Wednesday, September 30, 2009

National Park Service Second Century Report, Essex Heritage Long Range Planning Update, and Topsfield Fair Opens


National Park Service Second Century Report Released

A panel of nationally known experts headed by former United States Senators, Howard Baker and Bennett Johnson has been meeting across this country, with the goal of offering a recommendation to the National Park Service relative to how the Park Service might move forward in the second Century of their existence. The Essex National Heritage Commission has played an important role in those deliberations as in 2008 the Second Century Commission made a visit to this region to learn how the partnership that has been established here between the National Park Service, the communities in this region, and the many private partners we have established relationship with is working. This blue-ribbon panel visited the Lowell National Historic Park for an exploratory visit, and in addition, a visit was set for the panel to hold a hearing in the Essex Heritage region. That hearing was held at the Gould Barn in Topsfield and followed an extraordinary dinner meeting at the Boot Mills the night before in Lowell. Several Essex Heritage Trustees attended both the dinner and the hearing in Topsfield and used that opportunity to interact with the members of the Commission in both a social and formal way. It is clear that the advocates for the work of the Essex National Heritage Commission had an impact on the thinking of the Second Century members as their recently released findings clearly illustrate.

The findings and recommendations concerning the National Park Service that have just been released to the United State Congress by the Commission is to “authorize, clearly define and base fund a system of National Heritage Areas, and to encourage, where possible, the establishment of Heritage Areas in association with National Parks”. The Second Century group continued their findings by stating that “to advance the 21st Century National Park Service idea, the Congress of the United Sates should, “provide the National Park Service with clear legal authority , not withstanding any other provision of law, to enter into cooperative agreements without competition that benefit both National Park Service and Heritage Area partners, define public purpose to include both direct benefits to the National Park Service and to partners for projects within and outside park boundaries.”

The panel also indicated that they have seen the current reality function at or near optimum level in their meeting at Lowell National Historical Park and the Essex National Heritage Area, and the Salem Maritime National historic Site, “where two units of the National Park Service; a National Heritage Area; National Historic Landmarks; National Register of Historic Places; Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance; and state, local and private sector entities interested in cultural resources, natural resources, scenic beauty, recreation, education, and economic function in nearly seamless harmony.” They went on to point our in their recent release that, “it is essential to fund National Heritage Areas to a level that will allow then to carry out their work. Otherwise the hope raised by each new authorization eventually will result in disappointments, failure and cynicism.”

These comments are a powerful endorsement of the Heritage Area concept in general and in particular the work of the Essex National Heritage Commission and how well it works in this region for the National Park Service, the 34 communities we serve, the dozens of private partnerships we have established and most particularly the three quarters of a million residents who call Essex County home... We now anxiously wait to learn how the recommendation of the powerful Second Century Commission is received in Washington and how they will be implemented in the future.

Essex Heritage Commission Long-Range Planning Process Continues

For the last several weeks, the Executive Committee of the Essex Heritage Commission has been meeting to help devise a plan for what the Commission will look like three to five years from now. The participation in this process by the volunteers who make up the leadership of this initiative has been most gratifying. The efforts undertaken was to first identify the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities that existed for Essex Heritage and then from that position begin to craft a plan for the future. That effort has been led by Immediate Past President Nancy Stager, Executive Vice President of Eastern Bank and current ENHC President, Kevin Tierney, CEO of Saugus Bank. When the planning process is complete issues like:

· The expansion of the Regional Voice of Essex Heritage
· The expansion of the relationship with the National Park Service
· An increase in awareness and the education of local leaders and the public

wll all have been examined and strategies, and tactics to enhance the mission of Essex Heritage will have been established

Topsfield Fair Opens Next Week

I have mentioned this premier regional event in this space before, but clearly one of the events that helps identify the history and heritage of this region is the Topsfield Fair. Just a reminder that the Fair opens on Friday, October 2, 2009 and runs through the Columbus Day Holiday. The Essex Agricultural Society that manages the Fair is one of Essex Heritage’s strongest partners and the events scheduled in Topsfield over the next week or so is classic “Americana”. Make plans to take the family to the Fair for a visit. There is something happening there for everyone in the family.

As always, your questions, comments and observations about anything that you read here, and our work is important to us. I can be reached at Let us know what you think. Thank you. Tom Leonard

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trails and Sails, Transportation Issues, Visit to New York, Passing of a Friend and Associate

MONDAY, September 28, 2009

Final Weekend of Trails and Sails a Success

The final weekend of the 2009 edition of Trails and Sails is finished. The event this year was blessed with 5 of the 6 days with very pleasant weather, and that fact added to the crowds that came to enjoy the events and the region. It is still a bit too early for us to report on final numbers, but all of the information that is in presently in hand points to a most successful event. We experienced over 1600 electronic registrants and anecdotal evidence indicates that attendance was up all over the region. There were multiple events that drew over one hundred participants and that in itself is something we had never experienced in the past. This year we made a conscious effort to produce more events and less paper. There were still some who were disappointed that we did not have a brochure to hand out, and we are exploring additional alternative to improve that process in the time ahead. Two of the busiest events were the “Making Hay while the Sun Shined” haystack building event on the marsh in Newbury developed by the Newbury 375 Anniversary Committee and a concert by Essex Harmony and a garden tour of Glen Magna Farms offered by the Danvers Historical Society. Both of these events drew large numbers of participants and were well received by those in attendance.

