Category Archives: Gloucester History
Main Street, Rockport, circa 1898. Poole’s Drug Store is on the left, and Rockport’s first school house, circa 1790, is on the right. The team of horses in the background is most likely a wooden wedge-plow or a weighted wooden platform to compress the snow.
Forty six years ago, almost to the day, the Blizzard of 1969 visited us. It dropped a mere 20 inches of snow. This is Gloucester’s DPW yard on Poplar Street, with National Guard and police vehicles in the yard and on the street. I think I see an armored personnel carrier on the right. The so-called “Lindsay Blizzard” killed 94 people. Mother Nature has a way of repeating herself, as does history.
Bing McGilvray shares from the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery website:
“The son of middle-class Philadelphia parents who valued education and the arts, Allan Randall Freelon, Sr. (1895-1960) became the first African American artist to receive a four-year scholarship in 1912 to attend the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master of fine arts degree from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Freelon served as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I before joining the faculty of the Philadelphia Board of Education in 1919 as an instructor. He was appointed Art Supervisor for elementary and then secondary education, a position he held until his retirement. While working in the Philadelphia education system, Freelon continued to pursue a career as an artist in his own right. In 1921, he had his first solo exhibition, at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library and that same year, he became the first African American member of the Philadelphia Print Club.
During a two-year course of study at the Barnes Foundation (1927-1929), he became well versed in the paintings of Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and French Impressionism. He studied with Emile Gruppe and Hughe Breckenridge and worked with two of the best Philadelphia printmakers Dox Thrash and Earl Horter. His work caught the attention of the Harmon Foundation and was included in the famous 1929 traveling exhibition of works by black artists.
In the late 1920s, he began to summer in Gloucester, Massachusetts, a seaside New England artistic community where he completed luminous landscapes that echoed his impressionistic tendencies.
In 1935, Freelon participated in the NAACP organized exhibition, Art Commentary on Lynching. His piece, Barbecue – American Style, depicted a crowd watching a black man being burned to death. Such a graphic depiction of violence was a departure for Freelon who was labeled a “traditionalist” by Alain Locke.
Throughout his life, Freelon enjoyed a stable career as a regional painter but in recent years, with the support of a traveling exhibition organized by North Carolina Central University Art Museum, his work has attracted a more national audience.”
Good morning, Joey,
Attached photo is one I’ve been searching for for three years and finally found it yesterday.
It was taken in 1923 at Coast Guard Base #7 in Gloucester. It shows 9 of the then new 75’ Coast Guard Patrol Boats (and a couple smaller older boats.
Those boats were assigned along the coast to chase and interdict the rum-rummers during Prohibition. Over 200 were built and assigned to CG stations on both coasts and later as Coast Guard and Navy patrol craft during WW-II. Photo credit, Library of Commerce.
I’m currently working on a painting which shows Bill (the real ) McCoy’s rum-runners Arethusa, a/k/a Tomoka jogging on Rum-Row off the New York-New Jersey coast under the watchful eye of one of these, CG-153. Hope you can use it.
Alice Curtis made this selfie in her bedroom mirror about 75 years ago. It probably wasn’t Gloucester’s first selfie, but I’ve never seen an older one. Today’s selfie is defined as taken with the photographer’s arm, and no mirror, tripod, or self timer used. Some say a cell phone camera must be used. I say hogwash, and enjoy the photographer who made 7,000 of my historic negatives. Alice was a pioneer in many ways.
Thirty five and some years later, about 1975, I photographed my maternal grandmother, Jennie Lee (Mitchell) Scales reflected in her bedroom dresser mirror. I think the comparison of the two photos is amazing.
Chalk up another successful Community event in my gallery. In addition to mural artist Tricia O’Neill, mural subject Vincent Ferrini’s nephew Henry Ferrini was there and spoke to the audience of about forty. After the speeches, the group walked down to see Tricia’s mural. I’d say this was a “win-win” for all.
Ambie is enjoying his retirement from UPS, selling his sausage, and doing a little lobstering, and spending time with his family.
Harbor Tours provides a tour of six Lighthouse tour on Cape Ann, (Ten Pound Island, Eastern Point, Straitsmouth, Thacher and Annisquam Lighthouses). The tour is far more; it is narrated by Captain Donald Steele; who gives the history of Cape Ann and the many points of interest; you seethe many islands along the coast line, local and private beaches, and some celebrities’ homes along the shore. As a Gloucester native he tells stories of the many storms, that occurred along the rough coast line of Cape Ann.
The tour is a must for locals and Gloucester visitors. In the slideshow you will see the many delighted faces of people on the tour that I went on this past weekend.
