Tag Archives: Essex County Greenbelt

#GloucesterMA in Boston Globe & Cape Ann Beacon- Good Harbor Beach Salt Island for sale, again

July 2016 Salt Island Good Harbor Beach

Salt Island, Good Harbor Beach and Brier Neck are naturally connected. The five acre Salt Island is about 1000 feet from Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts. A sandbar links the island and beach at low tide. I’ve culled a few milestones in its history. Scroll down to 2017 to find the links for the Cape Ann Beacon and today’s Boston Globe.

SALT ISLAND TIMELINE BITS

1860

History of the Town of Gloucester: Cape Ann, John Jame Babson’s published history includes a shipwreck of the vessel, Industry, at Little Good Harbor Beach near Salt Island in 1796

19th century

Joseph Parsons’ family operated a lobster business from Salt Island

pre 1919

silent movies were filmed on location

1919 Fox Film Co Bride Number 13

Parts of the Fox Film Corporation movie, Bride Number 13, were shot on location at Good Harbor Beach and Salt Island. The 15 part serial silent film –“the most costly pictures ever made…would consume expenditures of at least one million dollars.” It was conceived and written by Edward Sedgwick, directed by Richard Stanton aka “Salt Island’s Mighty Emperor”, and starred Marguerite Clayton, Jack O’Brien, and Ed Rossman. The script was inspired by Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

Here are a few fun excerpts from 1919 correspondence published in the book, “My father, a silent films pioneer,” by George E. Mcavoy:

“Again the picturesque Gloucester shores have been sought by a motion picture corporation for scenery and the noted Fox Film Company of New York, with its prominent director, Richard Stanton, has arrived at Hotel Harbor View, East Gloucester, to start immediately on the work of filming “Bride Number 13” at Salt Island off Brier Neck.

“It was decided that Salt Island in Gloucester, Mass., would be the setting of the silent film thriller, “Bride Number 13.” This island was an island at high tide and part of the mainland at low tide. Fox film Co. was building a wooden castle on the island, which was about one hundred feet high and hosted the actions of this silent film…” 

“(This was five days before the real tornado blew the wooden castle out to sea.)”

Oct 24, 1919“Dear Mother: I left Mary and the babies in Gloucester. I am on my way through New Hampshire and Maine for a lumber camp location. I expect to be back in Gloucester Monday night…

the time for the blowing up of the castle on Salt Island and the rescue of the brides from the pirate band is rapidly approaching…

Billy Carr of Gloucester, Chief Gunner’s Mate on the Navy submarine R-1 that was assigned to the picture, was to play the hero who rescues one of the brides, slashes through the nest of cutthroats, leaps into the basket with her and off. It was now November 10th. A throng of 3,000 was at Good Harbor and all over Brier Neck to watch…On the fourth day Bill Carr was called away on duty and his place was taken by Tom Corbiey…”

“Mr. Sedgwick has achieved something heretofore unknown in moving picture production. He conceived the idea of the story, witnessed and helped direct the scenes, acted in them, had a hand in the grinding of the film, and in fact had a part in every process of the film production…”

“While all bid good-bye to Gloucester last night, there was a general expression of a desire to return and several of the company said that they intended to return here next summer for the vacation period if not in picture work.”

“The explosion was a heavy one and its shock was felt in all parts of the city. It shook the windows of houses on Mt. Vernon Street and vicinity, also at East Gloucester and as far as Rockport. It occurred at 4:20 o’clock and people who felt the shock readily attributed it to the blow-up of Salt Island.”

photo caption: Bride 13 star Marguerite Clayton and kids on vacation during filming of Bride 13. Background shows the stately castle film set on Salt Island

film set castle on salt island good harbor beach gloucester ma- Mary McAvoy with sons

1923 The Silent Command

Then and now: filmmakers love Gloucester.

Fox Film Corporation returned to film the patriotic silent era Navy spy film, THE SILENT COMMAND on Good Harbor Beach, again on the Briar/Brier neck side.

