Sam Novello asks GMG: What Happened to the Cannons at Stage Fort Park?

ca.1870

Stage Fort Park Gloucester MA when Fort Conant spruced up after Civil War_from historic photo pre 1900.jpg

cannon embrasure at stage fort park Gloucester Massachusetts_20191009_ cannons removed for restoration ©c ryan

 

 

Sam Novello asks GMG, “Joe, what happened to the cannons at Stage Fort Park—— two are gone?” 

The cannon(s) are undergoing restoration (cleaning, chemical treatment and re-painting). In 2018, the CPA Committee awarded $22,705 of an estimated $46,000 to the Stage Fort Park Advisory Committee to refurbish the Parrot Rifle Cannon for work scheduled to commence spring 2020. The project is led by the Stage Fort Park Advisory Committee. The grant application project summary indicates the scope of work as follows:

  1. The fabrication of an aluminum “historic-rendering of a carriage for the Parrot Rifle Cannon as part of a multi-year project to restore the Fort area of Stage Fort Park.
  2. Cleaning, treatment and repainting of the Parrot Rifle Cannon.
  3. Machining or “sleeving” of the Parrot Rifle Cannon to create a narrow lined bore capable of firing a small charge report.

“Our final goal is to restore the Fort area as a historic feature of the Park and its importance to our local military history.* Repairs and restoration of this site are long overdue. The ramparts are overgrown with vegetation**. The cannon barrels are suffering due to neglect. The barrels are subject to trash, dirt and debris. We hope to preserve this site for future generations. The cleaning, capping and painting of the cannon will protect the barrel against future damage. We have proposed an annual stipend in the city budget of $2000 for maintenance of the Fort as well as a security plan for the Fort which would include lighting and security cameras. *Our ultimate goals include a visitor education center with historic references to the Fort and its history. It is expected that the entire Stage Fort Park will be used as a centerpiece of the city’s 400th anniversary celebrations.”

 

– Stage Fort Park Advisory Committee CPA application excerpt, photo from packet and phasing goals

Read the full application here: 2019 CPA Application SFP Parrot Rifle Cannon Carriage

*There is no finalized plan for this area overall. See photographs then/now below. There is a history of Fort use and restoration for  historic battles as well as city celebrations honoring this legacy and the kind souls who volunteered to do so. I’m not sure if the 187th Infantry Brigade was paid for the work they did in 1973, which I’m assuming was the last big overhaul. The CPA grant is just about the work on the cannons. The Historical Commission wrote a letter of support stressing replica accuracy using period materials (wood and metal)

**The area is overgrown at the moment because of various DPW work on the boulevard and future plans. (When I photographed the area annually it’s cleared.)

Stage Fort is the oldest fort in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

2019

view over cannons at Stage fort_view of Gloucester Harbor_ Ten Pound Island_Gloucester Massachusetts_20191009_ ©c ryan
October 2019 cannons removed for restoration from site design 1973 by 187th Infantry Brigade

ca.1870

Stage Fort Park Gloucester MA when Fort Conant spruced up after Civil War_from historic photo pre 1900.jpg
“Fort Conant”, post Civil War – pre 1900 site of ramparts before land set aside as Stage Fort Park. Four cannons were mounted during the Civil War

 

temporary visibility_20191009_cannons stage fort gloucester ma ©c ryan.jpg

 

1973

As part of the city’s 350th celebration prep, the cannon site area (earthworks, entrance area, powder magazine, and gun embrasures) was restored by an engineer brigade from Wollaston. The design intent turned the clock back to how the fort would have been built out in the 1700s. Julian Hatch, the chairman of the 350th, had been director of public works for the city. The project was decades in the wishing and sensitively designed at long last.

1930

In 1930, the Fort was spruced up from its formal design post Civil and Spanish war.  Fisherman’s Field Stage Fort information plaques were commissioned and unveiled.

