Monday, September 21, 2009

in Salem and Salem and Beverly Get Together


First Trails and Sails Weekend By All Accounts, a Wonderful Success

This past weekend, Essex Heritage offered its Trails and Sails weekend for the eighth year since its inception. This past weekend was the first of two weekends when over one hundred regional sites are open to the public free of charge. Next weekend from Friday through Sunday these sites will once again be open the public. The weather this past weekend could only be described as spectacular. We experienced sunshine and pleasant temperatures in the region for the entire period, and from what we can determine at this early date, visitation was also at a high level. This is the first time Essex heritage has offered this event on two weekends, and this past weekend was the first year without any inclement weather. It is very early for us to have actual participation numbers for the weekend, and it will likely be into the middle of the week following the final weekend before we have definitive results. Every indication from the information we have received was that the sites in the program experienced high visitation this past weekend.

Prior to the kickoff weekend over 1400 registrations were recorded, and that number could grow to over 2000 before the end of the second weekend. It is possible that the registration entries that are represented by a single electronic address could represent as many as 3000 individuals who are considering visiting a site in the region. . During the lead time before the event the 1400 registrants created individual itineraries that identified thousands of potential visits. Over the first weekend of the event over 30,000 visits were made to the Essex Heritage web site at It is certainly not too late to plan for next weekend, and a visit to the Essex Heritage web site is certainly the place to begin to make plans to enjoy Essex Heritage’s signature event, Trails and Sails.

Today is the Anniversary of the Hurricane of 1938

As we come up on the start of the 2009 fall season in New England, it is always interesting to look back to see how other fall seasons arrived in this region. On this date in 1938, a hurricane of astonishing force unexpectedly hit New England and caused devastating damage. I was alive at the time, but was just a toddler so I have no recollection of the experience. In mid afternoon after hearing a forecast of scattered rain and southeasterly winds the region experienced one of the worst weather disasters to ever hit this region. The storm with whirling winds, and rising waters wiped out virtually everything in its path. The storm took 600 lives that day, and caused damages estimated at between $6 and $10 Billion in today’s dollars. The storm came without much advance warning, and if that kind of storm were to hit this region today with all of our coastal development the results would likely be catastrophic. We are fortunate that today we have much better advance warning systems and we would be better prepared if a storm of that severity and magnitude hit us today.

Salem Names a New Police Chief

I was pleased to see that late last week, the City of Salem named a present member of the force as the new Chief. Captain Paul Ticker who has spent a number of years on the Salem force in a number of capacities was named to replace Chief Robert St. Pierre who retired last week. I have known Captain Tucker for a long time, and I am certain that he will make a wonderful chief for the City of Salem. I grew up in Salem with both of Paul’s parents and it is wonderful to see someone with the deep Salem roots that he has named to this position. I also had the good fortune to work with Paul’s wife when we were both in the employ of Salem Five Bank, and I know that Anne is quite pleased to see Paul achieve this wonderful professional goal. I offer my sincerest congratulations to Chief Tucker and to his family on his appointment, and wish him all the best as he takes on this new role that he is most suited to perform. He is the consummate law enforcement professional and in these difficult times he is the perfect choice to be leading a community police force.

Salem and Beverly Announce a Collaborative Effort

In a small step towards continuing regional collaboration, the Cities of Salem and Beverly have announced that residents of those two communities will be able to dispose of hazardous waste at two separate times during the year. Residents from the two neighboring communities will in the future be able to participate in the Salem collection day in October and also during the Beverly collection period in April. Any step towards regional cooperation is an important one today, and we applaud the two communities for their action.

As always, I welcome questions, comments and observations about the material in this presentation, or about the mission of Essex Heritage. I can be reached at Thanks. Tom Leonard

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