The Silent Commander filed on Good Harbor Beach Salt Island

1923 was a busy year for Gloucester, MA. In addition to the municipality managing the bustling tercentenary, Gloucester welcomed another major Fox movie production to shoot on location at Good Harbor Beach. The film was made in cooperation with the Navy. It was directed by J Gordon Edwards, and starred Edmund Lowe and Bela Lugosi in his first American film. It’s essentially a spy thriller with a honeypot formula: foreign power attempts to secure plans to the Panama Canal and blow it up. The villains are thwarted by the US Navy. The production required assistance from the city’s fire department and city electrician. The film crew stayed in Gloucester at the Harbor View Hotel and the Savoy. Local people were cast and spectators lined the beach to watch the thrilling production.

BEFORE CGI:

I love this excerpt from the Gloucester Daily Times describing the staged wreck and tremendous waves washing the crew (stuntmen and Gloucester locals) overboard:

“A crowd of several hundred thronged the (Good Harbor) beach for the picture taking and enjoyed the proceedings, which were interesting, and at times thrilling…The Good Harbor beach setting is a clever contrivance, and constructed to produce a natural rocking motion of a steamer in a heavy sea. The rocking is produced by four winches operated by a crew of 10 men…Storm scenes were filmed yesterday afternoon with local actors, Stuart Cooney, son of Marion J. Cooney, taking the part of the hero and making a thrilling climb into the rigging to the crow’s nest during the height of the storm. Fred Kolstee, a rigger, commanded the crew of the steamer. The crew were (locals) Alfred Marshall, Tony Amero, Tom Bess, Peter Rice, James Francis, James Whittle and William Byers. Rain was produced from lines of hose, and a most realistic effect was produced by two aeroplanes, the wind from the speeding propellors driving the water about, and rushing through the rattlings and rigging with all the vengeance of a real gale at sea. Three times the big tank of water was released and the thousands of gallons broke over the deck in a most thrilling manner. There was some concern among the movie men before the water was released that some of the men might get buffeted about and get hurt, and they were cautioned to hold on tight.

However, it was a mere trifle for Gloucestermen, veterans of many a gale on the banks.

It was best expressed by Alfred Marshall when he stepped toward the ladder to leave the craft after the picture taking was done. Alfred was quite vexed. “Blankety, blankety, blank___, is this the best you can do? Blank, I’ve bailed bigger seas than that out of a dory. And he sung it right out so all could hear, too.”

Stuart Cooney ensured that the movie was a success from a technical perspective and “purchased the outfit and (took) it over” after the filming finished. He was a Gloucester pioneer in the film industry that’s still going strong. Film Cape Ann facilitates bringing local productions here, like the award winning Manchester by the Sea.  The Wikipedia page doesn’t have any mention of Gloucester, but it helped me with an illustration for The Silent Command lobby poster.

1923 silent FOX movie The Silent Command filmed on location Good Harbor Beach Gloucester MA

See for yourself; here’s a link to the complete movie. A few of the Gloucester scenes (not all) 1:03:44, 1:08:54, 1:09:54 (some coast), 1:10:21,  1:10:52 (dory lowered from navy ship), 1:11:12 (beach island)

AFI for TCM brief synopsis: “This is one of those ‘Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean’ pictures. Full of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’ patriotic to the nth degree with the navy floating all over the screen. A real hero, a vamp, and a flock of thrills.” (from Var review.) Foreign agents, determined to destroy the United States Navy’s Atlantic Fleet and the Panama Canal, after an unsuccessful attempt to obtain from Capt. Richard Decatur information regarding mine positions in the Canal Zone, hire adventuress Peg Williams to vamp Captain Decatur, thereby putting him at their mercy. Decatur, advised by the Chief of Naval Intelligence, plays along with the spies to gain their confidence. He leaves his wife and is dismissed from the Navy as a result of his association with Miss Williams. Finally, he goes to Panama, thwarts the saboteurs, saves the fleet and the canal, and gains honorable reinstatement and the gratitude of his country for his heroism.”

1940s

Guy Parsons used one of the old family fishing shacks as a summer place

1950s

By now the fishing shacks were no longer visible

1952

Parson family sold Salt Island

1959

James Kimball purchased Salt Island for $2000

1972

Yankee Magazine article about Bride Number 13 Lights! Camera! Disaster! by Joseph E. Garland

1979

Gloucester Daily Times article mentions that James Kimball “has no plans for the island, although in the past he has thought of building a summer home on the island. When I was young my family spent their summers on Brier Neck…So when the island became available I jumped at the chance.”

