Tag Archives: DPW

Reminder, Spring Household Hazardous Waste Day, April 14, 2018

Spring Household Hazardous Waste Day – April 14, 2018

This year our Spring Household Hazardous Waste Event will be April 14, 2018, rain or shine, from 9am-12 noon.  Residents are asked to schedule an appointment to bring their materials to the DPW yard.  The Recycling Department will begin accepting appointments beginning March 15th.  Please call 978-281-9785 to schedule your appointment. Registration closes April 13, 2018 at 11 AM.

Gloucester residents are allowed to bring up to 25 pound or gallons of material at no cost.  If you exceed 25 pounds or gallons, and additional fee will be accessed and payable to ACV Enviro(payable by check only, cash is not accepted).  For up to 10 gallons or pounds over it is $30, 11-25 gallons or pounds over the charge is $50.00.

Please understand that we can only accept hazardous materials when ACV Enviro is on site, early drop offs will not be allowed.

Acceptable Materials

From the House:

  •  Rubber Cement, Airplane Glue
  •  Fiberglass Resins
  •  Photo Chemicals
  •  Chemistry Sets
  •  Furniture Polish
  •  Floor & Metal Polish
  •  Oven Cleaner
  •  Fluorescent Bulbs
  •  Mercury bearing wastes
  •  Drain & Toilet Cleaner
  •  Spot Remover
  •  Rug & Upholstery Cleaner
  •  Hobby Supplies, Artist Supplies


From the Yard:

  •   Poisons, Insecticides, Fungicides
  •   Chemical Fertilizers
  •   Weed Killers
  •   Moth Balls
  •   Flea Control Products

From the Workbench:

  • Oil Based Paints ONLY
  • Stains & Varnishes
  • Wood Preservatives (except Penta)
  • Paint Strippers/Thinners
  • Solvent Adhesives
  • Lighter Fluid


From the Garage:

  • Fuels/Gasoline/Kerosene
  • Motor oil
  • Car batteries
  • Antifreeze
  • Engine Degreaser
  • Brake Fluid/Carburetor Cleaner
  • Transmission Fluid
  • Car Wax, Polishes
  • Driveway Sealer
  • Roofing Tar
  • Swimming Pool Chemicals
Unacceptable Materials

What Not To Bring!

  • LATEX PAINT (pop lid, let dry, throw in trash)
  •  Empty Containers/Trash
  • Commercial or Industrial Waste
  • Radioactive Waste, Smoke Detectors
  • Infectious & Biological Wastes
  • Compressed Gas Cylinders (other than propane)
  • Ammunition, Fireworks, Explosives, Flares
  •  Fire Extinguishers
  •  Prescription Medicines/Syringes
  • Asbestos

How Can I Safely Transport These Hazardous Materials?

  • Leaving materials in original containers.
  • Tighten Caps and lids.
  • Sort and pack separately: oil  paint, pesticides,and household cleaners.
  • Pack containers in sturdy upright boxes and
  • pad with newspaper.
  • NEVER MIX CHEMICALS.
  • Pack your car and drive directly to the site.
  • NEVER SMOKE while handling hazardous material.

Larry O’Toole Amazing map and Historic murals at O’Maley School #GloucesterMA

Five monumental Larry O'Toole paintings circa 1948- reinstalled O'Maley School circa 1971 - Gloucester MA DPW crew Mike Hale, Joe Lucido, Phil Curcuru, Mike, and John inspecting 2018 wit

photo above- Five monumental Larry O’Toole (1909-1951) paintings circa 1948 were rescued and reinstalled O’Maley School circa 1982. Gloucester MA excellent DPW crew Mike Hale, Joe Lucido, Phil Curcuru, Mike, and John inspecting 2018 with ©c ryan.  Thank you DPW! City art is routinely checked. Photo by Phil Curcuru below- note the artist’s distinct “L” signature

Larry O'Toole signature photo by Phil Curcuru Gloucester MA DPW  #5 installed at O'Maley painting pre dates 1951.jpg

If you haven’t seen the series of five murals painted circa 1945 by fine artist and muralist, Larry O’Toole (1909-1951), that were rescued and installed (decades ago) at O’Maley Innovation Middle School, perhaps you’ve noticed a poster of his brilliant pictorial map around Cape Ann.

