Wingaersheek Beach winter whites #GloucesterMA

Scenes from Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester, Massachusetts, an icy wonderland after first winter storm 2019

color off but still wingaersheek beach gloucester mass_gif_after first winter storm 2019 © catherine ryan

See amazing 1901 historic photos from Bruce Roberts: Gloucester crews worked on Haskell’s dam

City of Gloucester officials are working towards a Phase 3 for the Haskell Pond Dam reconstruction which I wrote about last week (Part 1). I included information about the original monumental build. In response, Bruce Roberts was kind enough to share these amazing photographs of the impressive crews at the Haskell Pond construction site 1901. Bonus: they were annotated by his grandfather in 1958.  West Gloucester families may recognize a surname or two, maybe a family resemblance. Please help ID if you can.

Bruce Roberts explains: “My grandfather, Edward F. Roberts, identified the individuals back in 1958.  There are some folks he didn’t recognize, since he would have been pretty young when these images were taken.  The first picture has the most identified individuals. One thing that has always been remarkable to me in the second image is how much Chester Andrews, my g-grandfather, resembled my father, Eugene Roberts, at that age.”

 HASKELL’S POND CONSTRUCTION ca.1901-02 – (Individuals ID’d by Edward Roberts in 1958)

Clearing Haskells pond late 1901 © courtesy historic photo collection Bruce Roberts

Photo 1, Dec 1901 (in snow): “Wood Choppers at Haskell’s Pond, December 1901”
Front Row, L-R: 1. Otis Lufkin, 2. Matt Poland, 3. Loren (sp?) Harris, 4. Melvin Wilkins, 5. Jim White

Back Row: 1.Asa Sargent, 2. unknown, 3. Ed Lufkin, 4. James Chadbourne, 5. Joseph Abbott, 6. unknown, 7. Joshua Roberts, 8 & 9. unknown

Clearing Haskells pond late 1901 © courtesy historic photo from collection Bruce Roberts

Photo 2 (late 1901 or early 1902):

Front, L-R: 1. Loren Harris, 2 & 3. unknown, 4. Asa Sargent

Center, w/ white shirt: Eps Walter Haskell

3rd row: (Right side, behind Asa Sargent, in light coat): Chester Andrews

(2nd to left from Chester Andrews): Fred Jeffs

2018 July 2 Haskells Pond Dam reconstruction Gloucester Massachusetts Department of Public Works directing SumCo_ photograph ©c ryan (4)

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Continue reading “See amazing 1901 historic photos from Bruce Roberts: Gloucester crews worked on Haskell’s dam”

Great Public Works then and now | Haskell’s Pond Dam 2018 reconstruction with 1902 construction plans & wild origin story #GloucesterMA

Last month I was fortunate to glimpse the impressive Haskell’s Pond Dam reconstruction orchestrated by Gloucester’s Department of Public Works (DPW). Protecting and managing water utilities can be easy to take for granted. “This not so sleepy dam by Rt. 128 continues to deliver almost 30% of the city’s water,” exclaimed Larry Durkin, City Environmental Engineer. He explained that years ago the DPW team began assessing the city’s water infrastructure and compliance requirements including what would happen during an event storm. Haskell’s Pond Dam needed attention: The reconstruction was projected to cost 2 million (based on the preliminary plans and the recent Babson Reservoir repair). Phase I and II  were contracted out to SumCo Eco Contracting and the estimates were correct. The project cost two million and the work is largely completed thanks to grants and loans from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and the Commonwealth’s Dam and Seawall Program.  DPW Director, Mike Hale, and Larry Durkin concur: “They are fabulous to work with.” Discovery was anticipated. While drilling it was determined that the Haskell Pond Dam was indeed not structurally stable, and a MAJOR fix would be required to bring the dam into compliance. The DPW team is working with the state to fund the critical work of Phase 3.

Until then, take time to enjoy its history. While checking out the 2018  progress, I pulled stories and stats from the Haskell’s Pond Dam original build In 1902. As with today, the dam work was regarded  a model project. State assistance and contracted elements were required then, too. The numerous links among these two century projects are a fascinating delve and described below. The evolving breaking news in 1902 kicked off with a bang, surprising lawsuits (next stop for one could be Supreme Court), and deft leadership. Readers and history buffs will recognize names. (Tarr ancestors were involved; were yours?)

panorama and contemporary photos – Like a mini Walden pond- Haskell’s Pond during Dam reconstruction Gloucester, MA ©c ryan July 7, 2018.  