2000

One of  the designated “Special places in Gloucester”

2005

“Special places in Gloucester” appendix list for the MA Heritage Landscape Inventory Program, MA Dept of Conservation and Recreation Essex National Heritage

September 7, 2011

GMG abou the Filming of Bride 13 on Salt Island by Fred Bodin

“Where is this film? I’d love to know. All sources indicate that Bride 13 was either lost or destroyed, as happened with many silent films. The reference used for this post was the May 1972 Yankee Magazine article, Lights! Camera! Disaster!, authored by the late Joseph E. Garland of Gloucester.”

and September 9, 2011 GMG Filming of Bride 13 on Salt Island Fred Buck Cape Ann Museum adds photos from the location filming 

2013

Salt Island listed for sale $300,000 plus beach parking passes for the family

2017

Salt Island listed For Sale $750,000

September 2017 Cape Ann Beacon

Sept 1 Cape Ann Beacon “Salt Island is for Sale” by Jason Brisbois

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2017 BOSTON GLOBE

Today’s paper: Sept 16 Boston Globe “A Gem or a Rock: For $750,000 Salt Island Could Be Yours” by Billy Baker

“If somebody buys it and builds, it’s because these guys didn’t step up to the plate and protect it the way my father did when I was a little girl, ” said Maslow, who pointed out that she and her siblings are not rich people with big summer houses. “I can’t help it if someone buys it and paints it purple and puts pigs on it.” – Karen Maslow

“…this island has been available for public use informally for generations thanks to the goodwill of that family. That point should not be lost.” — Chris LaPointe, Essex County Greenbelt

Boston Globe Sept 16 2017 Salt Island for sale

Trulia listing for Salt Island exclaims “Showings available only at low tide!”

 

Thoreau, Trails & Sails, and Greenbelt: this weekend’s all about taking the scenic route

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Emily Levin at Essex National Heritage in Salem, MA, where she has directed marketing and events like Trails & Sails for nine years. The original painting commissioned for Essex National Heritage 10th anniversary (2006) was created by local Ipswich folk artist, Julia Purinton. It’s one of three landscapes: Seacoast ; Conservation Lands and Merrimack Valley (Industry)

 

Emily Levin of Essex National Heritage has directed Trails & Sails for 9 years and seen its growth. Levin told me that 2017 is “one of the largest line ups of different events coming together to showcase the region’s best places in the area. The historic road is already right there. Plus you can stop in all the wonderful restaurants and shops.” The Essex National Heritage headquarters moved to 10 Federal in downtown Salem, next to most anyplace on your visit. I’ll miss steady and affable Bill Steelman who has moved on from Essex National Heritage. Congratulations to Kate Day, Danvers former Town Manager, who has joined to lead the Scenic Byway efforts.

Essex National Heritage Trails & Sails 

is Essex National Heritage’s Essex County pep rally-  annual back to back weekends packed with 150+ FREE, fun, and family friendly events. Here’s the working list of the 2017 Trails & Sails events in Gloucester September 15-17th and September 22-24th. Don’t forget to sign in! The count helps your favorite organization and locale, and you might win a prize like $150 from Dick’s Sporting Goods. 

GLOUCESTER GUIDE

 Climb Up City Hall Tower, Hosted by Gloucester City Hall Restoration Commission
September 23 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

bronze plaques in city hallTalking Walls of Gloucester Gloucester’s renowned Works Projects Administration (WPA era) murals. Hosted at City Hall by The City of Gloucester and Gloucester Committee for the Arts

September 23  12:00 PM to 3:00 PM open for self guided tour
September 23    1:00 PM guided talk and tour 

 

Decorative Painting Demonstration, Hosted by Pauline’s Gifts,
co founder of the new Woman Owned Businesses Along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway trail map celebrating street level, local women retailers from Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich and Rowley who share a regional ‘Main Street’ – Route 133/1A, part of the gorgeous 90 mile Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. Several planned events for Trails and Sails.

