Tag Archives: Stage Fort Park
Gorgeous day! Congratulation to the wedding couple at Stage Fort park May 19 2017
L’Atalante Jean Vigo 16mm masterpiece
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
photo above: fencing subcontractor on a beautiful work site readying for railing. Railing required diamond coring like old granite quarrying. Stacy Boulevard December 2016.
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.)
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.
photo caption: Gloucester’s DPW construction along the Boulevard
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
photo caption: Stacy Boulevard contruction capstone and harbor
photo CAPtion!: Stacy Boulevard dazzling dizzying scope of ocean and capstone as far as the eye can see
photo caption: Mike Hale with Brian McCabe, Project Manager, Newport construction, November 2016, Gloucester Boulevard
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!
some prior posts:
April 2017 nearing the finish line Part 1- Walk this way: Gloucester’s stately Stacy Boulevard public works project is breathtaking and one for the ages! Part 1
September 12 2016- Stacy Boulevard construction update: historic Blynman the Cut Bridge project scope plans and engineering details
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!
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.
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.
Here’s a Google street view photo for comparison today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More photos and Gloucester designs:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- this one April 3, 2017
- September 12 2016 Stacy Boulevard Construction update including scope plans
- Stacy Boulevard Construction update: what’s been done as of August 10, 2016 about 80% to the finish line seawall restored, sidewalks constructed, etc Blyman side coming
Beautiful snow at Stage Fort Park
This morning’s snow and ice lingered all day, shrouding the city in such a hauntingly beautiful manner that I couldn’t help but take the late afternoon off and went looking and taking as many photos as possible before the sun set.
Congratulations to the 2016 (round 7) awardees! Their final presentations were at City Council on Tuesday.
Since Gloucester voted to approve the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in 2008, the city has administered 7 rounds of funded projects throughout our community. Have a look at who you helped fund in 2016
- North Shore CDC and Action, Harbor Village *missing this photo but great presentation!
- Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association, Wheeler School House & GFD Riverdale Hose, No 2
- Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Civil War Monument
- Generous Gardeners, Stacy Boulevard Gardens
- Stage Fort Park Advisory Committee, Welcome Center Renovations
- Community Development Dept., Stage Fort Park Beautification Project
- City Clerk’s Office, Archives Initial Storage Project, Phase I
- Oak Grove Cemetery, Oak Grove Cemetery continued restoration
- Gloucester Committee for the Arts, “Out of the Shadows: Gloucester’s historic Depression Era Mural” preserve & restore murals with refined project scope,discovery and schedule of work
- Historic New England, Beauport Museum, outer building roof replacement
- Sargent Museum, Preservation of porch, granite steps & retaining wall
- Gloucester Writers Center, Preservation of Maud/Olsen Library & GWC Archives
- Maritime Gloucester, Rehab & Restoration of the railway
- Friends of Burnham’s Field, Continued rehab of Phase I of Burnham’s Field Restoration
Safe bet you might know someone assisting one of these projects. Who else helps? The volunteers on the Community Preservation Committee are fantastic: Catherine Bill Dugan, Catherine Schlichte, Henry McCarl, David Rhinelander, John Feener, Barbara Silberman, Heide Wakeman, Ellen Preston, and Scott Smith. There’s no break for this committee. From start to finish the process from an applicant’s perspective takes nearly a year. Depending upon the project, it will involve assistance from the Community Preservation Committee, City staff and various departments, City Council, City Council sub committees, and the administration. Just as one round winds down, the next year’s process and round of applicants gears up. Visit the Community Preservation Committee page on the City website to learn more about the CPA and to see prior projects.
Save the date:The Community Preservation Committee will be hosting an information meeting for prospective 2017 applicants at Sawyer Free on February 8, 2017 at 6pm. Applications are due April 17, 2017.
Debbie Laurie, a Senior Project Manager in the Community Development Department who manages Grants and CPA for the City writes about the info meeting: “We want to help guide applicants through the process and answer any questions you may have before filling out an application. We can also determine if your project is actually eligible or not. Please pass the word around if you know of anyone that may be interested. “
The Northeast Conference Middle School championship races races held at Stage Fort Park on October 26th 2016.
