Mike Hale, Gloucester’s Director of Public Services, was hired in July of 1999, the very same year that this ambitious boulevard infrastructure planning and funding search began for this project. It was funded in 2014. That means the current project timeline spanned 4 Mayors, administration, staff and city councils. The construction has been exceptionally well managed and I predict it will be or should be nationally recognized with awards. I have been documenting the progress and in the coming days will post several tributes, contemporary views, historic photos and background to rev up anticipation and respect.
On that day in history, Gloucester’s city council approved the purchase of two lots, the Grant and Low properties:
“Whereas it is the desire of the board of park commissioners of the city of Gloucester to take in fee by purchase or otherwise certain land in said Gloucester lying between Western Avenue and the sea,
“And whereas, the said board has estimated the expenses of acquiring the same to be $8000,
“It is hereby ordered that the sum of $8000 be and hereby is appropriated from the $90,000 Western Avenue act of 1922 to the board of park commissioners as provided by law for the purpose of acquiring and laying out as a public park such land as the said board of park commissioners consider desirable therefore, being the land as shown on a plan entitled ‘Proposed taking for highway and park purposes, Gloucester, Mass, dated April 16, 1923, John H. Griffin, City Engineer,’ having reference to that portion as shown on said plan as is proposed to be taken for park purposes.” I’ve added the bold emphasis to note the big vision of Western Avenue as a public park and extension of Stage Fort in 1923.
The significant original investment was tangible and long lasting, hallmarks of any successful public works project. Did the Boulevard improve the quality of life in Gloucester? It wasn’t easy. Houses and roads were moved.
Photo caption: “A VIEW NOW OF THE PAST. Most of us are familiar with the Above View. it Shows the Dwellings which Once Lined the Western Avenue Waterfront Before Work was Started Constructing the New Boulevard.”
These photographs were published in August 1923 and retrieved from the Gloucester Daily Times microfiche reel at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library.
The caption below describes Kent Circle “where grand stand has been erected for the review of the parades” for Gloucester’s tercentenary celebration.
Awaiting full access in 2017 is a mere blip of an inconvenience when considering how fundamental the Boulevard is for Gloucester. Its benefits are priceless.
Tomorrow’s post BRINGING PLANS TO LIFE