September 16  2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
September 23  2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

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L-R and #  on the Woman Owned Businesses Along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway map:
#2 Shelly Nicastro, #8 Anne Thomas and next to her one of the dealers in her shop, Connie, #4 Katrina Haskell, #5 Johanne Cassia, #1 Pauline Bresnahan, #6 Ann Orcutt, #3 Georgeanne Richards, Missing from photo #7 Lorin Hesse and #9 Cathy Reardon

 

Gloucester Sea Serpent Hosted by Cape Ann Museum

September 23 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Gloucester Sea Serpent Mash-Up at Maritime Gloucester

September 23 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Gloucester’s HarborWalk: Select one of three walking toursHosted by the city of Gloucester, permanent outdoor trail and exhibit (Gloucester Sea Serpent HarborWalk marker #19)
September 15-17 (self guided – Open all day) September 22-24 (self guided- Open all day)
Historic Art Trail Walk Hosted by Rocky Neck Art Colony
September 24  2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Historic Ice House Guided Tours Hosted by Cape Pond Ice Company
Sept 15 2-3PM
Sept 16 11-12 and 1-2
Sept 17 11-12
Sept 22 2-3
Sept 23 11-12 and 1-2
Sept 24 11-12

 

Hosted by Gloucester’s Magnolia Library & Community Center & Iris Weaver

September 23, 2017, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

September 16 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Step on FISH NET: Gloucester’s Award-winning 300ft Street Art temporary mural Hosted by city of Gloucester and Gloucester Committee for the Arts

September 15-17 (self guided – open all day) September 22-24 (self guided- Open all day)

 

A Weekend With Thoreau 

weekend with throeau 2017

Two more events September 16th:

Greenbelt’s 3rd annual bicycle ‘Tour de Greenbelt’ (begins in Essex)

Paul Cary Goldberg will be giving a short talk at 1pm on Saturday September 16th at Jane Deering Gallery, 19 Pleasant Street, about his photograph series, Here Still, fitting visit during Thoreau and #TrailsAndSails celebrations

Jane Deering Gallery Pauld Cary Goldberg Here Still Thoreau weekend #TrailsandSails

Plus on Sunday September 17th

Fish Box Derby on Rogers Street at high noon

And talk back 4pm at Gloucester Stage following matinee “Flight of the Monarch”

 

2017 Essex National Heritage Trails and Sails #TrailsAndSails

3rd Annual Bicycle Tour de Greenbelt September 16th

Cycle 25 mile or 50 mile (not timed) circuits for land conservation on the 3rd annual Tour de Greenbelt. Pass through and by North Shore towns and sites — Essex, Rowley, Newburyport, Topsfield, plus more than 50 Greenbelt properties

Tour de Greenbelt cyclists

http://www.tourdegreenbelt.org/routes/

Date and Time:
Saturday, September 16th, 2017 – 3rd annual ride!
9:00am start for the 50-mile ride
9:45am start for the 25-mile ride
BBQ and post-ride festivities to enjoy when you finish! Ends at 3:00 p.m.
*Packet Pick Up: Wednesday, Sept. 13th & Thursday, Sept. 14th @Cox Reservation 4:00-7:00 PM

Trailblazers and Scenes from Essex National Heritage 20th Anniversary Gala at Peabody Essex Museum

Secretary John Kerry reconnected with Mayor Romeo-Theken before he took to the podium to address more than 300 guests attending the Essex National Heritage 20th Anniversary gala at the Peabody Essex Museum. They go way back. Essex National Heritage was designated in 1996 with key support from John Kerry and Ted Kennedy.

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20th Anniversay Gala at Peabody Essex Museum L-R: Mayor Romeo-Theken, Gloucester; Secretary John Kerry; Annie Harris CEO Essex National Heritage

Here’s a star, Emily Levin from Essex National Heritage. Everyone who hosts programs over Essex National Heritage fabulous annual Trails & Sails enjoys working with Emily.

The temporary Essex National Heritage illumination is projected above the Halo sculpture by Anish Kapoor.

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Emily Levin, Essex National Heritage (20th Anniversary Gala Peabody Essex museum)

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ANNOUNCING THE TRAILBLAZERS

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4000 votes helped select a few Trailblazer nominees for a special champagne toast representing their mission and all the wonderful cultural resources across 34 towns. Kim Smith was in good company! We toasted the following 2017 Essex National Heritage Area Trailblazers:

1)PRESERVING THIS SPECIAL REGION
1st place | Essex County Greenbelt Association
2nd place | Ipswich River Watershed Association
3rd place | The Cabot

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2)CONNECTING PEOPLE TO PLACE
1st place | The Trustees of Reservations
2nd place | Mass Audubon
3rd place |Essex Agricultural Society

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surprised Pilar !

