The Luster Challenge: The Boulevard 1924 Re–Revisited

Fred Bodin writes-

Here is brand new Stacy Boulevard, as photographed by Gloucester’s Alice M. Curtis. In 1924 they called it the "Double Drive." I’ll bet it was the latest traffic technology, designed to move a lot of automobiles, as this was the only road onto Cape Ann at the time. The project took less than  two years to complete.



  • OK, some dates then a question.

    Joan of Arc Canonized in Rome 1920
    Joan of Arc Statue dedicated in Gloucester 1921
    Stacy Boulevard gets redone as a double barrel entrance to Gloucester 1924 (or was it earlier?)

    Question: So did someone entering Gloucester for the first time who wanted to get to the harbor cross the Cut Bridge, swing up Middle Street, go under the nose of Joanie and the Pony then take a right on Washington or did they go up Western then take a right on Angle the way everyone does now?

    Because if is the latter then the reason for Joanie pointing the way she does still doesn’t make much sense. Except without Rt 128 Washington Street might have been little used.


  • The photo I posted of the Boulevard on 1/21/13 for Mary White was captioned with a typewriter: “Where proposed Sea Wall is to be built. West. Ave Nov 21, 1922.” So I think 1924 might be right for completion of the Boulevard. The Man at the Wheel statue was commissioned in 1923 for Gloucester’s 300th anniversary, and erected in 1925. I don’t really know what roads carried traffic downtown.


  • Here’s the same view today. Pretty much the same.


  • Thanks Marty! Your photo highlights how much and how little things have changed. Utility poles – where’d they go? Fewer trees now, but more lighting than 1924, and the houses look the same. Sometimes I need to digest an image to figure out the back story. Mary White’s photo, which I linked to in Paul’s post above, shows a lot of trees at the shoreline. What Gloucester did was fill the harbor to build a road on the other side of the trees, thus not having to build two roads, preserving the trees and making a park-like mall in the middle. Sounds like a Frederick Law Olmsted type design to me. Stacy Boulevard made it possible to place memorials to honor our fishermen and their wives on the Harbor. Olmsted is a Gloucester name, and several are buried here.


    • One of the few areas that went underground , god knows why in the 21st Century we are still using poles in the inner city. There were lots of lights on the Boulevard spaced about the same as today: we’d play football between poles and broke a few lamp shades by miss kicks,loss a few footballs to trafic and high tides. And gave off little light compared to today. Grass has always been problematic growing because of salt. todays hardy.When I was a kid only Fisherman Memorial and outflow Graint monuments, water fountain and watering stations to get a drink of water on a hot day.


  • I just love the old photos! Fred has so many, have you ever thought of having a slide show of old photos at your shop??


  • Nice picture of the Elm trees that use to been on the boulevard when I was a kid, most died of Elm Disese Blight and some toppled over after storms. Samething happened all over Gloucester like the Elms on Dale Ave and Washington Street. Before Highway Bridge and section of 128 were completed my family travel to Boston by 127 or train or else by Boat ,That was it, not counting earlier the electric trolleys and before horse drawn trolleys. And Joan has been TRUNED around a few times; sometimes facing legion sometimes getting her rear end.I also remember cars could drive up to legion from Washington Street and take a right ,then left up Main Street for a while, and from Western Ave to across to Main or down fort and smaller Roger Street.The square intersection of Talley’s Mercury , Mobil,Shell and Sunoco Gas stations was all cobble stoned and slippy as hell when wet. Keep up with the great pictures and Gloucester’s history that they don’t teach in school anymore ,shame.


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