Tag Archives: Magnolia Historical Society

Proposed building plans Sawyer Free Library, City Hall…Whoa! In the news plus the 1973 appeal led by Joseph Garland, universal access, and archives

“No finer place for sure, downtown.”

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“Fate of historic buildings uncertain” Gloucester Daily Times, Ray Lamont, Jan 3 2017

Seeing double? Yes, you’re supposed to. The Sawyer Free Library addition was designed to mirror Cape Ann Museum as a balanced and nuanced architectural symmetry in deference to City Hall, and catalyst for a graceful center.

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Cape Ann Museum, December 2017

 

Sawyer Free Library has announced a public meeting January 11th for discussions of a new building. (See the flyer at the end of this post.)

City Hall may have some upcoming construction on the Dale Avenue side as well.

Both projects are largely in the name of accessibility of a physical nature. Can they be cost effective, worthy of our history and culture, protect our significant buildings, and address current and future needs? The following are some of the issues, local coverage, links to resources, and archival material for your interest.

HANDICAP PARKING SPACES BY CITY HALL- Do we have enough?

Although there are several new handicap parking spaces along Dale Avenue by City Hall, carving out the landscape on the left for more spots is in the cards because of grant money. Why? Several people told me that Dale Avenue parking spaces are hazardous for anyone exiting on the street. Although I do not want to minimize any pressing needs, I still ask, “Really?” Have we become so car dependent we would rather a thoroughfare here than the elegant streetscape we have (once a tree lined walk from the train station.) I was also told that it will increase visitation counts. It is an unfair advantage that historic sites with access to more funding (Monticello, Smithsonian, Colonial Williamsburg, and more) are better equipped to face these seemingly no-win situations. But there are creative retrofitting options for Gloucester, too.  Universal design is about balance, not chasing funding sources at the expense of preservation and beauty, nor backwards planning.

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Dale Avenue c.1910

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City Hall, December 2017

 

 

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The site of possible razing and paving

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NEW LIBRARY 2016. And 1973.

Before the current 2015-16 library outreach, the library hosted extensive visioning sessions throughout 2013. I went to a couple, and I was invited to take part in a focus group (on schools and the library.)  A completely new library and jettisoning of the historic Saunders library building was not an expressed community value. What were some common discussion points? A strategy for digitization of historic archives and newspapers, more staff, more hours of operation (Sundays), better bathrooms, parking issues, air conditioning, electrical work, maintenance, security, maximizing technology/ content access with schools, ditto Cape Ann TV, and attendance (see this great video from Lisa Smith by kids for kids ) were some goals that were mentioned.

So it was a surprise to see the unveiling of new architectural renderings that did not showcase the Saunders house. It’s like the White House not featuring the White House. I think the Saunders house should be key and central to any building overhaul, not tossed aside. Providing universal access should preserve the intended awe factors if there are any, FOR EVERYBODY–such as the architectural details, proportion, welcoming entrance and unique heritage of a historic building. In this proposal, with Saunders severed there is zero physical access to the main event. What a missed opportunity. And for a library. What do you think?

Today’s paper mentioned that the Saunders house could be used for other purposes instead of the library. Why can’t that be the case and the library maintain its #1 asset? The downtown cultural district (which is not going forward in the same capacity) and other organizations could use the library meeting spaces. Do we really need to conjure up another stand alone endeavor?

Back in 1973, the Trustees of the Library began a fund drive for the new library addition; the city of Gloucester paid 2/3. As the Library’s General Chairman, Joe Garland led that campaign. Not surprising, the text of the brochure is a good read! The architect was Donald F. Monnell. (In 1971 Monnell was quoted in the papers speaking about the attributes of Central Grammar.  One likes him more and more.) The population served was 27,000–nearly what it is today.