3)BUILDING & GROWING OUR FUTURE
1st place — Peabody Essex Museum
2nd place — YMCA of the North Shore
3rd place — Valley View Farm

4)ADVANCING OUR EDUCATIONAL MISSION
1st place (tie) | Lowell’s Boat Shop and The House of Seven Gables
2nd place | Maritime Gloucester
3rd place | Essex Shipbuilding Museum

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sailing at the same table: Mayor Romeo Theken, Mary Kay Taylor Schooner Ardelle, Graham Mckay Lowell’s Boatshop Amesbury; Stefan Edick Schooner Adventure. Bill Steelman presenting award to Graham.

Nice detail: the second festive beverage for the reception featured the trio of colors in the Essex National Heritage logo.

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Gloucester organizations and partners were featured in the slide loop including: City Hall for Community Preservation, Discover Gloucester, Lannon, Rocky Neck, Schooner Adventure, HarborWalk, Cape Ann Museum.

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from Essex National Heritage printed matter:

On April 5 2017 we’re celebrating all of the incredible organizations and people that we’ve spent the last two decades working with to preserve and enhance the significant historic, cultural, and natural places that make Essex County like nowhere else. We are also THRILLED that Secretary John Kerry will joining as the celebrate. Secretary Kerry played a key role in the federal legislation designating the Essex National Heritage Area in 1996!

Who are the Trailblazers and which will receive a toast?
The public nominated 131 Trailblazers.  While all Trailblazers will be recognized at the Gala, only a few will be honored with a special toast!  The public was invited to vote for which Trailblazers will receive a toast, and the results will be revealed only at the event; toasts will be made at the Gala!

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!

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

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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.

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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

Beyond protected areas: sign up for Scaling Up! October 7th conservation conference at Peabody Essex Museum

For those interested in conservation right where people live, Essex Heritage and Peabody Essex Museum are co-hosting a daylong conference focused on the big topic of Scaling Up. Local, national and international experts interested in conservation planning and policy will have a chance to share, learn and network.  Register on line. The conference will take place on Friday October 7th from 8-5PM at the Peabody Essex Museum and will finish up at the Salem Visitor Center. Who will be there from your town?

Speakers and symposium participants include: Keynote P. Lynn Scarlett, Global Director Public Policy, Nature Conservancy; Bob McIntosh, National Park Service; Brent Mitchell, Atlantic Center for the Environment; Stephanie Toothman, National Park Service; Emily Bateson, Practicioners’ Network for Large Landscape Conservation; Ed Becker, Essex County Greenbelt; Amanda Babson, Coastal Landscape Adaptation, Northeast Region, National Park Service; Robert O’Connor, Director of Land and Forest Policy, MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Janey Winchell, Sara Fraser Robbins Director, Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center, Peabody Essex Museum; Eric Hove, Metropolitan Area Planning council; Colin Novic, Greater Worcester Land Trust; Wayne Castonguay, Ipswich River Watershed Assoc; Kathy Abbott, President and CEO, Boston Harbor Now; Tim Abbott, Director Litchfield Hills Greenprint, Housatonic Valley; and Rebecca Stanfield McCown, Director, National Park Service Stewardship Institute.

Call to order, welcome, and/or moderating by: Annie Harris, CEO Essex National Heritage Commission; Mayor of Salem Kimberly Driscoll; Jay Finney of Peabody Essex Museum; and Jessica Brown, Executive Director for the New England Biolabs Foundation.

The snappy logo was created by George Courage of George Courage Creative www.georgecouragecreative.com. He also designed the scenic byway logo.

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MORE ABOUT GLOUCESTER’S SPLENDID OSPREYS ON THE ANNISQUAM!