Printable PDF of the plaque translation here 

fishermans-field-transcription.jpg

Read more about historic battles and Gloucester Stage Fort Park in this trivia quiz designed by Shaun Goulart, GHS history teacher in this prior GMG post

1921

1920 Frank Cox Stage Fort Frank Cox

copy of Frank L. Cox fine art photograph (pre dates 1921) he used to illustrate his pocket Gloucester guide “The Gloucester Book”, and sell prints

ca.1870

historic stereoview woman on fort conant stage fort park after civil war.jpg

 

VIDEO MONTAGE OF GUSTER IN GLOUCESTER AT THE RIVERFEST SEASIDE MUSIC FESTIVAL

Wonderfully fun and funny, heartfelt, quirky, original, and fabulous musicians all, Guster headlined Gloucester’s first Riverfest Seaside Music Festival. Montage of highlights from the show with favorite songs “Amsterdam,” “Happier,” “Satellite,” “Stay With Me Jesus,” “Homecoming King,” “Ramona,” “Do You Love Me,” “This Could All Be Yours,” and more.

For information on upcoming shows, tickets, store, and to see Guster’s latest hit video for “Overexcited,” go HERE to www.guster.com

Riverfest presented by 92.5 The River and the City of Gloucester, Stage Fort Park. See photos from the show at Kim Smith Designs

ROCK ON GLUSTER! GUSTER IN GLOUCESTER: PHOTOS FROM GLOUCESTER’S 1ST ANNUAL RIVERFEST SEASIDE MUSIC FESTIVAL

Headlining act Guster gave a fantastic and fabulous-in-every-way show at the Riverfest Seaside Music Festival Saturday afternoon. They played all the fan favorites for a wonderfully fun and eclectic audience. Some of my favorite songs from their beautiful repertoire of music included “Amsterdam, “Do You Love Me,” “This Could All Be Yours,” “Homecoming King,” “Satellite,” “Stay With Me Jesus,” and many, many more. Video with music highlights to come later this week 🙂

Although I had to work most of the day and didn’t get to the event until after 3:30, the festival went fabulously well, from this fan’s perspective. A huge shout out to Donald St. Sauveur and radio 92.5 The River (the best rock radio station, bar none!), Mayor Sefatia and her team for bringing Riverfest to Gloucester, to Jill Cahill and Gloucester’s stellar DPW for the advanced planning and organizing (Stage Fort Park looked absolutely gorgeous!), to all the sponsors, and especially to the fans. Everyone was having a grand time-enjoying the music, dancing, spending time with family and friends, and just having fun.

Thank you festival organizers for a wonderfully new and exciting event for Gloucester! I hope it is the the first of many Riverfests to come!!!

LIVE! stunning day big crowd 92.5 FM #Riverfest Stage Fort Park #GloucesterMA

What a day to launch! Audience by land and sea. Thanks so much to GMG reader, Michele, for sharing her view of 92.5FM Riverfest 2019 Seaside Music Festival at Stage Fort park in Gloucester, Mass. Free concert from 92.5 The River

Congratulations to Jill Cahill and team, and all those involved!

 

GET READY FOR GLOUCESTER’S FIRST EVER RIVERFEST!

EXCITIMENT IS BUILDING FOR GLOUCESTER’S FIRST EVER RIVERFEST SEASIDE MUSIC FESTIVAL!

GUSTER HEADLINING

TIME ARTIST
12:00 – 1:00 PM Tall Heights
1:30 – 2:30 PM Mt. Joy
3:00 – 4:00 PM Noah Kahan
4:30 – 6:00 PM Guster
LINEUP SAMPLER

 

GUSTER HEADLINING RIVERFEST SEASIDE MUSIC FESTIVAL SATURDAY AUGUST 24TH!!!

Less than a week from Riverfest! Headliners Guster will be on from 4:30 to 6:00. GO HERE for the complete line-up and more information.

RSMF Logo

We heard you when you told us we’d outgrown the venue in Newburyport. So, we’re excited to share that Riverfest is moving to a new, larger venue — beautiful Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, overlooking Gloucester Harbor.

And we’ve also moved the event up one week from its traditional Labor Day weekend. The event will be held Saturday, August 24, 2019, 12-6pm.

But something that definitely hasn’t changed — Riverfest will continue to be free and open to the public, as it’s always been.

We’re stoked about the future for this popular, annual event, and we hope you’ll join us on August 24th for an awesome day of live music and great vibes!

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL

The Riverfest Seaside Music Festival is a free show open to the public, now in it’s 18th year! Because of the popularity of this event, attendees are encouraged to get there early with blankets & chairs for a day of great live music!

Help keep Gloucester and Stage Fort Park beautiful! Please do not leave behind cigarette butts, trash, food, etc. Put all trash/recycling in proper barrels.

Dogs and other pets must be on a leash at all times.

Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in Stage Fort Park, except within the designated age 21+ area(s) specially permitted during this event.