O’Toole published editions of the map in 1947 and 1948. Reproductions of “A Salty Map of Cape Ann: Gloucester-Magnolia-Rockport-Pigeon Cove-Lanesville-Bay View-Annisquam” the 1948 blue version are available at Cape Ann Museum shop.  The delightful map includes inventive and intricate details and local nods: a shout out to Ben Pine’s* wharf, “All maps like this have a sea serpent;” schooners like the Henry Ford and Gertrude Thebaud (again Pine); historic sites and characteristic scenes not to miss “Artists and Seagulls”; and upcoming landmarks to look forward to like the Annisquam Bridge slated for completion in 1950. The numbered border framing elements could have been inspired by Virginia Lee Burton.close up zoomable map (sold) can be found here 

 

Gloucester, Massachusetts Capt. Ben Pine, the man who raced the schooner Gertrude Thebaud against the Canadian schooner Blue Nose for the fisherman trophy, one of the three men who made

Ben Pine office, 1941, Howard Liberman FSA/OWI photograph

Ben Pine* portrait by FSA/OWI photographer, Howard Liberman, titled “Gloucester, Massachusetts. Capt. Ben Pine, the man who raced the schooner “Gertrude Thebaud” against the Canadian schooner “Blue Nose” for the fisherman’s trophy, is one of the three men who made Gloucester. The others were Tom Carrol and Ray Adams.” (author’s note: Ray Adams was a gal so the compliment is for two men and one woman…).

Art can be seen on the walls throughout the Gloucester Mariner’s Association in Howard Liberman’s faint photos from 1941. I’m looking for more interior shots. Some of the art could be O’Toole’s, who completed commissions for Pine.

Carved fish models at the Gloucester’s Mariners Association (Fishermen’s Institute)

Howard Liberman FSA photo Gloucester Mariners Association.jpg

 

Summer Beach Traffic and Parking Part 2 – high tech and common sense Good Harbor Beach, Long Beach, Stage Fort, Great Marsh

This is a follow up about the public meeting held by Gloucester City Councilor Scott Memhard February 15, 2018 at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library on beach traffic and parking with a focus on his ward. This post includes Councilor Memhard’s meeting notes, and the Beach & Traffic Ad Hoc committee presentation to City Council. Look for information and maps related to Long Beach, Good Harbor Beach, Stage Fort Park, and more. Chances are your ideas or concerns were mentioned–doublecheck for yourself. Future public meetings to be announced.

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Here’s the presentation packet to the City Council from the Gloucester Beach Parking and Traffic Ad Hoc Committee, January 2017

Here’s Councilor Memhard’s recap of the Summer Beach and Traffic public meeting held at Sawyer Free Library February 16, 2018 (advertised in the Beacon, Gloucester Daily Times, and elsewhere long in advance):

“The Ward 1 Beach Parking Ordinance community meeting last night at the library was well attended. We had a lively airing of concerns and opinions, addressing the specific Parking Ordinance proposed changes, and general, wide-ranging discussion of the problem and various potential solutions, including:

> expanded off-site parking* and trolly/bus service to the beaches;
> better signage notifying drivers that lots are full and closed, with posted directions to alternate parking options; and
> other practical steps to relieve severe safely, access, and disruption from on-street parking congestion in our beach neighborhoods.

*park n ride options would ease traffic especially with smartphone reservations/options. Locales like Rockport, Manchester, Provincetown limit cars. Several lots mentioned maximizing extant options such as negotiating with Stop&Shop, Shaws, Fuller, Blackburn, schools, etc. Stage Fort Shuttle already established and more train/bike. Train-trolley services have a rich history here.

ENFORCEMENT, HIGHER PARKING TICKETS, JULIE BROE 🙂

Read more

storm clean up | Gloucester Stacy Boulevard promendade paths are ready for you!

