What if…a section of Dogtown brush was cleared away? If you missed Chris Leahy at Sawyer Free Library last week come to a summit by Essex County Greenbelt & Mass Audubon at Cape Ann Museum March 4

“This Saturday morning forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon and held at Cape Ann Museum. The forum will be moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association.”

Register here

UPDATE: Cape Ann TV is scheduled to film the event!

hopper-yale

Edward Hopper Cape Ann Pasture watercolor drawing (ca.1928) was gifted to Yale University in 1930

2

East Gloucester Atwood’s Gallery on the Moors as seen on the left in 1921–open vistas at that time

 

Chris Leahy gave a presentation at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library on February 23, 2017: Dogtown- the Biography of a Landscape: 750 Million Years Ago to the Present
A photographic history through slides presented by the Gloucester Lyceum and the Friends of the Library. Mary Weissblum opened the program.

Chris broadly covered the history of the local landscape from an ecological bent with a bias to birds and blueberry picking, naturally. New England is a patchwork of forested landscapes. He stressed the evolution of bio diversity and succession phenomenon when the earth and climate change. “Nature takes a lot of courses.” He focused on Dogtown, “a very special place”, and possible merits of land stewardship geared at fostering greater biodiversity. Perhaps some of the core acres could be coaxed to grasslands as when parts of Gloucester were described as moors? Characteristic wildlife, butterflies, and birds no longer present may swing back.  There were many philosophical takeaways and tips: he recommends visiting the dioramas “Changes in New England Landscape” display at Harvard Forest HQ in Petersham.

“Isolation of islands is a main driver of evolution”

“Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester has the highest concentration* of native butterflies in all of Massachusetts because of secondary habitats.”  *of Mass Audubon’s c.40,000 acres of wildlife sanctuaries statewide. “The fact that Brook Meadow Brook is in greater Worcester, rather than a forested wilderness, underscores the value of secondary habitats.”

“1830– roughly the time of Thoreau (1817-1862)– was the maximum period of clearing thus the heyday for grasslands…As farmsteads were abandoned, stages of forests return.”

Below are photos from February 23, 2017. I added some images of art inspired by Dogtown. I also pulled out a photograph by Frank L Cox, David Cox’s father, of Gallery on the Moors  (then) compared with a photo of mine from 2011 to illustrate how the picturesque description wasn’t isolated to Dogtown.

img_20170223_200058img_20170223_190206img_20170223_190350img_20170223_200204

hopper-2

Edward Hopper, Cape Ann Granite, 1928, oil on canvas can we get this painting into the Cape Ann Museum collection?

dogtown-cape-ann-massachuestts-by-louise-upton-brumback-o-c-vose-galleryLouise Upton Brumback (1867-1929), Dogtown- Cape Ann, 1920 oil on canvas

atwood-cox-gallery-on-the-moors-photo-1921

5 comments

  • I have many happy memories of rambling through Dogtown, picking blueberries, and the history of the area was fascinating. Wish I lived close enough for this presentation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for adding to the conversation. When were you picking blueberries there?

      Good news: Cape Ann TV will be filming this panel at Cape Ann Museum, as they do with many CAM events. We’ll make sure to post the link when it’s made available.

      Like

  • comments from FB reposting here

    REMEMBERING DOGTOWN AS CLEAR IN THE 50s
    Jay Butler commented Dogtown was so beautiful and open even in the 50s when I was a kid.

    A COMP IN MISSOURI
    Sara Golden remarked: Similar intentional clearing is taking place on the loess hills in Missouri, to restore original grasslands.

    BLUEBERRY QUESTION
    Robert Johnson Does anybody know why there isn’t any blueberrys anymore?

    Like

  • Walking through and exploring Dogtown is one of my favorite pastimes. I love the naturalness and sense of isolation, despite being in the middle of Cape Ann. We’re lucky to have such a great place in the middle of Cape Ann to relax, meditate, exercise, photograph, or to just sit and reflect, surrounded by beautiful nature.

    Like

  • Question: was Dogtown barren because (a) all the trees were cut down to build houses, or (b) the land was cleared to be pasture? Or both? If brush has grown back in, the land likely was wooded at an earlier time.

    Like

Leaving a comment rewards the author of this post- add to the discussion here-

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s