City to handle tricky removal of graffiti nuisance tag below founder’s plaque at Tablet Rock #GloucesterMA

Blanched and illuminated area beneath the founder’s plaque was tagged with graffiti which will be ably removed by the city.

graffiti tag below founders plaque Tablet Rock Stage Fort Park_20190505_© c ryan

 

 

 

 

Days earlier it wasn’t. For comparison, here’s how the giant rock appeared May 1, 2019. Had it been on that day…

 

 

1974

Though uncommon, graffiti has been removed from this same spot before. Here’s a 1974 photograph from the Gloucester Daily Times catching a family reading the founder’s plaque. Graffiti was visible and without mention. 

1974 graffiti Tablet Rock _ maybe Charles A. Lowe photo_Gloucester Daily Times

1907

Stage Fort Park Gloucester MA Tablet Rock 1907 John Hammond SR and Natalie looking back.jpg
John Hays Hammond, Sr (1855-1936) holding hands with daughter Natalie (looking back to the camera) after the unveiling. Hammond’s involvement made this tribute happen. Natalie hays Hammond (1904-1985) had the honor of pulling back the cord for the big reveal. 1907 photograph collection Library of Congress

Gloucester’s wrap around picturesque landscape was preserved as a public park in 1898. In 1907, the monumental natural glacial outcropping was decorated with an inset of bronze plaque and stone relief commemorating the first fishermen from England laying claim in 1623. Eric Pape was commissioned for its design.

1901

 

1901 branded Battery K still visible_Tablet Rock Stage Fort Park
branded Battery K still visible 1901 photo

2016

2016 Stage Fort Park graffiti_20161228_©  c ryan.jpg
graffiti 2016 tablet rock  © c ryan

 

 

There are a few circle-A’s tagged around town of late. Also Eon

circle A graffiti tags trend_20190505_© c ryan.jpg
saw this symbol a lot in NYC many, many moons ago 

trending graffiti 2019 april_ c ryan.jpg

PLOVERS NESTING IN THE PARKING LOTS AT STAGE FORT PARK, O’MALEY, AND GOOD HARBOR BEACH

How to tell the difference between a Piping Plover and a Killdeer

This past week, we have received a half dozen reports of “plovers” nesting in local parking lots. Folks are correct, they are a type of plover, but they are not Piping Plovers. The bird is a more common sort, a Killdeer, and Killdeers, like Piping Plovers (and other species of plovers), share many similar courting, nest scraping, mating, and defensive behaviors.

Killdeer courting in the parking lot at Stage Fort Park

Killdeers have been nesting in the dunes and in the Good Harbor Beach parking lot for a number of years, and some years they even have two broods. Last year, the first brood of the season hatched from a nest in the dunes, the second brood, from a nest at the perimeter of the parking lot. For the second nest, Gloucester’s amazing DPW crew  put up a large rock adjacent to the nest, to prevent cars from driving over the nest.

We don’t hear as much about Killdeer Plovers because they are not an endangered species. Killdeers are found in every state of the continental US, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. They are the least shorebird-like of shorebirds because they breed and dwell in many types of habitats including grasslands, fields, urban areas, gravel pits, airports, parking lots, athletic fields, and golf courses. Despite their super ability to adapt to human habitats, it is a species in decline.

Killdeers are nearly twice as large as Piping Plovers, but you wouldn’t know that unless you see them side-by-side. The easiest way to tell the difference is Killdeers have two black collar bands whereas PiPls only have one.

Killdeers have a red eye ring, two collar bands, and a black, longer bill.

Piping Plovers have one collar band, no red eye ring, and an orange bill tipped black.

The back and wing feathers of the Killdeers are a mid-shade of brown, with rust and orange under wings. This coloration more easily blends with gravel pits, grasslands, and scrubby dune habitats. The Piping Plover’s wing and back feathers are a soft pale gray, in shades of driftwood and sand; the birds are much better camouflaged for beach life.  The Killdeer has a red eye ring, the Piping Plover’s eyes are jet black. Killdeer’s bills are more elongated and are a solid black, the PiPls’s is shorter and orange, tipped in black. Piping Plovers have orangish legs; Killdeer’s legs are light buff and light gray.

The feathers of the Killdeers at Stage Fort park blend beautifully with gravel, scrubby grass, and dirt found there in the parking lot. Notice in the third photo in the above gallery how the Killdeer blends with its grassy surroundings.