Upcycled pallets vs international playground design: one dad’s inspiring backyard ninja course, Stage Fort, and BSA Extraordinary Play
“And on to the zip line. Once again, she has a lot of stuffed animal friends to cheer her on the course today…one-handed over the water bottles, and she makes it no problem…” (the father’s sweet narration)
The inspiring viral video of one dad’s DIY backyard obstacle course for his daughter could easily have been featured in Design Museum Boston‘s excellent Extraordinary Play exhibition which was held at the BSA space, Boston Society of Architecture. Extraordinary Play featured the best international public playground design, mostly big budget projects. Based on the posters, my sons and an older cousin thought the sky playground in City Museum, St. Louis, the Blaxland Riverside Park in Homebush Bay Australia, and the Globe Dokk1 Aarhaus in Denmark look amazing!
We’d visit any of the BSA notable playgrounds in a heartbeat if we traveled nearby: Geopark Stavangar, Norway; Adventure Playground, Berkeley; Parque Gulliver, Valencia, Spain; The Globe Dokk1, Aarhaus, Denmark; Maggie Daley Park, Chicago; and Brooklyn Bridge Park, NY. (Scroll below to see those posters.)
Gloucester is lucky to have several good playgrounds. My children loved the gigantic truck, pirate ship and lighthouse at Stage Fort, plus so many paths, boulders and expansive fields and vistas. (I don’t think the sea serpent was there when they were little. We hope they might come back to supplement the excellent swings and climbing structure)
The BSA Space is just across the bridge from the Boston Children’s Museum and alongside the Greenway. The exhibitions are free.
A tip for visitors coming to Massachusetts for the first time is to stop by the BSA lobby to check out the model of the city.
Go before the Freedom Trail! Very helpful- reminded me of the old display at Gettysburg.
THE FIREWORKS ARE A GO!!! Hold onto your hats, we’re going to be treated to an extra fantabulous spectacular display!
Barry Pett shares that the response for requests for assistance with the Schooner Festival/Labor Day Weekend fireworks show has been tremendous. He gives a heartfelt thanks to everyone for their contributions. He’d also like folks to be aware that the City contributes greatly, with support from Mayor Romeo Theken’s administration, the Police and Fire Departments, and the DPW.
Barry provided some history about the fireworks, which have been annually displayed from Stage Fort Park since at least 1880. This beautifully poetic Winslow Homer watercolor titled Sailboat and Fourth of July Fireworks, dated July 4th, 1880, was painted during the year that Homer lived on Ten Pound Island. Unfortunately, the painting is currently hidden away in storage at the Fogg Art Museum. It is Barry’s hope that for Gloucester’s quadricentennial the painting will travel to Gloucester and be displayed at the Cape Ann Museum.
Barry Pett has been creating Gloucester’s fireworks shows for over twenty five years.
Winslow Homer: Poet of the Sea
Snapped a photo at a break between sets. Off to the vendors before they begin tuning up for Cassadee
Two more days and Stage Fort Park becomes Gloucester’s shoreline amphitheater for Country Fest. @cassadeepope headlining, also Houston Bernard Band and Southern City Band
Apparently and not surprisingly Ringo helps Boston Fence set in the fences at Stage Fort for Gloucester’s first country fest, coming this Saturday noon -5 (gates open 11 AM). I didn’t stop to chat or take more photographs because we were in the middle of a Gloucester beaches challenge. What an unforgettable venue to listen to Cassadee Pope (big single out right now and Voice Season 3 winner. Who was her coach?) and Boston bands Houston Bernard Band and Southern City Band ! Cassadee Pope’s twitter photograph features beach/dune background. Wonder where it was taken? Everyone will have some good photos from Stage Fort. You can listen to Ringo and Emily talk to Joey about the Country fest on the podcast.
A mid-week vacation day is the easiest. Oh, and you’ll need your resident beach sticker. We prepped our car with a picnic blanket for the seat, extra towels, and ice waters. Start early and grab a big “lobsterjack” breakfast because you’ll need the fuel. End late.
Let’s establish some base rules here.
First off, you need to spend at least 15 minutes at each beach. (You can tweak this a little if you want.) Next, you need to dive under. We suggest a ritual for each beach, e.g. ‘The Five and Dive’. Finally, you have to stop for ice cream and candy. Remember, you can do these beaches (or others in Gloucester) and jumps in any order. Be flexible for unexpected delays like staying at one beach for hours, or a friend asking you to drop off a sub (*cough* Joey *cough*). Most importantly, you have to do at least 13 beaches and 2 jumps in one day. Mind the tides. Be grateful we have so many choices.