For anyone who has grown up in or around Gloucester, the St. Peter’s Fiesta has clearly served as the true kick-off to summer. But, it is much more than that. The funny thing is that the importance and significance of Fiesta has probably also changed throughout each individual’s life time depending on their age. At times the religious celebrations have been of upmost importance… and later the rides. At times maybe the five day celebration was all about family… and later it was all about hanging out with friends. At times it was about hoping to get a glimpse of that certain “crush” under the ferris wheel and years later it was all about air guitar at Old Timers or trying to cut in line at The Gloucester House. Still later, possibly you’ve come full circle, and celebrating with loved ones makes the Fiesta a time to truly be treasured. At times the parade reigned supreme….and later, maybe the fireworks. For many years playing on the beach during the seine boat races was more fun than actually watching them….and later cheering for a certain crew was equivalent to the Kentucky Derby. The Greasy Pole has always been….well, the Greasy Pole. Whether you love it for the tradition or the insanity, the sport or the absurdity….whether you watch it from Pavilion Beach or by boat in the harbor…there is nothing quite like it.
I’ve been there for all of them. I have fond memories of the Fiesta that range from being a very young child, to a preteen, to a teenager, to a college student, to a bar-crawling 20 something year-old, to a “grown-up”, and now as a parent….who feels blessed to be sharing the experience with my own children. I have Fiesta memories that involve holding my grandfather’s hand as he guided me through the crowd and later memories of holding his hand as I supported him. I have Fiesta memories of holding the hand of long ago boyfriends and later Fiesta memories of holding the hand of my now husband. Maybe the best memories are the newest….as just today, I held the hands of both of my sons while jumping from ride to ride.
So, as the mother of a 5 and 7 year-old, St. Peter’s Fiesta to me so far this year has been all about the rides, the games, and the food. It is all about the color, the sounds, the smells…and the way they all seem to blur together. While I may have desired to capture other aspects of this year’s Fiesta and I would love to get that “perfect shot”…..I have found myself enjoying it through my children’s eyes.
And this is how they see it.
Part Two of My Article for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism Featuring Gloucester’s HarborTown Cultural District
Friday was an especially terrific day for me as my article for Cape Ann Magazine hit the newsstands and later in the day, I learned that part two of my article for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, “Gloucester Harbortown Cultural District,” was posted on the MOTT blog, Mass Finds.
I was completely taken by surprise that my photo was chosen for the cover of Cape Ann Magazine and just happened to be in Joey’s office down at the dock when Andrea Holdbook, CAMag’s editor-in-chief posted on goolge that the summer issue had hit the stands. It was especially fun to share the news with Joey because he provides a tremendous forum here on GMG highlighting all the good happenings and events in our community, and because he is so supportive towards all his contributors.
Yesterday I posted an excerpt from Cape Ann Magazine’s “Cape Ann to Mexico: The Monarch Butterfly Connection,” and the following is an excerpt from the MOTT article. Please share with your friends. Thank you! Part One is posted here.
Gloucester HarborTown Cultural District
By Kim Smith
The last days of winter and first days of spring herald the beginning of the nine-day novena leading up to the Feast of St. Joseph, which always takes place on March 19th. With its thriving Sicilian American community, Gloucester is one of only a handful of American cities that celebrates the Feast of San Giuseppe with traditional Sicilian customs. Homes are decorated with altars devoted to the patron saint of the poor and orphaned, and a special trolley takes everyone who is interested around the city to view the altars of San Giuseppe. Special Saint Joseph bread, oranges, and lemons are given to all who come, while everyone eagerly anticipates the coming feast day.
Summertime is Gloucester’s high season. The city is alive with nightly live music, an embarrassment of riches in fabulous restaurants, and bustling shops and galleries. On specially designated nights, Main Street is closed to traffic and the entire town becomes one giant block party. Restaurants open onto the street, merchant booths appear, shops have special offerings, and there are street performers and family-friendly activities at every corner.
Bill and Mayor Carolyn Kirk Family and Friends at the Block Party
In August the tall ships arrive from around the world to participate in Gloucester’s Schooner Festival. “Le Beauport,” Gloucester’s beautiful working harbor, is the backdrop for the races and parades of these magnificent traditional fishing vessels designed during the age of sail. The afternoon lobster bake, nighttime nautical Parade of Lights, and fireworks that brilliantly illuminate the harbor are just some of the fun family-friendly activities that take place during the three-day long Schooner Festival.
George and Charles Ryan at the First Annual Schooner Festival Lobster Bake
Don’t miss the opportunity to take a sunset tour of Gloucester Harbor aboard one of the exquisite schooners built by the living legendary ship builder and National Heritage fellow, Harold Burnham, on either the 65-foot Thomas E. Lannon with Captain Tom Ellis or the Pinky Schooner, operated out of Maritime Gloucester.
My favorite event of the summer is the annual St. Peter’s Fiesta, with both its deeply religious aspect of honoring St. Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, and the jubilant festivities that take place throughout the city during the five-day celebration. Read More Here.