Tag Archives: Salt Island

#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!”

 

bike happy then & now: 1885 Gloucester travel guide for cyclists & 2017 stylish new bike fleet at Beauport Hotel

Beauport Hotel guests can explore the city of Gloucester, MA, and Cape Ann…by bike. What a great perk for visitors!

Biking culture linked with tourism in Gloucester and Cape Ann hearkens way back…as in 1878. Scroll down to see historic tourist guides from 1881 and 1885 that catered to cyclists and visitors. The sights and recommendations are the ones we continue to celebrate.

bikes

Lookout Hill and Stage Fort Park as seen here from the Beauport Hotel deck is just a close walk or bike ride away.

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Enjoy excerpts from an 1885 cyclist tourist guide

In and Around Cape Ann: A Handbook of Gloucester, Mass., and Its Immediate Vicinity. For the Wheelman Tourist and the Summer Visitor by John S. Webber, Jr with eleven illustrations. Gloucester, Mass: Printed at the Cape Ann Advertiser Office, 1885. Library of Congress collection

“…After months of labor–hard labor, too, for one unaccustomed to the work–I am permitted to send forth the present little manual on Gloucester and its immediate vicinity. The material here given is designed for the especial use of the touring wheelman and the summer visitor, and I have endeavored to describe–in a way perhaps peculiar–all the most important sights and places of interest to be found upon this rock-bound territory of Cape Ann

The streets about town are generally in condition for bicycle riding, though the surface of most of them is either cut up by thick patches of the coarsest gravel or a layer of loosely lying stones; the rider, however, can pick his way along without any very serious trouble. Main street is paved with square blocks of granite from Porter street to Hancock street, and from Chestnut street to Union Hill. Western avenue, or more frequently spoken of as the “Cut,” is a favorite street for bicycle riding; beyond the bridge take the deserted sidewalk on the left, and enjoy a very pleasant spin upon its easy running surface…

the first suggested itinerary- Bicycle rambles on Eastern Point

“And now let’s take our wheel for a short run along our harbor road to East Gloucester, and note the many points of interest on the way. The start is made at the Gloucester Hotel–the headquarters of all visiting wheelmen in the city–at the corner of Main and Washington streets;

Gloucester Hotel 1885 Washington and Main

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photo: cyclist on the bend passing brick building at Main and Washington now features Tonno Restaurant. Notice the chimneys and same stairs as when it was the Gloucester Hotel. “Special Rates Made to Wheelmen”

p.133

“from thence the journey takes us over the rather uneven surface of Main street, going directly toward the east. In a few minutes we pass the Post Office on the left, and soon leave the noisy business portion of the street behind us, then, e’re we are aware of it, we reach and quickly climb the slight eminence known as Union Hill. Once over the hill the road has a downward grade, with generally a very muddy surface, but on through this we propel our machine to the curve in the road at its junction with Eastern avenue. To the right we follow the now well trodden thoroughfare and again pedal quickly up the steep incline before us. Now the machine is well taken in hand, and with a sharp look-out ahead a pleasant little coast over the gently sloping road is cautiously indulged in; down, down we spin, following the main road to the right over the well worn surface, an on, on we glide, past the dwellings of the rich and poor, directly though the business section of the settlement, until in a few minutes we reach the “Square,” so called, at the village center. Passing the pump at this place on our left, we continue the ride over the mud-covered highway, enjoying highly the magnificent stretch of harbor scenery before us. A short distance, and the first dismount is now taken at the foot of a rough incline known as “Patch’s Hill.” At this place are a number of prominent Summer cottages, among them being the Delphine House, Craig Cottage and Brazier Cottage, each affording first-class accommodations, with facilities for bathing, fishing, and boating in close proximity. Once again we bestride the slender wheel and continue on for half a dozen rods or more to the gate-way at the entrance to Niles’ Beach, which marks the terminus of the public way… 

Celebrity spotting famous authors

“…Our trip on the bicycle in this direction has finished, and so we sit awhile on the near-at-hand rocky bluff and watch the merry throng of bathers in their sportive antics in the cooling sea, and inwardly wish that we were among them in the refreshing exercise. At our back, as we sit facing the sandy shore, is the little Summer abode of the well known authoress, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps–the cottage in which she has already penned a great number of interesting works, and where she passes the greater portion of the long, warm  Summer days.

phelps 2

photo caption: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps house

“Directly in front of us, at the further end of the beach, is the old mansion house of the Niles family, and still further on, at the extreme end of the rocky shore, is the tall stone column of Eastern Point Light. “The walk across the beach and over the narrow winding tree bordered path is well worth taking, and makes a pleasant 

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OF ROCK AND REED, AND SEA AND SUN – MORNING SCENES FROM CAPE ANN’S BEAUTIFUL BACKSHORE

Beautiful, beautiful Cape Ann spring awakening. Photos from today’s fine April morning.