Piping Plovers are camouflaged in coastal hues of sand and driftwood

The same advice that applies to observing Piping Plover chicks as does to Killdeer chicks. Watch from a safe distance that does not cause the birds to flush and never pick up or touch the eggs or chick.

Killdeer and Piping Plover chicks are precocial. That is a word biologists use to describe a baby bird’s stage of development at birth. Precocial means that shortly after hatching, the bird is fully mobile. Plover chicks are not completely mature, they still need parents to help regulate their body temperature, but they have downy feathers and can run and feed themselves within moments after emerging.  Both Killdeer and Piping plover chicks are well camouflaged in their natural habitats.

The opposite of precocial is altricial. Birds that hatch helpless, naked, usually blind, and are incapable of departing the nest are altricial. Robins and Cardinals are examples of altricial birds.

Killdeer chicks are well hidden in their habitats, as are Piping Plovers chicks in theirs.

Follow this link for more photos of Killdeers and chicks

Even though they are not Piping Plovers, we still love to hear about Killdeers and to learn more about where they are nesting in our area. Please email me at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com if you have any information you would like to share about Killdeers. Thank you.

Bird’s eye video | crowd joins #Adventureman Jamie McDonald finish in Gloucester Massachusetts March 27, 2019

Congratulations to Jamie McDonald, aka Adventureman, for his momentous, inspiring solo-run achievement across America~ And to his team! Little kids in the crowd sported red capes. GMG photographers are out in full force so great coverage will be coming like it’s St. Peter’s Fiesta.

Aerial no filter straight up phone video from rooftops across Gloucester Harbor. It was heartwarming to hear voices carry — from this height and battling wind–, to see the crowd stream past, pause by the Leonard Craske FisherMan at the Wheel memorial, then off to Pavilion beach by Beauport Hotel (site of former Birdseye factory) so Jamie could touch the water and conclude his generous journey. 

Adventureman Jamie McDonald finish Gloucester MA_20190327_photo copyright © catherine ryan.jpg

 

David Cox in position

photographer DAVID COX in position_Adventureman Gloucester MA finish_20190327_photo copyright © C. Ryan.jpg

 

RESULTS WEEK 2 Defending #GloucesterMA | try Mr. Goulart’s local history hunt Throwback Thursday #TBT

Gloucester High School_20190318_photo © catherine ryan.jpg
Gloucester, Mass.- Great teacher at Gloucester High School, Shaun Goulart, creates a local history scavenger hunt trivia game for his 9th grade students that takes place weekly for 6 weeks. We’re taking the challenge one week after the students. Good luck!

ANSWERS TO SHAUN GOULART’S LOCAL HISTORY TRIVIA WEEK TWO

How did you do? Week two delved into scenes of historic battles. I’ve added some background. Stop here if you prefer to go back to see Week 2 questions only from 3/17/19 

WEEK 2: DEFENDING GLOUCESTER Location #1

  • Who was the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony? ANSWER –  ROGER CONANT
    • Go to the location of the fort named after him and take a picture with a member in it. *Stage Fort Park “Fisherman’s Field”

*“In 1623, 14 English fishermen set up the first European colony on Cape Ann here in what was then Fisherman’s Field and is now Stage Fort Park. These ramparts overlook the harbor, first built during the Revolutionary War, renewed for the War of 1812, the Civil War and the Spanish American War. Alas, those first settlers, sent across the ocean by the Dorchester Company, were unable to live off the sea and these rock-bound fields. They moved a few miles south to what is now Salem in 1626. Then, within a decade, there were enough permanent settlers on Cape Ann to incorporate the town of Gloucester. The first meetinghouse was built on the Town Green in 1642 near what is now the Grant Circle rotary of Route 128. The City set this land aside as a public park in 1898 and its Tablet Rock was dedicated by Henry Cabot Lodge in 1907.  James R. Pringle was designated to write the inscription for the bronze plaque. The execution of the design was by Eric Pape. “The nautical scheme of decorative framework and embellishment was the composite suggestion” of various committees dating as far back as the 1880s.” *see Gloucester HarborWalk Stage Fort Park marker #42  photo on marker ©Sharon Lowe. See also Stage Fort Park then/now photos in prior GMG post

Bronze tribute plaques embedded in Tablet Rock at Stage Fort Park detail the site’s history and were commissioned and unveiled at different times. The monumental and stunning Founders plaque from 1907 on Tablet Rock itself is in fantastic condition. Two DAR plaques were inlaid on the glacial outcroppings past half moon beach on the way to the cannons. The Fisherman’s Field (ca.1930) is so worn it’s nearly indecipherable, though that’s part of its charm. The plaque compels close inspection, lingering and discovery. It’s a fun family activity for anyone who likes a challenge. For those who want help reading the content, I transcribed it back in 2010. Scroll down below the “read more” break in this post to open.