The sidewalk path is plowed, and the oceanside parallel path is nearly completed.  Gloucester DPW says they’ll “have 6-8 Bobcats with snowplows running all weekend–city’s and city contractors.” I’m sure there’s still much to happen and clear. Still, isn’t it amazing how many roads are spic and span, and that trash pick up was just one day held off?

CLEAN UP AFTER STORM Stacy Boulevard sidewalk snow plow on ocean path-dogwalker out and about didnt miss a beat GLOUCESTER MA IMG_20180106_105912

CLEAN UP AFTER STORM Stacy Boulevard sidewalk snow plow on ocean path GLOUCESTER MA.jpg

CLEAN UP AFTER STORM Stacy Boulevard sidewalk snow plow two walking paths GLOUCESTER MA IMG_20180106_110028

old lights baby bye bye bye| 6 of Gloucester’s new city lights are being installed on Main Street

They should be up and running today! Look for more later this summer and into the Fall.

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Tall industrial street lamps are being switched out to match the period lights, while extant lights will be retrofitted.

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Before  (June) / After (today)

prior post announcing New lights coming to Main Street 

bye bye bye img_20170613_110303

THANK YOU JOE LUCIDO!

Huge shout out to Joe Lucido, Mike Hale, and the entire crew that make up the departments of public works and services for the City of Gloucester. Please thank these gentlemen next time you see them. Hard working guys that they are, they have added plover helpers to their long list of responsibilities, and all have lent a hand in helping Gloucester’s Piping Plovers succeed.

Joe heard about the dog owner trouble yesterday and stopped by early, early this morning to help monitor the situation, as well as check on the new weekend trash barrels.

Thanks so much to Joe and Mike and their crews for all that they are doing to help keep our city looking its best, mostly for people, but their efforts tremendously help the Plovers, too.

I took this snapshot of the trash barrels late yesterday afternoon, Sunday, after one of the busiest beach days of the summer. No trash spilling out! So far so good with the updated Carry In/Carry Out-Trash Barrel Plan.

Update: DPW barrels at beach paths, construction by the Good Harbor Beach footbridge, and the creek is OPEN

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CONSTRUCTION BY THE FOOT BRIDGE

Gloucester Department of Public Works (DPW) is clearing out and revamping a little overgrown corner by the scenic footbridge. Pretty much everything that was there is returning: the bench, bike racks, sign, and 1 trash barrel. Weeds will be cleared out. The rotting sign is being replaced and relocated by the tree and perpendicular to the road so as to be readable and preserve view shed. DPW is installing a foot wash which has been a request for a number of years, a tiny water tap off the water main and regulated with a meter. The recent “paving was just an overlay to address a series of potholes.” They’re repairing some broken sidewalk panels, too.

 

DPW TRASH BARRELS AT BEACH PATHS are “pretty much a weekend thing only”

TRASH BARRELS ON THE WEEKENDS – Now you’ll see them

TRASH BARRELS DURING THE WEEK – Now you won’t

There will be pairs of barrels at the beach paths on Gloucester’s two biggest beaches– Good Harbor and Wingaersheek– on weekends as a trial experiment. The barrels will be emptied including a late evening sweep to ensure they’re not left overflowing through the night. It’s a combo option of  carry in / carry out with carry in / carry off, because the former works well for most people, not all.

What did DPW find this past weekend?

The barrels were full both days. It was less messy than some of the previous busy weekends. There was lots of dog waste.  By morning, they found that there was still trash left in the parking lot which means…

Some beach goers disregard all options: carry in /carry out policy, new blue plastic bags, new barrel pairs at the paths, even a dumpster they walked by behind the concession stand. Oh, and there’s the dog waste despite the No Dog May-October ordinance.

Of course, the litter is not just at beaches. Yes, it detracts from other priorities. DPW is finding trash pretty much everywhere people park (like the boat ramps.) Some people feel that it’s ok to leave behind bags of trash outside where they parked, or next to a full barrel. Gentle reminder from DPW: Pizza to go boxes atop the barrels can block bins that may hold more. Pizza boxes need to be compacted.

prior post Both/And : Carry In Carry Out and new trash barrels at Good Harbor Beach paths

GHB parking lot clean as a whistle after busy weekend

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pedestrian bridge? clean as a whistle? not so much and yet so  –keeping it positive–the beach was jam packed yesterday!

