Monday, July 20, 2009

More Essex Heritage Information

I write a monthly column for the Community Newspapers in Essex County and this is the column prepared for the newspapers for the month of July. I thought that I would share it with you in this format.

Tom Leonard

Summer Vacations and Visits to the Region’s Assets

As the summer season approaches and many of us begin to think of vacation plans this might be a great time to present a variety of thoughts and ideas about Essex Heritage programs and the region we serve.  There is always so much to see and do in this area, and it can all be accessed so easily. Think about visiting more sites in this area, and learning about the history and the heritage of this region first hand.  We have hundreds of partners all across this 600 square mile region, and all of them would welcome a visit from you and your friends and family during this traditional vacation period.  Our senior partner in our mission in this region is the National Park Service, and if you haven’t been a visitor at the Salem Maritime Historic Site or the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site recently, make plans to stop by those sites sometime this summer.  I am sure that after the visit you will be pleased at what you learned during your stop that is so close to where you live or work.  


Essex Heritage Explorers Programs Continue this Summer

One of the proprietary programs that Essex Heritage has instituted that we who help focus this organization is most proud of is the Essex Heritage Explorers Program,.  This year the two ENHC staff professionals, Elizabeth Rankin and Sheilagh Doerfler that manage this program have achieved all of the goals that have been established for the program and the membership of the program continues to respond affirmatively to virtually every initiative offered to the very loyal followers. Membership in the program now numbers in the hundreds and innovative and informative programs are offered all though the year.  The theme for this summer season will focus on maritime history, and for more information on membership or to sign up for programs contact either Elizabeth Rankin at or Sheilagh Doerfler at


Heritage Hero Event Honoring Tom Costin Jr. of Nahant a Great Success

Essex Heritage and the National Park Service along with a sold out, standing room only crowd recently recognized Tom Costin Jr. as the newest Essex Heritage Hero at a dinner at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem.   Tributes from friends and family were offered, and special commemorations from our Washington delegation of elected officials were delivered by Congressman John Tierney.   The 2009 Essex Heritage Hero provided some timely and humorous remarks about his long career of public service.  The permanent Heritage Hero Award that features a replica eagle similar to the one the sits atop the Federal Custom House in Salem was introduced and the award will now be mounted in its permanent home at the National Park Visitor Center in Salem.  Essex Heritage was pleased to be able to once again recognize a special individual who has meant so much to the heritage of this region. 


 Maritime Guide and Essex Heritage Trails and Sails Flyer Makes its Debut

Certainly one of the recurring themes for this year’s Essex Heritage activity and for Trails and Sails is the promotion and interpretation of the maritime history of this region.  Towards that end, in collaboration with the North of Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau, and with the financial support of Bank North, 50,000 colorful brochures have been prepared for distribution.  The brochures highlight the wonderful maritime resources of the region.  Brochures can be obtained at the area’s Visitor Centers, Bank North Branches, ENHC Partner organizations, and on line at


Thomas M. Leonard is President Emeritus of the Essex National Heritage Commission, Inc., the nonprofit management entity of the Essex National Heritage Area, and can be reached at 



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