Male female Osprey copyright Kim SmithThis morning I had the joy to meet Don and Eleanor. Don built the fantastic Osprey platform that you see in the photos. Several years ago, Don noticed that an Osprey pair were trying to construct a nest on a post by the train tracks; the post that houses the all important train signals. Understandably, railroad workers had to destroy the nest as it was interfering with train operations. After watching the Osprey pair attempt to build a nest two years in a row, Don decided to build and install an Osprey platform in the marsh adjacent to his home. With some advice from Greenbelt, Don installed the platform early this spring. Wonder of wonders, his plan worked! The young pair built a perfect nest and one egg hatched.Male female Osprey -3 copyright Kim Smith

If the mated pair survives the winter migration, upon their return, they will repair and add to their existing nest. And if the young fledgling also survives it too will most likely return to the region. Thanks to citizen scientists like Don and Eleanor and the Essex County Greenbelt’s amazing Osprey program, the north of Boston region is rapidly being repopulated with Opsrey. Don is already building a second platform with hopes of installing it in the spring of 2017.Male Female Osprey -4 copyright Kim Smith

Don reports that since the Osprey have been on the scene, they are no longer bothered by pesky crows. He witnessed a pair of crows trying to rob the Osprey nest of its egg. The Osprey swooped in, snatched both crows, and beat them down into the marsh. The crows have yet to return!

Many thanks to Don and Eleanor for their warm hospitality and efforts to help the Osprey.Osprey and fledgling Annisquam Essex County -1 copyright Kim Smith

Osprey nesting platform built by Don

To take some truly terrific closeups, a longer zoom lens than my own 400mm is required, but we can at least get a glimpse of the Osprey family with these photos.

Male Osprey copyright Kim Smith

GLOUCESTER’S BABY OSPREY!

So many thanks to GMG’s Paul Morrison for the excursion out to photograph the Osprey nest on the Annisquam. And thank you to Paul’s sister Kathy for the suggestion. We were there for only a short time when we began to see movement beneath the adult perched on the nest’s edge. After a few moments, the nestling’s shape became visible, but only for seconds, before it settled back deeper into the nest.

Osprey and fledgling Annisquam Essex County copyright Kim Smith

Some interesting facts about Ospreys:

Their population has rebounded following the ban on the pesticide DDT.

This hawk is easy to identify when flying over head as it has a whiter belly than other raptors.

The male gathers the nesting material while the female builds the nest. Osprey return to the same nesting sight and nest, building and rebuilding the nest up over a period of many generations. The man made nesting platforms that we see in Essex County are relatively new nests. Osprey nests that are built up over decades can reach 10 to 13 feet deep and 3-6 feet in diameter, large enough for an adult to sit in.

The osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish, nearly 80 different species of fish are eaten by osprey. Sounds like a Gloucester sort of raptor!

Follow this link for more information about the Essex County Greenbelt’s exciting and highly successful osprey program.

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Osprey nest made over multiple generations

osprOsprey are found on every continent except Antarctica

 

4 Pairs of piping plovers and 9 chicks on Coffin’s Beach reports Greenbelt. And osprey project

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David Rimmer wrote a big thank you for all the GMG attention. He explained that Mass Wildlife and the Greenbelt Association are working with the City of Gloucester and sends this update:

  • “There are 4 pairs of piping plovers at Coffins Beach – 2 pairs on the front beach and 2 pairs on the inside beach.

 

  • 3 pairs are on private land and 1 pair is on Greenbelt land. Mass Wildlife and Greenbelt have been monitoring and managing this area, too, (as with Good Harbor)

 

  • at Coffins Beach, one pair has 4 chicks; one pair has 3 chicks; one pair has 2 chicks; and one pair has no chicks.

Greenbelt also has an Osprey Program, which focuses on managing and monitoring nesting Osprey from East Boston to Salisbury.”  Greenbelt has set up webcams and platforms. Learn more http://www.ecga.org/what_we_do/osprey_program.  Chris Leahy and Marion Larson from Ma Wildlife also mentioned Greenbelt’s fantastic Osprey program.

Coffins/Coffin’s Beach has a community Facebook page, Wingaersheek and Coffin’s Beach Past and Present. There are historic and contemporary photographs. Check out the incredible photo series of deer frolicking by Timmothy Burke Manlee.

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piping plovers on Coffins Beach: intertidal mile and they’re holdin’ on.