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Awesome design  on this 1973 brochure for the fundraising campaign for the Sawyer Free library– led by the Joe Garland (cover). See photos of complete pamphlet

 

 

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See “Preserving our Civic Center,” great letter to the editor by Prudence Fish, Gloucester Daily Times, December 23, 2016

 

Working together

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2016 Planning term and movement- “Scaling Up”

A quip about the concept of Scaling UP that I remember from a conference this past September at Peabody Essex Museum and hosted by Essex National Heritage was to “think about the farm not just a barn”; in this case a downtown, or an entire city and region. I like thinking this way in general–architecture and planning, art, and schools. But this conference pushed me to add overlays beyond my areas of expertise or focus like wildlife and waterways. Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts–there’s so much! Mayor Romeo Theken is committed to working together and feels that planning is important and broad. One example, see Gloucester Daily Times Dec 19, 2016 Officials: City to Prioritize Its (competing) Needs 

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City Looks to Prioritize its Needs, Gloucester Daily Times, Ray Lamont, Dec. 19, 2016

There are several looming questions, evaluations, and decisions.

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Every era has choices. The prior library expansion plans began well before 1972. Possibilities swirled as they do now. (Back then, Central Grammar was also in the news, may or may not have been razed, and possible uses favored senior housing, commercial development, an annex to City Hall, and a courthouse police station.) Today there are competing building needs and uses floated for properties as diverse as: the Cape Ann YMCA on Middle Street, the post office on Dale, the Gloucester Fire Department, police headquarters, St. Ann’s, and the elementary schools–and that’s just to name a few. Let’s celebrate enviable architectural strengths, and not fuss with buildings that should be venerated, unless it’s to help them be accessible and healthy. Let’s get the balance right.

HISTORY MAKING PLEA- Archives for all

The prohibitive costs of best practice historic preservation (ADA compliant, temperature and humidity controls, security, sustainability, in house scanning/OCR/audio transcription, etc) is impossible for all the worthy collections in town, and pits them as foes when vying for funds. Let’s flip that impediment on its head and make Gloucester a model for the state.  Its treasures would be available worldwide if they were truly accessible –digitized.Two words may help accomplish this goal and free up cash for individual operations: shared overhead. It’s one hope I continue to stress–the need to share necessary resources for a state-of-the-art research and warehouse repository. This universal hub should be large enough to encompass any holdings not on view. There could be a smaller downtown central site combined with a larger off site location, such as at Blackburn. The list of sharing institutions could include and is by no means exhaustive: our municipal archives that date back to 1642; Cape Ann Museum; Sawyer Free Library; North Shore Art Association; Beauport; Hammond Castle; the Legion; Amvets and other social clubs; Sargent House; several places of worship; Gloucester Daily Times; Annisquam historical building collections; Lanesville; Magnolia’s historic collections; artists/writers estates; Veterans office; our schools; Isabel Babson Memorial Library, and perhaps businesses such as Cape Pond Ice and Gortons. The library plans don’t appear to retrofit their site(s) for this goal.

If incentives and policy supported neighborhood character over less generic construction collages51

that would be wonderful.  It’s not just Gloucester.

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Two Great Openings

MHS spring art show opening

The Opening Reception for the Magnolia Historical Society Spring Art Show and Sale last evening was a great event with a tremendous turnout, amazing art, great food, in a wonderful space.  If you didn’t get there last night or today, you can still make it over tomorrow from noon to 4:00 – 46 Magnolia Ave.

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Another great opening was this morning’s opening of Sailor Stan’s Restaurant at 1 Wonson Street on Rocky Neck.  Stan’s will be open weekend from 7:30 until noon, with more open days as weather and season dictates.  Stop by for breakfast tomorrow – let Sue serve you with a smile after Karen and Wayne create something great for you – and then head over to Magnolia to see the Spring Art Show.

E.J. Lefavour

How to Recognize Artists

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Now you can learn to recognize the 27 Cape Ann Artists and Photographers exhibiting at the Magnolia Historical Society Spring Art Show by coming to the show, seeing their work and maybe buying a piece to grace your home.  A great way to recognize and support local artists and the Magnolia Historical Society.

Thanks to FOB David Simmons for submitting the How to Recognize Artists of Paintings, Magnolia Historical Society for hosting and to Thom Falzarano for organizing the show.