The Beaches- partial list
Annisquam lighthouse. Coffin’s beach. Good Harbor beach. Long beach. Magnolia beach. Niles beach. Pavilion beach (by Beach Court). Pavilion beach bonus (by the cut). Plum Cove beach. Rocky Neck Oakes Cove beach. Stage Fort Park (1) – Cressy’s beach ( our alt. title ‘sea serpent’ big beach). Stage Fort Park (2) – Half Moon beach. Wheeler’s Point. Wingaersheek beach.
The Jumps- partial list
Annisquam bridge. Magnolia Pier.
*We do this challenge at least once each summer. Yesterday we started off with breakfast at Willow’s Rest and continued from there. Our timing was random especially as we spent hours at Wingaersheek. The second meal to get us through the day came from the sandwich counter at Annie’s by Wingaersheek. Yes, they have a sandwich counter.
2016 Summer Concert Series
Stage Fort Park, Hough Ave., Gloucester, MA
Starts at 7pm at the Grand Stand.
The view from the Beauport Hotel restaurant looking towards Stage Fort Park. Happy 4th of July!
Red, White, and Blue Grand Finale
I thought the fireworks this fourth extra stupendous. If you agree, the Gloucester Fireworks Committee is looking for donations, small and large, for the fireworks display during Schooner Festival over Labor Day Weekend. If you haven’t already contributed, they would appreciate your help. You can donate by clicking here or sending a check to:
The Gloucester Fund
45 Middle Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
Please make the notation on your check “Fireworks.”
A few more
GloucesterCast 166 With Guests Steven Winslow, @DonnaArd , Leslie Heffron, @KimSmithDesigns and Host @Joey_C Taped 1/17/16
GloucesterCast 166 With Guests Steven Winslow, @DonnaArd , Leslie Heffron, @KimSmithDesigns and Host @Joey_C Taped 1/17/16
A preliminary drawing was discussed outlining the new possible location for the Farmer’s Market. Amongst several proposed improvements, my favorite was the idea to connect, via a new trail, Stage Fort Park to Ravenswood. GENIUS!! A commitment was made to continue to work with the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market, Cyclocross, festivals, neighbors, and all interested parties. Looking forward to learning more!
The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck
6 Wonson Street, Gloucester
“For the Birds” – A Juried Multi-Media Exhibition of Avian Inspired Art
January 28-March 6
Opening Reception – Sunday, January 31 2:00-4:00 P.M.
Related Lectures at the Cultural Center:
Chris Leahy, Bertrand Chair of Field Ornithology at Mass Audubon, on “John J. Audubon: His Life and Art”
Thursday, February 11 7:00 P.M.
Kim Smith, photographer and filmmaker, “Beautiful Birds of Cape Ann”, Thursday, February 18 7:00 P.M.
Rocky Neck Art Colony galleries open this winter:
Elynn Kroger Gallery, Side Street/ Hughes-Bosca, Goetemann Gallery, James B. Hand Fine Art, John Nesta Gallery, Zinc Gallery
189 Main Street, Gloucester
“Nest”- 3rd annual exhibition in partnership with Mass Audubon’s Museum of American Bird Art- offering artworks from the museum’s collection
January 30-March 6
Hours: Sat. 10-7, Thurs., Fri., Sun., Mon. 10-5, Tues. and Wed. -by appt.
Saturday, February 6, 7:00 p.m.- an evening of performance art with a natural history theme
Opening reception for the exhibition-Saturday, February 13, 5-7 p.m.
John James Audubon ,Isaac Sprague, Sharon Beals, Winston Swift Boyer, Nadine Boughton, Gabrielle Barzaghi
42 Broadway, Rockport
“Party at iartcolony”-internationally known artists currently represented by major galleries, museums and collectors
Hours: Friday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. and by appointment through January 30
Abbreviated list of artists represented:
Brian Burkhardt, Tess Atkinson , Jill Whitney Armstrong, Judith Scott Larsen, Peik Larsen, Molly Segal
A delightful couple from St Louis Missouri who come to Gloucester at least two times a year. We exchanged emails and they sent me a photo they took at Stage Fort Park, the lobster they said was bought off a boat at Capt. Joe’s.