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other: Creek opened Monday (board of health, not DPW)

Water Gloucester beaches 

Water Rockport beaches

new testing methods on the horizon

Awesome City DPW work on Maplewood

What’s happening on Maplewood? Much of it is underground. Orchestrated crews are working on a huge project in a neighborhood that has been neglected for some time.

FAST STATS

Status: in progress

The work includes 4000 feet road resurfacing (July) and nearly 5000 feet of new sidewalk (both sides). DPW is working to make improvements to utilities as well: all new water services, a series of valves and some drain work. “National Grid is also replacing some aging gas mains and services.” 
Progress June 2017: nearing finish line
Project start: partial sidewalk begun last year
Funding Awarded: FY2017-18

  • from State: Balance of about $600,000K Chapter 90 funds
  • from City: $100,000K from CDBG and Community Development

Contract completion: part of City’s annual paving bid and on schedule.
Locations: downtown Maplewood Avenue. This work dovetails with larger water work “bid and awarded to Granese of Salem. They worked on the right hand side of Washington Street all spring (Riverside, Gloucester Ave, Whittemore and now moving to Grove and Derby see photo today) cleaning and lining water mains.”
Priority: Top Level! Mayor’s Office considers infrastructure and safety improvements a priority and walkability adding into quality of life benefits for residents, visitors and economy.
Upcoming streetscape work– Middle Street

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GAS LINES

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DRAINS

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WATER

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new City lights coming to Main Street

So long 6 silver aluminum lights on Main Street. The industrial street lamps are being replaced later this month with the same design as the ones installed on the Boulevard.

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Eventually DPW will replace the Main Street period lights, too. This one has earned a distinction of most odd one out for a while!

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The replacement of Roger Street lights will be scheduled sometime even further out.

GLOUCESTER’S AWESOME DPW HARD AT WORK AND ON THE JOB!

Phil Curcuru shares that a new and improved boardwalk is being installed this week at Good Harbor Beach at the #2 location, directly in front of the snack bar. The boardwalk will be wide enough to be handicap accessible.

Thank you Phil and Mike, and thank you to the Gloucester DPW for the tremendous job they do maintaining Good Harbor, and all of Gloucester’s public beaches, throughout the year.

Stacy Boulevard Part 7: expanded garden plans Tulip Fest May 6

IMG_20170504_052040Saturday May 6, 2017 is the official ribbon cutting re-opening of Stacy Boulevard by Mayor Romeo Theken. Thanks to the Mayor, Mike Hale and all Gloucester DPW, GZA, Essex County Landscape Assoc, Gloucester Community Preservation Act, Ann Giraldi Johnson, GFWA, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and groups like the Seaport Economic Council and Dir Carolyn Kirk, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Joe Lucido, Ed Parks, Mike Linquata, Donna Ardizzoni and One Hour at a Time Gang, Ringo Tarr, Bobbie Turner, YMCA and summer help, Wolf Hill, Generous Gardeners, and other volunteers!

Tulip Festival and bonnet parade Saturday 10AM

Ribbon Cutting 11:30AM

Party at Mile Marker Restaurant 6-10PM

Enjoy a closer look at the engineering and landscape plans for the expanded gardens and before/after comparisons.

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Stacy expanded gardens

IMG_20170503_151327  Read more

Stacy Boulevard construction Part 5: rounded a big corner and an angle of repose

 

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INVISIBLE DETAILS UNDERFOOT AND RIGHT THERE

Earlier posts outline the engineering. The photograph above details the subgrade that was re-established for irrigation (note ditch alongside walkway), loam and sod. The photo also emphasizes the lengthy short wall on the right which was removed for access during construction. “The excavation was deep enough that the angle of repose was into the old wall.” The wall in the photo is rebuilt.