2018 July 2 Haskells Pond Dam reconstruction Gloucester Massachusetts Department of Public Works directing SumCo_ photograph ©c ryan (1)

FAST STATS 2018 Phase 1 & 2 – $1,928,000

Scope for Phase 1 & 2: Construction of a new concrete spillway chute, concrete repairs, clearing of trees and unwanted vegetation and valve replacement at an earthen embankment dam within the City’s active water supply system, and more (A prior $175,000 grant from the state’s Dam and Seawall Program was awarded to support “engineering, permitting and the development of construction documents”  which established scope for Phase 1)

2018 July 2 Haskells Pond Dam reconstruction Gloucester Massachusetts Department of Public Works directing SumCo_ photograph ©c ryan (7)

Contractor: SumCo Eco Contracting,
Status: largely completed
Mayor: Mayor Romeo Theken
DPW Director: Mike Hale
City Environmental Engineer: Lawrence A. Durkin, P.E.
Project start (historic): 1902
Modern project start: 2013-18; RFP for Phase I issued: March 15, 2017
Total project cost: estimated to be $7 million
Funding Awarded to date: $1,925,000 

  • from State: $1,925,000 – The City has done very well with Grants and Loans from the MA Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and its Dam and Seawall Program, Mike Hale and Larry Durkin concur. “They are fabulous to work with.”
No EEA Grant Loan Comment
1 Design  & permitting grant FY 2016 $175,000 Completed 6/30/16
2 Haskell Phase 1 Construction Grant FY 2017 $500,000 Closed 6/30/17 and City reimbursed
3 Haskell Phase 1 Construction Loan FY 2018 $500,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
4 Haskell Phase 2 Construction Grant FY 2018 (Applied to Phase 1 change orders) $500,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
5 Additional FY 2018 EEA, funds applied to Phase 1 change orders $250,000 Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
6 Haskell Phase 2 Full FY 2019 Grant, to be applied to Phase 3 $500,000 to be realized if Phase 3 goes forward in FY 2019
7 EEA Total to date $1,925,000 $500,000

Phase 3:  Some future phase was anticipated, though obviously impossible to nail down until Phase 1 & 2 were completed. The reconstruction was based on discovery put into works five or more years ago as Durkin and DPW team assessed city’s watersheds. The dam has been deemed unstable and will require a major fix to be compliant. According to Durkin, the scope for Phase 3 will include “a secant concrete wall to be drilled and concrete along the dam crest for its entire length, cored in the bedrock beneath dam for structural stability and a concrete parapet wall tied into the secant wall that provides the necessary containment for the maximum storm as defined by the state” and some exicting ancillary projects I’ll write more about in a future update. Phase 3 is estimated to cost 5 million and DPW is working on grants with the state to ensure that it happens.

Location(s): West Gloucester
Priority:  Mayor Romeo Theken’s Office-City consider water highest priority – this one continues to provide 1/3 of the city’s water

Before / After

before photos courtesy DPW ca.2014  /  after photos ©c ryan 2018

 

 

ORIGINAL 1902 PLANS AND PROPOSAL

Plate 14 West Gloucester showing Haskell's Pond_from Gloucester MA Dept Public Works archives

Reviewing the ordeal that was constructing the dam– one hundred and six years ago –is a fascinating read, and helped me appreciate the major job it’s been in 2018. The original dam construction was contentious and hence the top news story of 1902 and years prior. While researching its beginnings, I was struck by just how many areas of concern and themes of city governance from 1902 remain relevant in 2018. Here’s a short list: the financial condition of the city (“revaluation”), suitable allocations, considering work on Rogers Street, water costs, heroic solo sails, possible steel bridge over Annisquam, Burnham Field play ground, pros and cons of tourism, disagreement over what is considered sound development, new theater on Main Street, announcing state grants, eminent domain, boundary lines, Gloucester Fresh, cut bridge in bad condition, aiming to keep work in town when possible, Stage Fort Park tributes, environmentally friendly innovations,  sustainability, access and oodles of local politics-  Office of Mayor and City Council, city staff, committees, and commissions.