20160715_143652Gloucester’s Coffins Beach is a long, long stretch of wide open sandy seashore framed by dunes, sea and sky. Growing up, we called it the private side of Wingaersheek. I could hear piping plovers and saw two ‘in the zone’– the intertidal bit that is still wet at low tide and well under water at high tide. I didn’t see birds in the safe retreats by the upper part of the beach, but heard the melodious chirps that inspired their nickname.

Listen to the piping plover

 

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Essex County Greenbelt protective measures in concert with  MA Wildlife

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dog prints by the rope fence

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saw 5 dogs on the beach

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Fitz Hugh Lane, Coffins Beach, MFA

 

Piping plovers have quite a story. In Massachusetts, the vast majority are south, Cape Cod and the islands. By the close of the 19th century, these birds were near extinction. They rebounded successfully by the 1950’s.

I spoke with Dave Rimmer of Essex County Greenbelt, Marion Larson with Ma Wildlife, Deborah Cramer and Chris Leahy. All of them have updates for GMG which I’ll add next. First,

Chris Leahy, MA Audubon, explained that a second age of precipitous piping plover decline occurred in the 1960’s and 70’s. What do you think it was?

Read on to find out.
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Gloucester portraits: Good Harbor Beach piping plover and David Rimmer Essex County Greenbelt with an Edward Hopper house. And Leon Kroll double bridge.

There are more than 110 portraits of the City of Gloucester by the American artist Edward Hopper. There are a few 1923 Good Harbor Beach scenes including one with Jo Nivison seated sketching, and in the distance Bass Rocks and a ‘Hopper’ house. That vista was already a Gloucester motif.

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (73)

piping plover with Hopper house

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Dave with Hopper house

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Dave with Hopper house                                                                                                                                  David Rimmer, Director of Land Stewardship, Essex County Greenbelt monitoring piping plovers 2016, Good Harbor Beach.

 

 

Eleven years before the image of Jo sketching, Hopper painted the other side of Good Harbor (Brier Neck) when he first came to New England. Leon Kroll painted two pedestrian bridges on the Bass Rocks side of the beach that same year.

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (75)

Note the double bridges on Good Harbor.

Leon Kroll 1912 double bride 26 x 32 oil on

Leon Kroll, 1912, oil on canvas, (Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester) 26 x 32

 

Leon Kroll 1912 oil on canvas 26 x 32  sold at Sothebys 2011 bridge at bass rocks informal title 170,500

Leon Kroll 1911, 26 x 32 oil on canvas (Bridge at Bass Rocks) sold at Sotheby’s auction in 2011 for $115,700

8 point 5 by 10 three quarters 1912 leon kroll

Leon Kroll, 1912 oil on panel, 8.5 x 11-3/4

 

Knoll also painted Niles and Pavilion. He kept returning to Gloucester; eventually his family purchased a home in Folly Cove in 1932. Learn more at Cape Ann Museum and see Kroll works of art on display.

Leon Kroll Niles Beach 26 x 32

Leon Kroll, Niles Beach 1913

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (74)

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (71)

Great Day at the Cox Reservation

The boys and I explored the Cox Reservation the other day and attended the Intro to Geocaching class that I mentioned in my “Picks” post.  While the fun of hunting for geocaches isn’t really new to us, we had a great time joining a small group of other attendees and hunting for some hidden boxes with some “professionals.”

The Essex County Greenbelt boasts tons of great properties that are always offering a large variety of fun and educational activities.

Check them out HERE

Boston Globe features Walter McGrath’s work at Gloucester’s Cove Hill Cemetery

Great story by Hattie Bernstein in the Globe today gives a shout out to Walter McGrath in Gloucester.

Boston Globe may 30 2016 grave guards

“If you go to a cemetery on Memorial Day, you’ll see flowers and flags planted everywhere and a lot more visitors than usual.

What won’t be obvious on this holiday dedicated to military veterans who died fighting in wars are the efforts of Northborough’s Beth Finch McCarthy, 53, Gloucester’s Walter McGrath, 83, and Jordan Hurley, 15, who lives in Middleborough.

The three are among an uncounted battalion of volunteers across the region who share a common pursuit: maintaining their communities and ensuring that those buried there aren’t forgotten.

McGrath, a retired engineer with a long list of interests…

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Chickity Check It! Essex County Greenbelt Osprey Cam Just went Live For 2015!