 

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MEMORIAL BENCHES

Spacing and symmetry were important design considerations for Stacy Boulevard construction. The old benches were surveyed. Most were returned relative to where they were sited before the build out. The memorial benches on the boulevard are full. This one shows a tribute to Al Swelka.

 

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Photos Nov-Dec 2016. Video caption: Stacy Boulevard construction minute – stroll before January, and sod.  Upcoming posts in this Stacy Boulevard series include: disasters, the cultural landscape, and Blynman. 

Series:

Part 4 – Gloucester’s majestic public works construction stats: bringing the plans to life 

Part 3- Gloucester’s boulevard public works construction Part 3: compare high res plans from 1922 and 1923 with today

Part 2: Boulevard Public Works stunner | Gloucester is an early client for the Harvard and Olmsted trained landscape designer, Thomas Warren Sears. His 1908 photos are a must see!

STACY BOULEVARD NEARING THE FINISH LINE Part 1 – 

September 12 2016- Stacy Boulevard construction update: historic Blynman the Cut Bridge project scope plans and engineering details

August 2016 

SCENES FROM O’MALEY: EXPLORING MASS IN MOTION SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL WALKING PRIORITIES. CUE GMG POLL

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photo L-R: Principal Debra Lucey; Steven Winslow Community Development; Val Gilman Ward 4 City Councilor 

Thirty people came together in the beautiful library at O’Maley for a public meeting concerning safer walking on nearby streets. The meeting was presented by Ward 4 Councilor Val Gilman and Mayor Romeo Theken. Read prior post with announcement details. Steve Winslow from Community Development gave a presentation before a crowd of residents, mostly from the neighborhood with a smattering of O’Maley parents. O’Maley’s terrific Principal, Debra Lucey, participated.

Winslow explained that he and Principal Lucey worked on the crux of the issues back in 2012 through a “Safe Routes to School” planning study. Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School are implemented by MassDOT (Massachusetts Department of Transportation). Principal Lucey, a Lanesville resident, drives to school via Reynard Street, arguably the route most discussed as being problematic at this particular meeting. People are driving too fast on Cherry Street.

Nothing is final and the discussion was open. Attendees were encouraged to put a sticker by projects they wanted to prioritize and/or take off the table. What three would you tick?

Lucey and her husband relocated to Gloucester because of the O’Maley job and a sweet connection with Gloucester. She and her husband had their first date here: Good Harbor Beach and dinner at the Rudder!

Massdot

Massdot Complete Streets funding portal

MA Public Health Association complete streets 

massDOT omaley safe routes complete streets

Gloucester majestic Boulevard construction Part 4: public works bringing the plans to life

FAST STATS

Contractor: Newport, Nashua, NH, Brian McCabe is the Project Manager
Status: in progress
Progress April 2017: nearing finish line
Project start (historic): pre 1900
Modern project start: 1999
Funding Awarded: 2013

  • from State: $5,600,000 Seaport Advisory Council
  • from City: $1,120,000 + contingencies
  • Funding in place: 2015
  • Gloucester seawall grants over the last 18 years include: Cripple cove/ Robinsons landing; small sea wall by beacon marine and pirates lane; fort square; Stacy (Stage Fort through Blynman); plus emergency work on Blynman collapse

Bid Open and contract amount: 2/24/15 approx $7 million
Contract completion: on schedule, estimated spring 2017
Locations: Stacy Boulevard and Blynman
Priority: Top Level! Unique and exceptional project– Mayor’s Office considers seawall boulevard a priority necessity, for safety, a centuries infrastructure project with immeasurable quality of life benefits for residents and visitors and essential to economy
Temporary work site chain link fence: Required. The chain link fence is installed by the contractor to protect the work zone and define it better.
Tender house at Blynman and bridge: These are State not city/DPW purview. The new bridge house is temporary (thankfully). The entire bridge needs to be replaced and when it is a new tender’s house will be constructed. I will write more about the bridge house and Blynman in other posts.
Local jobs scroll below

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photo above: fencing subcontractor on a beautiful work site readying for railing. Railing required diamond coring like old granite quarrying. Stacy Boulevard December 2016. 