The excerpts below pertain to Haskell’s pond dam from 1902 Gloucester Daily Times  archives that I pulled from reels at Sawyer Free and transcribed for easy access.  Plans and maps are courtesy of Mike Hale and the Department Public Work team. Links to high resolution versions are provided at the end of the post.

January 4, 1902 – MAYOR FRENCH LOSES: Aldermen Vote to Exonerate Water Commissioners

Continue reading “Great Public Works then and now | Haskell’s Pond Dam 2018 reconstruction with 1902 construction plans & wild origin story #GloucesterMA”

NINE ALEWIFE COUNTED FROM THE NEW FISH COUNTING STATION!!

It’s a little too cold and a little too early in the season for the Alewife to run, yet despite today’s 44 degree temperature, Gloucester’s new shellfish warden Tammy Cominelli shares that nine were counted from the Little River’s brand new counting station on Saturday!

Today marked the official opening of the station with Mayor Sefatia and members of SumCo eco contractors, NOAA, and the Mass Division of Marine Fisheries in attendance.

Tammy Cominelli (Gloucester Shellfish Warden), John Catena (NOAA Fisheries Restoration Center), Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, Anna Macan (NOAA Fisheries Communications), Jen Goebel (NOAA Fisheries Communcations), Max Schenk (City of Gloucester Health Department), Michael Pentony (NOAA Fisheries – Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator), and Travis Sumner (SumCo co-founder).

* Unfortunately, I did not get everyone’s name. Please let me know if you know the names of the gentleman in the far back row and the gentleman to the far right. Thank you!

Tammy Cominelli, Gloucester’s new Shellfish Warden, checking the water temperature.

*   *   *

In Massachusetts, the Alewife run between late March through May (when the water temperature is 51 degrees) and Blueback Herring run from late April through June (57 degrees); both species use the Little River to spawn at the freshwater Lily Pond.

The river herring begin their spring journey by swimming from the Atlantic Ocean, traveling through the Little River brackish, marshy basin.

Little River

River herring travel upstream to the little pool just below the Lily Pond, where they then swim up the new ladder, called an Alaskan sea pass, to spawn.

Here the adults will stay for about three to six weeks. Unlike salmon, which spawn and die, river herring that survive spawning take the return trip back to the sea.

Lily Pond snowy spring day

After the baby herring hatch, they live at the Lily Pond anywhere from one to three months. Once they have grown large enough, the young herring begin their journey to the Atlantic Ocean, first migrating down to the Little River basin, which is a mixture of both fresh and sea water, and then slowly out to the open sea to join large schools of Alewife and Blueback Herring.

River herring return to their home river to spawn once they become adults, in three to five years.

Little houseboat in the great frozen salt marsh #Gloucester MA

A photo journal after the storm documenting and comparing a few iconic and sweeping Gloucester vistas on January 7, 2018, when all was white ice frozen, and again after the Great Thaw on January 13 2018.

Gloucester Motif- the house boat in view just before the turn off at Nichols

Little house boat in the great frozen salt marsh - Gloucester MA January 7 2018 three days after historic winter storm © c ryan_095245

 

The Little House boat in the great frozen salt marsh reminded me of a mash up of two of Virginia Lee Burton’s children’s picture books inspired by Gloucester — Little House and Katy and the Big Snow. Here’s the little floating houseboat after the thaw at low tide January 13, 2018.

Little house boat in the great salt marsh - Gloucester MA January 13 2018 after thaw from historic winter storm © c ryan__133100

At high tide earlier in the day, January 13

Little house boat in the great salt marsh - Gloucester MA January 13 2018 after thaw from historic winter storm © c ryan__072700.jpg

Good Harbor Beach drive by three days after the storm

 

Good Harbor Beach salt marsh drive by one week after the storm and great thaw

 

Below the read more break: additional winter comparison photos (icebergs on the marsh by Lobster Land, Good Harbor Beach parking lot, Good Harbor Beach salt marsh, Stoney Cove pier at Little River & Annisquam River)

Continue reading “Little houseboat in the great frozen salt marsh #Gloucester MA”

GLORIOUS GLOUCESTER MORNING

All is well with Plover Families, on both the West and East sides of Gloucester!

Gloucester in the Boston Globe and at the Oscars: a win for Pratty’s and Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea

Meg Montagnino-Jarrett great job working with the filmmakers!