 

  • During which war did it receive this name? ANSWER – FORT CONANT during the Civil War 
detail-battery-k
When you zoom in on this 1901 photograph, you can see the big ‘Battery K’-  for the Spanish American War (Camp Hobson) Fort conant during Civil War

 

Location #2

location 2 courtesy photos

 

  • Take a picture at Fort Point with the former location of the Coast Guard Aviation Station behind you (must be visible in the picture) ANSWER – TEN POUND ISLAND
  • What was the fort called on Fort Point? ANSWER – FORT DEFIANCE Fort Point Hill, Fort Lillie (Lily)
  • Name a war it was utilized in. ANSWER – Efforts to fortify as early as 1703 (see Pringle) ATTACK OF CAPTAIN LINDSAY (OR LINZEE) 1775 –population about 5000 –REVOLUTIONARY WAR, WAR OF 1812, CIVIL WAR

“In 1743, what is known as the old fort on Commercial Street, now encroached upon and surrounded by buildings, was completed. On this point, well selected strategically, is a hill which effectually commands the inner harbor. In 1742 and 1742, the General Court appropriated 527 pounds to defray the cost of fortification. Breastworks were thrown up and eight 12-pounders placed in position in the fort. The immediate cause of its erection was the fear of French incursions, but these fears were never realized. An effort had been made as early as 1703 to fortify the place, but the petition of the selectmen to the General Court for an appropriation for the purpose was refused. The petition shows that he harbor, even at that early date was extensively frequent for shelter, and was “very seldom free from vessels.”

“In order to be better prepared for future assaults breastworks were thrown up at Stage Fort, the Cut, Duncan’s Point and Fort Point. This, however was the last attack by sea or land that the people experienced.”

Location #3

  • From Fort Point go to the location of the seven-gun earthwork battery and barracks in ramparts field. Take a picture with the old towers in the background (do not go on private property) ANSWER –  EASTERN POINT FORT by eminent domain, Ramparts Field Road Fort Hill 
  • Name a war it was utilized in  ANSWER –  CIVIL WAR

“Immediate action was taken toward the erection of fortifications. Land at Eastern Point, belonging to Thomas Niles was acquired by the government, and earthwork fort erected and manned…”

Screenshot

  • Screenshot Google Earth with all three above locations in it and circle them. Submit the image.

map.jpg

Continue reading “RESULTS WEEK 2 Defending #GloucesterMA | try Mr. Goulart’s local history hunt Throwback Thursday #TBT”

EXQUISITE LAVENDER-HUED SNOW LIGHT

Whenever I’m out doing errands, if time allows, I try to take the “long” way around. The sun was beginning to shine through the storm clouds while the snow was still falling when I stopped to capture the beautiful shadowy and pale lavender-gray hues at Stage Fort Park. The pretty grays lasted only a few moments, but I was so glad to have taken the long way.

33 YEARS OF SUMMER CONCERTS AT THE ANTONIO GENTILE BANDSTAND!

The summer of 2019 will mark the 33rd year of concerts under the stars at the Stage Fort Park Antonio Gentile Bandstand. Summer concerts began in 1986, founded by a group of former band students of retired Gloucester High School band director Antonio F. Gentile.

The Antonio Gentile Bandstand is located at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester. David Benjamin will be posting the concert series schedule in the coming months.

 

 

ESSEX NATIONAL HERITAGE COASTAL SCENIC BYWAY RIBBON CUTTING!

Today marked the last of the ribbon cutting ceremonies for the exciting new kiosks (nine total) that have been installed by the Essex National Heritage all along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. Mayor Sefatia and Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante did the honors. The kiosk is located at Stage Fort Park near the visitor’s center. Despite the biting wind and freezing temperatures the event was well-attended. To learn more about the Coastal Byway, visit www.CoastalByway.org

Experience the Best of Coastal New England!