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photo caption: Railing! 2000 feet of new galvanized railing. (The replaced railing was not galvanized. DPW replaces railing: it’s simply a matter of funding.)

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photo caption: Alex Karp – GZA Field Engineer Boulevard construction. The GZA company acquired (David) Vine Associates. GZA is the design engineer for the boulevard project.  David Smith at GZA (formerly Vine) has worked with Gloucester since 1999. 

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photo caption: Gloucester’s DPW construction along the Boulevard

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photo caption: CAP STONE! It’s more than decorative. It has two exposed sides that need to be trimmed to look perfect. Mike Hale, Boulevard construction, November (of course note beard) 2016

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photo caption: Stacy Boulevard contruction capstone and harbor

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photo CAPtion!: Stacy Boulevard dazzling dizzying scope of ocean and capstone as far as the eye can see

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photo caption: Mike Hale with Brian McCabe, Project Manager, Newport construction, November 2016, Gloucester Boulevard

LOCAL JOBS

Along with the Mayor’s office and current administration, Gloucester’s DPW and Newport Construction work with subcontractors including local ones such as:

GZA – national with corporate headquarters in Norwood, MA – Engineering

Gloucester Transit Mix Concrete, Gloucester, MA,  – huge part of project!

Cape Ann Stone, Rockport, MA, Bruce Johnson (owner) – granite

MBT Electricians, Gloucester, MA –  electrical and lighting

Essex County Landscaping, Gloucester, MA, J D Aspesi (owner) – irrigation and sod

Anne Gilardi Johnson –  additional new gardens, site and landscape design for the Boulevard (building upon the successful Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial)– Johnson , a Gloucester native and multi award winning landscape architect, was commissioned by the Fishermen’s Wive Memorial board back in 2000 to design the landscape for Morgan Faulds Pike bronze sculpture, dedicated August 2001. “A series of design plans, and finally a study model, was produced as part of an interactive process between the designer, sculptor, and the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association.” Johnson is a member of the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (largest chapter of the national organization), “known for her design of urban spaces including parks, playgrounds, memorials and streetscapes in Boston,” Worcester, and Gloucester. Her award winning designs include Boston’s (James) Hayes and Childe Hassam Parks in the South End. Generous Gardeners is planting the new beds on the Boulevard: thousands of tulip and daffodil bulbs were planted by many volunteers last fall to bloom this spring!

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some prior posts:

April 2017 Part 3- Gloucester’s boulevard public works construction Part 3: compare high res plans from 1922 and 1923 with today

April 2017 Part 2: Boulevard Public Works stunner | Gloucester is an early client for the Harvard and Olmsted trained landscape designer, Thomas Warren Sears. His 1908 photos are a must see!

April 2017 nearing the finish line Part 1- 

September 12 2016- Stacy Boulevard construction update: historic Blynman the Cut Bridge project scope plans and engineering details

August 2016 

Gloucester’s boulevard public works construction Part 3: compare high res plans from 1922 and 1923 with today

Here are the original 1922 and 1923 plans from the Gloucester DPW archives for close inspection:

Gloucester MA DPW archives Proposed Sea Wall 19224 MB Gloucester MA DPW archives Western Avenue Highway 1923

The Gloucester Daily Times published a construction status for the Western Avenue Project on June 5, 1923. Necessary delays were explained and some of the work would not be ready for Gloucester’s tercentenary celebration. The column indicates that the bridge house would be moved across the street–which didn’t happen then, but is happening in 2017– and mentions the state’s involvement.

“Work on Sea Wall Completed”- June 5 1923 update

Work on the construction of the new Western avenue seawall as far as the state is concerned, is practically completed and the lighters which for several months past have afforded great interest in many spectators have been withdrawn from the job…

On the western end of the park, the wall which held up the little park known as Marine Park is being capped with a four-foot cement topping, to bring it level to and joined with the new wall just completed from that point easterly toward Morgan’s store

Although hopes had been held out that the entire boulevard could be completed in time for the celebration, doubts are expressed now if this can be brought to a conclusion because of the large amount of work to be done, such as filling in behind the wall just erected, and the laying out of the street. Before the street can be laid out, time must be allowed for the settling of the rock filling, thousands of tons of which are to be dumped behind the wall, and this, it is now believed by those in charge, will not be ready for surfacing until spring (1924) at the least.