Several Regional Transportation Issues

In various newspaper reports, editorials and radio and TV reports I have heard of several transportation issues that will impact this region. The first two are associated with bridge repairs and one is very local and the other could impact fall travel to Cape Cod. Ii has been reported that the repair work on the Tobin Bridge that connects many of us from this region with the City of Boston is just about complete. That is good news for “In Town” commuters as with the repaving work on that span just about complete the morning and evening trip from Essex County to Boston will certainly be less stressful. The second bridge update is a little more distant, but with travel around the state so important and prevalent, the repairs to one of the two bridges that carry traffic on and off the cape is undergoing major repairs. Those repairs have closed one half of the lanes on the Sagamore Bridge, and will certainly slow your commute to and from Cape Cod if that were to be a destination for any of you this fall. There are some exceptions to the lane closures on the upcoming holiday weekend, but for the most part expect delays on that span.
Additional transportation information just recently released, contained both good and bad news for this region. A plan to expand rail service between Haverhill and Andover was announced and the building of a second rail in that area is great news for that part of the region. The second release from the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization recommends dropping several key regional transportation projects that are essential to this region. The recent release calls for curtailing both the Blue Line extension from Boston to Lynn and the widening of Route 128 from Peabody to Beverly. Both of those projects are critical to the economic success of this region and the political and business leadership of this region must rally collectively to overturn these two key decisions. The two transportation projects in question are essential and we must work together to get them “back on track”.

Visit to New York

As I noted in a recent entry to this musing, over this past weekend, I was part of a group from the Danvers Senior Center that traveled to New York for a Red Sox vs. Yankee baseball game. I am pleased to report that although the “Home Town Team” lost the game I viewed, and in fact lost all three games played in New York, the trip and the visit to the new stadium was a treat. The new Yankee Stadium has a Gillette Stadium feel to it, as even in the congestion of the Borough of Queens, the stadium is spacious, clean and welcoming. The concourses are wide and offer a vast array of wares and food for sale, the seats are sized properly and are comfortable and there is more than adequate leg room in the seating areas. The staff on duty at the stadium is courteous and helpful, and it was a most pleasant place to visit. There is a main entrance hall that is spectacular and should not be missed if any of you are planning a visit in the future. The seating capacity is lower than in the old stadium and the seats we had were about as high as one can be and still have a view, but the view was unobstructed. I am glad there was no jet plane flyover while we were there, as up where we were, we would have been ducking as the planes passed over. As several of my fellow travelers stated we were “just a few rows from heaven”.

One Sad Note to Report

As you may or not know, I have had a long and fruitful association with St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers. I have had a personal connection with the school that began in the late 1940’s and continues today. This morning I received some very sad news as I learned that a long time friend and associate at the school had passed away in his sleep. Brother William Drinan C.F.X., Headmaster Emeritus and the 14th Headmaster of St John’s from 1980 to 2001 was a most spiritual man and a resourceful leader during his many years serving as an educator both at the “Prep” and at other institutions. His term as headmaster paralleled the time that I spent on the Board of Trustees at the Prep and during that time I came to recognize his special talents to lead and his ability to take the “Prep” to new previously unattained levels. I am pleased that on Thursday evening at the St John’s Preparatory School’s annual Headmaster’s Reception at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield that my wife and I had the chance to sit and chat for some time with Brother Bill. The St, John’s Prep community has lost a wonderful leader and counselor and I have lost a wonderful friend. Requiem in Pace, Bother Bill.

As always your comments, questions and observations about our work and information in these postings are important to us. I can be contacted at Thank you. Tom Leonard

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fundraising Seminar, CPA Hearing in Boston, Last Call for Ken Burns Preview, Yankee Stadium

Friday, September 25, 2009

Essex County Community Foundation Seminar

On Thursday, I spent the morning on the campus of Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill where I attended a seminar offered by the Essex County Community Foundation. The subject of the seminar focused on fundraising strategies for not-for-profit organizations in this difficult economy. It was pointed out that fundraising in New England is a task that requires organizations to carefully craft their message so that the needs of the organization are well illustrated. New England as a region while generous has never provided as much of its disposable income to charitable ventures as other regions in this country. .That makes it imperative that the fundraising message for initiatives like Essex Heritage must be carefully crafted, and the benefits of the work accomplished most evident to the region. It was generally thought that in 2010 that, even though Americans will give over $300 Billion to charities of all kinds, the total amount provided overall will be slightly down from the current year. The diversity of this region was also outlined, and the depth of the need for charitable giving was identified as it was identified that in this region alone, that there are 2500 not-for-profit organizations all seeking support. It is also a diverse population that lives here as there are over sixty languages spoken, and over 17% of the residents who call Essex County home were born outside the United States. All of that said, it will continue to most important for Essex Heritage to continue to differentiate why it would be important to support this endeavor.