Pratty’s CAV bar

Kevin Cullen Boston Globe article.

kevin-cullen-boston-globe-pratty-manchester-by-the-sea

Another location from the film and winter, winter, winter

burst_cover_gif_action_20161219080600
Dec 19 2016

Author Deborah Cramer asks were there plentiful horseshoe crabs in Gloucester? Leads to Winslow Homer, John Bell, and Cher Ami

Deborah Cramer thanks Good Morning Gloucester for mentioning her book and asks for photographs and stories about horseshoe crabs, otherwise known as the nearly scene stealing co-stars from her inspiring book on red knots (sandpiper shorebirds), The Narrow Edge.

“I’m in the midst of a project right now trying to uncover the almost forgotten history of the whereabouts of horseshoe crabs in Gloucester.  I’ve heard some fantastic stories, like one from a man who used to go down to Lobster Cove after school and find horseshoe crabs so plentiful he could fill a dory. Do you think there’s a value to putting up a few pictures on GMG and asking people to send in their recollections of beaches, coves where they used to see them in abundance?”

We do. Please send in photos or stories if you have them about horseshoe crabs in Gloucester or the North Shore for Deborah Cramer’s project. Write in comments below and/or email cryan225@gmail.com

Here’s one data point. Look closely at this 1869 Winslow Homer painting. Can you spot the horseshoe crabs? Can you identify the rocks and beach?

Winslow Homer Rocky Coast and Gulls (manchester)
Winslow Homer, Rocky Coast and Gulls, 1869, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, installed in room #234 with so many other Homers (Fog Warning, All’s Well, Driftwood, …)
zoomed into horseshoe crabs (detail )
(zoomed into horseshoe crabs)

cr 2015 mfa

 

While reading The Narrow Edge, and looking at Kim Smith’s Piping Plover photographs, I thought about Raid on a Sand Swallow Colony (How Many Eggs?) 1873 by Homer and how some things change while much remains the same.When my sons were little, they were thrilled with the first 1/3 or so of Swiss Family Robinson.  As taken as they were with the family’s ingenuity, adventure, and tree house–they recoiled as page after page described a gorgeous new bird, promptly shot. They wouldn’t go for disturbing eggs in a wild habitat. The title ascribed to this Homer, perhaps the eager query from the clambering youngest boy, feels timeless. Was the boys’ precarious gathering sport, study, or food? What was common practice with swallows’ eggs in the 1860s and 70s? Homer’s birds are diminutive and active, but imprecise. Homer sometimes combined place, figures, subject and themes. One thing is clear: the composition, line and shadow are primed and effective for an engraving.

 

Homer watercolor 1873

Harper’s Weekly published the image on June 13, 1875. Artists often drew directly on the edge grain of boxwood and a master engraver (Lagrade in this case) removed the wood from pencil and wash lines.

Winslow Homer

 

2016. Wingaersheek dunes and nests 140+ years later.

20160703_053914-002

20160703_054035-001

Continue reading “Author Deborah Cramer asks were there plentiful horseshoe crabs in Gloucester? Leads to Winslow Homer, John Bell, and Cher Ami”

For Anyone That Doesn’t Think A Cell Tower In West Gloucester Is A Good Idea- Are You This Person?

image

From Gizmodo-

What’s The Strangest Thing You’ve Done to Get Cell Reception?

I’ll confess to standing outside on the furthest corner of a Lanai on my tippytoes holding my iPad over my head to try to upload a post to the blog.

Diabolical New Coyote Defense Technique For Deer

Adapt or Die Baby.  Flat Out One Of The Most Brilliant Defense Mechanisms On Display I’ve Ever Seen.

I don’t care how hungry that coyote is that’s creeping up on the deer.  Deer lets one rip like this and the pack of coyotes are like “We out man.  I don’t want any part of that stank ass!”  Diabolical!!!

I’m guessing that was a three day old chili fart.  Had to be right?  I just hope the deer had some toilet paper laying around so it could do a wipe check.  Don’t want any poop remnants that might have snuck out making your deer butt all stanky.  Gotta at least give it one or two test wipes to make sure it’s all clear back there.

That deer in West Gloucester that got surrounded by the coyotes last year could have learned a thing or two from farting deer.  Would have saved itself a whole lot of time and aggravation during the standoff.  Shoulda just let one rip and that pack of coyote would have high tailed it back to Canada STAT!

BTW this post is for new subscriber Bill.