E.J. Lefavour

Spring Art Show

Only 15 days til Spring…

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After that, there are only 21 more days until the Spring Art Show at the Magnolia Historical Society.  From the icy grip of winter emerges a fresh new body of work by some of your favorite Cape Ann artists.  While it may not be the first Art Show of Spring 2014, it is lining up to the best.  Mark your calendars now, and pray we won’t have snow.

E.J. Lefavour

She Always Returns

better late than never

Normally winter is my time to be creative.  My life’s path took me on some unexpected twists and turns this fall and winter, which made it impossible for me to get into my creative space.  As I’m sure all creative people can attest, sometimes the muse goes away for a time.  I used to fret, believing she might never return; but in her own time, she always does.  She unexpectedly re-emerged a couple of weeks ago, and took me, as she always does, in a new direction.  These are a few new pieces I have completed.  This series is old and new.  It is a mixed media combination of my abstract photos of last year, coupled with the glass painting of the prior year.  While sorting things at my mother’s house, I came across a container of unused glass slides, which have and will make their way into many of these pieces.  I have never worked in a square format before, which I am really enjoying, having been inspired by my artist friend, Tom Nihan’s work.  All pieces are 8×8 multi-layered photos and glass paintings, and are whimsical and fun – just what I need now.  In addition to brushes, I am using rubber ducks and ear plugs to paint with.   Yes Paul, RD was instrumental in getting me going, although she has gotten a little messy with paint all over her bottom.

You can see some of my new work at the Spring Art Show at the Magnolia Historical Society Friday, April 11 from 6 till 9pm Opening, Saturday, April 12 2pm till 8pm and Sunday, April 13 Noon till 4pm.  More details coming soon.

E.J. Lefavour

Final Weekend for Art in the Schoolhouse

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If you haven’t had a chance to stop by yet, this weekend will be your last chance to see the Art in the Schoolhouse holiday show at Magnolia Historical Society, 46 Magnolia Ave.  There is a great collection of over 90 pieces of work, as well as a great selection of affordable holiday gift items.  A great opportunity to check out the new home of the Magnolia Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center.  Free admission and plenty of free parking.

E.J. Lefavour

Artist Spotlight Series – Sinikka Nogelo

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Spotlight on Sinikka Nogelo

Gloucester painter Sinikka Nogelo considers herself lucky to work in a studio overlooking Joey C.’s business, Capt. Joe and Sons. “The view is just lovely. I enjoy seeing the activity on the working waterfront, knowing my friendly neighbors are doing so much for the community with Good Morning Gloucester, while supplying us with the freshest lobster, and also supporting the arts. A few years back at Joey’s, one of my favorite art installations featured larger than life, black and white photos of faces of the waterfront. “

Though Sinikka has been most well known locally for her work in community television, art has always played a major part in her life. After graduating from Tufts, she studied at Montserrat with Oliver Balf, Barbara Moody, George Gabin, Roger Martin and Ethan Berry. She also took classes at Silvermine Guild in Connecticut and at the BFA’s Museum School in Boston. As a young artist, she was a founding member of the women’s cooperative “Center and Main Gallery,” located in what is now Passports Restaurant. Sinikka returned to painting full time upon her retirement from Cape Ann TV in 2010.

A member of Rocky Neck Art Colony and the Cape Ann Artisans Studio tour, Sinikka paints contemporary pieces inspired by thoughts and feelings, sea and sky. “I just love color and composition. I get a great deal of satisfaction from the process of making art, just seeing where things will go, experimenting and building on what I’ve made.” In recent years Sinikka has also been creating wall pieces from recyclables and found objects, some of which were on display last summer at the Cape Ann Museum’s White-Ellery House in Sinikka’s installation, “Tin – Relics and Remakes.”

At the Rocky Neck Art Colony’s Holiday Art Festival Sinikka is offering miniature paintings on easels to grace spots such as desks, book shelves and counters, as well as miniature paintings to hang as ornaments. Her paintings have long been influenced by the sea and sky which she uses as subjects and as metaphors. Sinikka loves color and composition and putting that first stroke on a canvas.