Sing, sing sing Red-winged Blackbird! 

Almost daybreak at Good Harbor Beach

Backshore Sunrise. The sun was rising on the way to Brace Cove

Niles Pond

Painted Turtles and a female Red-breasted Merganser were basking on the warm rocks while a flock of Quarky Pants were roosting in the trees. Happy Spring!

I’ve never seen so many Black-crowned Night Herons–TEN all together in the trees and at the water’s edge.
Salt Island and Thacher Island Daybreak

THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM

Sanderling eating insect copyright kim Smith

My grandmother was fond of saying “the early bird catches the worm.” I assumed she said that because I adored getting up early to eat breakfast with my grandfather before he left for work. In a large family with siblings and cousins, I had him all to myself in those day break hours. Having developed a passion and love for wild creatures and wild places, I understand better what she meant. She and my grandfather built a summer home for their family in a beautiful, natural seashore setting and both she and my parents packed our home with books and magazines about nature. Now I see her design…

Wednesday morning at day break, beautiful scene, beautiful creatures by the sea’s edge

God Harbor Beach Sunrise August 3, 2016 -2 copyright Kim Smith

Song Sparrow copyright Kim SmithSong Sparrow breakfast

American Robin fledgling copyright Kim SmithAmerican Robin fledgling, note its speckled breast feathers

Mockingbird copyright Kim SmithMockingbird feeding its fledgling

Song Sparrow Virginia creeper copyright Kim SmithSong Sparrow and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) flowers and fruit

Sanderling copyright Kim SmithSanderling

Gull eating crab copyright kim Smith

God Harbor Beach Sunrise August 3, 2016 copyright Kim Smith

TODAY’S GOOD HARBOR BEACH BREATHTAKING SUNRISE!

Good morning Gloucester, brought to you by Good Harbor Beach! 

Good Harbor Beach Sunrise July 30, 2016 -0 copyright Kim Smith

Good Harbor Beach Sunrise July 30, 2016 -1 copyright Kim SmithGood Harbor Beach Sunrise July 30, 2016 -3 copyright Kim SmithGood Harbor Beach Sunrise July 30, 2016 -4 copyright Kim SmithGood Harbor Beach Sunrise July 30, 2016 -5 copyright Kim SmithGood Harbor Beach Sunrise July 30, 2016 -7 copyright Kim Smith

Filming B-roll

Stills from my B-roll. Click images to view larger.

Niles Pond October Sunrise

One of the most gorgeous, interesting, and enjoyable aspects of filmmaking I find is shooting B-roll. I am swamped with design work, organizing lecture programs, and hoping to finish the edits on my Black Swallowtail film very soon, but there is no better time of year to shoot B-roll for my Monarch film than autumn in Gloucester; the light is simply stunning, and what I like to refer to as “atmospheric.”

Niles Pond September Sunrise

B-roll further tells the story in a beautifully subtle, and alternatively not so subtle, manner and gives the project a sense of place. While filming and waiting, for example, for birds to take flight (whether swans or homies) I have my still camera readily available.

Salt Island Sunrise

The most extraordinarily beautiful things occur spontaneously. I feel so very fortunate to see, and in turn share, the natural world through the camera lens. Only several weeks ago while filming a spider’s web in a tree, capturing the filaments of silky webbing dancing in the light of the setting sun (with the pinky schooner Ardelle and the Dog Bar Breakwater in the background), the web’s maker came cavorting through the scene with a capture of her own!

Eastern Point

The Infamous Fred Buck adds To The Photo Story of The Filming of “Bride 13” On Salt Island

joey – these are some of the museum photos of the "bride 13" filming on salt island.  a,b,c are from the treasure chest left to the museum by gloucester high history teacher myrtle cameron.  d&e are from a photo album page with about 15 snapshots of the cast and crew and assorted rubberneckers on good harbor.  no idea who took the pics, but i’m delighted they did.
infamous fred buck, down cellah at the cape ann museum

salt island 1919.  constructing the set for movie serial "bride 13".  myrtle cameron collection.salt island 1919.  visiting the set for movie serial "bride 13".  myrtle cameron collection.salt island 1919.  view of the set for movie serial "bride 13". cast member on good harbor?  myrtle cameron collection."Bride 13" actress.  Long Beach.  1919."Bride 13".  Scene being filmed at Brace's Cove, Eastern Point.

Just another reason to go visit the Cape Ann Museum.  I’m telling you, if you have a question about something that happened here in Gloucester in the past chances are you can find some really cool stuff with some extremely helpful folks ready willing and able to assist you in your quest!

Last GMG Rock Found!

Great Job Jerry!

Jerry found the last Rock that was released on Cape Ann this past weekend. 

 Jerry was in Town visiting His Grandmother, Linda Morse.

Thanks for the great Photo Linda!

Linda Morse and Her Grandson Jerry with the "Salt Island Rock"