The bridge-house and the small shed alongside of it are scheduled to be moved to the other side of the street so that an unobstructed view of the boulevard from The Tavern to…

 

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Boulevard Public Works stunner | Gloucester is an early client for the Harvard and Olmsted trained landscape designer Thomas Warren Sears. His 1908 photos are a must see! Part 2

 

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The Gloucester Daily Times published this image in 1923 with the photo caption: “Now Under Construction on the Southern Side of Western Avenue, this Project When Completed Will Give Gloucester one of the Finest Approaches of Any City on the Atlantic Seaboard.”  The meticulously hand drawn credit within the drawing itself caught my eye as much as the drawing: “Proposed Treatment of Waterfront, Gloucester, Mass. Thomas W. Sears Landscape Architect, Providence RI”. Thomas W. Sears was a remarkable 20th Century landscape designer. The modern Boulevard work completed in 2014-17 gracefully carries out and returns to the original dreams for the Western Avenue highway and park that are more than a century in the making.

 

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photo caption: Boulevard construction progress © Catherine Ryan, December 2016 

Thomas Warren Sears (1880-1966) preliminary designs for Gloucester’s future Boulevard

Thomas Warren Sears was born in 1880 in Brookline, Massachusetts, and grew up in this modest family abode at the corner of Beacon and Charles Street. This black and white house portrait was shot in 1897.

1897 Thomas William Sears the Sears family home Brookline corner of Beacon and charles streets

Here’s a Google street view photo for comparison today.

google earth brookline sears family home

 

After being ousted from the New York City parks department, the ‘father of American landscape design’, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), launched his business a ten minute walk from the Sears family home.  The headquarters at 99 Warren Street was named “Fairsted” and was in operation until 1979 when it was declared a National Historic Site and transferred to the National Parks.

 

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photo caption: Frederick Law Olmsted Fairsted  © Jack Boucher, Library of Congress collection

Sears worked for the Olmsted Brothers immediately after receiving two degrees from Harvard– his BA in 1903 and his BS in 1906. (There may have been an earlier Brookline connection.) Rather quickly Sears left to set up his own firm: first in Providence, RI, when he did work for Gloucester’s Boulevard, and not long after in Philadelphia. In 1911 he gave a talk for the Proceedings of the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia 28 (April 1911):147-158., “The Functions of the Landscape Architect in Connection with the Improvement of a City” available online as part of an urban planning anthology compiled by John W. Reps, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University.  I wonder if he shared his Gloucester photographs as part of his talk?

“There are two main approaches to cities: (1) On water by boat, and (2) on land by railroad. Along both of these lines of approach land should be taken for public use, and for very different reasons. Take first the use of water fronts: Unless some provision is made for the public, the whole water front, whether it be river or harbor, may be usurped by commercial enterprise and the public deprived of ever seeing the water except when aboard a boat. In certain cases, as in New York, where the water front must of necessity be utilised for dockage, a combination of commercial and public use may be successfully employed. There the docks are owned by the city and leased by the steamship companies; in this way their appearance can be controlled. At present it is planned to build on the tops of these docks huge recreation parks which may be used by the public.”- 1911 Thomas W. Sears

Mike Hale’s contemporary perspective shares a similar philosophy with Sears:

“An effort has been made in this paper to show clearly that landscape architecture is utilitarian quite as much as esthetic; that whatever one is designing, whether it be a city plan or any of the elements in a city, the design should be governed by use as much as beauty.” – 1911 Thomas W. Sears

By 1917 Sears was commissioned regularly and had a long, full career including notable designs for the Reynolda estate now part of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the wildly influential outdoor amphitheater for Swarthmore College, the Scott Outdoor Auditorium. His work in Gloucester is rarely mentioned.