You can see more of Sinikka’s work at the Rocky Neck Holiday Art & Fine Crafts Festival (Sat. & Sun. noon – 4:00pm through 12/29) and at the Magnolia Historical Society’s Art in the Schoolhouse Show (Sat. & Sun. 10:00am – 2:00pm through 12/22).

E.J. Lefavour

Invasion of the Winter Moths at Magnolia Historical Society

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I’m sure you’ve noticed them everywhere the last couple of days.  Driving over to Magnolia last night for the Magnolia Historical Society opening of Art in the Schoolhouse with Charlie Carroll, it was like driving in a brown blizzard.  They are pictured here all over the front door of the place at 46 Magnolia Ave.  Also pictured are some of the partygoers at the opening.  If you missed the opening, stop by Saturday and Sunday (12/7&8, 14&15 or 21&22) from 10:00 – 2:00.  The moths may or may not still be there but the great artwork, cards, prints, calendars, books and more still will be (whatever hasn’t been sold anyway).

art in the schoolhouse opening

Now more about the Winter Moth.

The Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata) is a moth of the family Geometridae. It is an abundant species of Europe and the Near Eastand one of very few Lepidoptera of temperate regions in which the adults are active in the depth of winter.

The female of this species is virtually wingless and cannot fly, but the male is fully winged and flies strongly.

Winter Moths are considered an invasive species in North America; Nova Scotia experienced the first confirmed infestations in the 1930s. The moth is now found in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine.[1] In Massachusetts, the moths have attracted the attention of several media outlets due to the severity of the infestation.[2] In northern Rhode Island, damage to fruit orchards has been attributed to winter moth, and it is now reported in mid-southern Rhode Island (Bristol/Barrington area and Warwick). Efforts at biological control are underway.[3] There have been unconfirmed reports of infestations in southern New Hampshire.

Wikipedia

Here’s a link to an article Kim Smith wrote about the relationship between songbirds
and the Winter Moth, back in 2010.  http://kimsmithdesigns.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/white-throated-sparrow-zonotrichia-albicolli/

E.J. Lefavour

Art in the Schoolhouse Preview Opening Party

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Friday, 12/6 5-8:00PM at the new Magnolia Historical Society’s Museum and Cultural Center building (in the old Blynman School), 46 Magnolia Ave.  A great collection of artists and photographers, plus a large selection of affordable holiday gift items -cards, books, prints, mini paintings, calendars and more.  Refreshments, live music and free admission.  Come see, shop and find out what Magnolia Historical Society is up to – exciting developments for Magnolia and the Gloucester historical, arts and cultural scenes.  Hope to see you there.

E.J. Lefavour

Magnolia Historical Society Presents Art in the Schoolhouse

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The Magnolia Historical Society, 46 Magnolia Ave. in Magnolia is presenting Art in the Schoolhouse a holiday art show and sale in the lovely old Blynman Schoolhouse, with proceeds to benefit the Magnolia Historical Society’s restoration of the Blynman School into the Magnolia Historical Museum and Cultural Center.   It will take place Saturday and Sunday, December 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm daily.  There will be a Preview Opening Reception Party on Friday, December 6 from 5-8:00 pm with Refreshments and Live Music.  Free admission.  The show will feature works by Donna Ardizzoni, Lauren Asaro, Charlie Carroll, Joey Ciaramitaro, Terry DelPercio, Thom Falzarano, Marion Hall, Audi Lane, EJ Lefavour, Laureen Maher, Carol McKenna, John Nesta, Sinikka Nogelo, David Piedmonte and Deb Schradieck.

E.J. Lefavour

Young Ladies Tea

From Lisa Ramos: The young Ladies Tea party hosted by the Magnolia Historical Society on Sunday May 6th was a great success!  The girls dressed in their Sunday best for a tea party catered by Classic Cooks Catering. They enjoyed tea and pastries followed by magical entertainment from Freckles and Ruffles the clowns.
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