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Greenbelt’s OspreyCam is located at our 30 acre Allyn Cox Reservation in Essex, MA along the shores of the Essex River. This webcam was installed in 2013, the third year that the same osprey pair, Allyn and Ethel, nested on this platform. For 2014 updates, visit Greenbelt’s Osprey Blog shown to the right on this page or follow Greenbelt on Facebook.

Art in the Barn

art in the barn

Opening Reception Friday, June 13 from 6-8:30pm

Exibit Times

June 13, Friday        10-4:00 and 6-8:30

June 14, Saturday    10-6:00

June 15, Sunday      10-4:00

This is the 25th Annual Benefit Art Exhibit and Sale to benefit Greenbelt’s local land conservation efforts.

Look for some of my new work there, along with the work of many wonderful artists who support the endeavors of Essex County Greenbelt in “conserving local farmland, wildlife habitat and scenic landscapes since 1961”.

http://www.ecga.org

E.J. Lefavour

http://www.hobbithousestudio.com

Check out my first post for the Essex County Greenbelt!

Milkweed Eastern PointMilkweed Patch at Eastern Point Lighthouse

Rockporter Patricia Mandell, who helps the Essex County Greenbelt by volunteering for Mary Williamson, Director of Communications, suggested to Mary that perhaps Greenbelt would be interested in reblogging the posts that I write for my blog, Kim Smith Designs, and for GMG; posts that are relative to the Cape Ann ecology. You have read my “World’s Easiest Method of Propagating Milkweed” here on GMG and can now find it on the Greenbelt blog. Check out Greenbelt’s blog and website for a comprehensive view of who they are and of all the good they accomplish, their properties, maps, projects, and events.

Art in the Barn this weekend

Essex —

Essex County Greenbelt will hold its 21st annual Art in the Barn Exhibit and Sale, June 11-13, a fundraiser to benefit its land conservation efforts, at the Cox Reservation in Essex. Admission is free,and the public is invited to browse or to buy.

The work of over 150 new and returning artists will be exhibited and for sale. Participating artists represent a diversity of style and medium, including fine art painters, potters, photographers, woodcarvers, sculptors and jewelers.

In addition to the art exhibit and sale, the event will feature live artist demonstrations by jewelers, potters, woodcarvers and plein air painters, with some artists offering hands-on instruction. On-site demonstrations will be held both Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m.

For more information, click here.

Talk of the Times: ‘Green Buildings’ Tour today carries on Earth Day spirit

The formal observances of Earth Day were earlier this week, but the celebration continues today, just as environmental leaders hope its messages will continue throughout the year and beyond.

In connection with the launching of its new Web site, greenbuildessexcounty.org, focusing on “green building,” the Essex County Greenbelt organization is presenting a Green Buildings Tour today to give visitors a firsthand look at many of the buildings featured on their site.

Tours will be led by those most closely connected with each building, and will offer you the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about what these pioneers in green building have learned along the way.

For directions to these locations and more information, please visit www.greenbuildessexcounty.org.

The tour sites open today are:

Home of John Livermore, High Popples Road, Gloucester, 10:30 a.m. to noon. Sampling of green features: Larson Truss wall-framing system, solar hot water, R-76 insulation, rain barrels.

Latitude 43, Rogers Street, Gloucester, 2:30 to 4 p.m. Sampling of green features: radiant heat floor, high- efficiency appliances, waterless urinals, dual-flush water-saving valves on toilets, use of salvaged materials and environmentally-friendly building materials.

Essex County Greenbelt, 82 Eastern Ave., Essex, 1 to 2 p.m. Sampling of green features: solar panel array, high-efficiency HVAC, icynene insulation, rainwater recapture system, recycle and reused of materials.

Celebrating the Earth ‘Green’ events abound as Earth Day draws near

By Andrea Holbrook
Gloucester Daily Times Staff Writer

No need to worry about not going green.

The communities of Cape Ann are celebrating Earth Day with movies, organized cleanups, a whale watch and art activities while spreading environmentally friendly messages.

So whether you try to be “green” year-round, or just want to try for a day, there’s probably an activity suited to you.

Here’s what Cape Ann is doing to mark the 39th anniversary of Earth Day, which is April 22.

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