Since the Gloucester drawing was marked ‘Providence’, I knew the drawing was done long before the 1923 construction. I tentatively dated the schematic ca.1910. Thankfully Thomas Warren Sears was a photographer, too. Turns out that this image is a Sears’ photograph of a lovely Sears’ design. The glass negative is dated 1908 which squares with his professional career timeline.

 

thomas Warren Sears rendering and photograph aag title a perspective drawing for the area along what is now stacy boulevard

ALL NEW LED LIGHTS

One of the modern design elements is the welcome ornamentation of lights. They feel like they were always here because line is such an essential part of design and they add the vertical visual interest. When I saw the new light bases I thought of the line of trees in the Sears drawing. I love the mix of natural and formal design in his rendering, but am equally gobsmacked by the sweeping open vista. Both are sensitive approaches and part of the context of the Boulevard’s build.

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photo caption: animation emphasizing new lights, late November 2016, ©c. ryan

BEFORE THE BOULEVARD- Sears photos

Thomas Warren Sears photographed Western Avenue for his preparatory work. See the homes along the beach that were later removed for the construction of the Boulevard; distant vistas to the Surfside Hotel (built after Pavilion burned) and Stage Fort park; and Western Avenue street scenes looking east and west before the road was widened.

 

Thomas Warren Sears seawall and park area1908 Thomas Warren Sears looking west along the seawall

Thomas warren Sears glass negative houses along the beach later removed for the creation of Stacy Boulevard

More photos and Gloucester designs:

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Walk this way: Gloucester’s stately Stacy Boulevard public works project is breathtaking and one for the ages! Part 1

This view will be changing imminently! Today’s Motif Monday is the work on the Boulevard.

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The marvelous engineering and construction for the boulevard is a HUGE story. In all the collective excitement to walk this way, let’s remember to take a moment to acknowledge this feat.

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Mike Hale, Gloucester’s Director of Public Services, was hired in July of 1999, the very same year that this ambitious boulevard infrastructure planning and funding search began for this project. It was funded in 2014.  That means the current project timeline spanned 4 Mayors, administration, staff and city councils. The construction has been exceptionally well managed and I predict it will be or should be nationally recognized with awards. I have been documenting the progress and in the coming days will post several tributes, contemporary views, historic photos and background to rev up anticipation and respect.

Coincidentally, April 16, 2017 will mark the 94th anniversary of an important piece of the boulevard’s construction.

On that day in history, Gloucester’s city council approved the purchase of two lots, the Grant and Low properties:

“Whereas it is the desire of the board of park commissioners of the city of Gloucester to take in fee by purchase or otherwise certain land in said Gloucester lying between Western Avenue and the sea,

“And whereas, the said board has estimated the expenses of acquiring the same to be $8000,

“It is hereby ordered that the sum of $8000 be and hereby is appropriated from the $90,000 Western Avenue act of 1922 to the board of park commissioners as provided by law for the purpose of acquiring and laying out as a public park such land as the said board of park commissioners consider desirable therefore, being the land as shown on a plan entitled ‘Proposed taking for highway and park purposes, Gloucester, Mass, dated April 16, 1923, John H. Griffin, City Engineer,’ having reference to that portion as shown on said plan as is proposed to be taken for park purposes.” I’ve added the bold emphasis to note the big vision of Western Avenue as a public park and extension of Stage Fort in 1923.

The significant original investment was tangible and long lasting, hallmarks of any successful public works project. Did the Boulevard improve the quality of life in Gloucester? It wasn’t easy. Houses and roads were moved.

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Photo caption: “A VIEW NOW OF THE PAST. Most of us are familiar with the Above View. it Shows the Dwellings which Once Lined the Western Avenue Waterfront Before Work was Started Constructing the New Boulevard.”

These photographs were published in August 1923 and retrieved from the Gloucester Daily Times microfiche reel at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library.

The caption below describes Kent Circle “where grand stand has been erected for the review of the parades” for Gloucester’s tercentenary celebration. 

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Awaiting full access in 2017 is a mere blip of an inconvenience when considering how fundamental the Boulevard is for Gloucester. Its benefits are priceless.

Tomorrow’s post BRINGING PLANS TO LIFE

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