The presenters spent a substantial amount of time asking all of the attendees to look carefully at their individual mission statements to determine if the needs of the organization are well identified, so that contributors who might be inclined to offer support can identify a reason to provide help. Essex Heritage is currently moving through a long range planning process, and many of the issues that were raised at the seminar will certainly enter into my thinking as we move through that process. As I reviewed the Essex Heritage mission, we were all encouraged to craft a simple preliminary vision statement for our work. The personal statement that I developed would help focus on both the organizations needs and also the compelling reasons to choose Essex Heritage over dozens of other worthy charitable organizations. I know that we have a long way to go before we craft our undated long range vision for Essex Heritage, but I came away from the session today thinking that at least in my mind, Essex Heritage builds broad based coalitions that foster regional cooperation that focuses on the preservation of the precious resources in this region for future generations. In the last quarter of this year Essex Heritage will once again offer the opportunity to support the work being accomplished at the Commission in an annual appeal for support. The results of that effort will help support the mission of Essex Heritage.

Community Preservation Act hearing at State House Next Week

On September 29, 2009, the Community Preservation Coalition has organized a series of presentations before the State Legislature that would sustain the Community Preservation Act in the Commonwealth. In this region approximately one half of the communities have adopted this legislation and those that have done so, have seen the funds raised as a boon to their local economies and preservation efforts. Just recently at a special town Meeting in Rockport, $300,000 in CPA funds were voted to be distributed to a half a dozen projects that ranged from affordable housing initiatives to historic preservation projects like a grant to the restoration of the Old Sloop building of the First Congregational Church, the Rockport Public library, the Rockport Art Association’s Old Tavern building, and the Rockport Community House. Essex Heritage has issued a statement in support of the work of the Coalition and we certainly hope that the proposed legislation is viewed favorably...

Preview of Ken Burns Documentary

In past entries we have noted that on Saturday, September 26, 2009, as part of the Essex Heritage Trails and Sails Weekend, at the National Park Service’s Regional Visitor Center in Salem, a preview of the latest Ken Burns documentary will be shown. The showing that is free to the public will be shown at 4:00 p.m. and is on a first come, first served basis in the 200 seat theatre in the Visitor Center. The documentary focuses on the growth of the National Park Service, and is a wonderful statement about the local resources that we have in Salem and Saugus and with the Heritage Area that we maintain in Essex County.

Weekend Trip to New York City

My wife and I, along with a bus load of other seniors from Danvers are leaving Saturday morning for a weekend trip to New York that includes a Red Sox game against the Yankees at the NEW Yankee Stadium. When we first planned the trip we thought that game might have some bearing on determining the winner of the American League East Crown. It now seems that the winner is likely in place, but the Sox still are looking to secure a spot in the playoffs as a wildcard entry, so the game still means something. It will also be interesting to view the new stadium, that has been so controversial all this year, with home runs flying out in record numbers and empty seats also at some times in record numbers.

As always your questions, comments and observations about the work of Essex Heritage are always welcome. I can be contacted at Thanks. Tom Leonard

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ENHC Annual Meeting, Pioneers in Partnership Awards, Salem Post Office, End of the Trail

Wednesday. September 23, 2009

October 2009 Essex Heritage Annual Meeting to be Held in Hamilton

The annual meeting of the Essex Heritage Commission is scheduled for the morning of October 20, 2009 at the Community House in Hamilton. Ma. The Commission, as required by its by-laws has held an annual meeting each October since 1997 to report to the community on how it has met its goals, and to report on current activities. The October meeting is the one required public meeting that must be offered, but Essex Heritage has made it a practice to also offer a spring meeting each year as well. These meetings are scheduled around the region and are generally held in historic locations or in facilities not usually open to the general public. In this way we continue to build awareness of this region and all it has to offer.
The October 20, 2009 meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. at the Community House of Hamilton-Wenham. This facility located at the corner of Asbury and Bay Roads in Hamilton was opened on October 9, 1921. The Community House Building was built to honor the memory of eight young men from the two Towns who had died in the service of their country in World War 1. The agreement to build the facility and to establish the Community House organization was driven by the vision and funding from long time Hamilton residents George and Emily Mandell whose son was one of those lost in the “Great War”. The Mandells along with seventeen other civic minded residents at that time established the not-for-profit Community House of Hamilton-Wenham that still serves the two towns today as effectively as it did 88 years ago when it was first opened. The facility hosts many civic events including community theatre, children’s events. Hamilton-Wenham Mothers Club, concerts, school dances and weekly meetings of the Hamilton-Wenham Rotary Club. The meeting is open to the public and if you wish to attend, please contact us for a reservation at Essex Heritage is pleased and proud to be holding this year’s annual meeting in such an important local venue.

Call for Nominees for Pioneers in Partnership Awards

Each year at the annual meeting in October, Essex Heritage recognizes individuals and organizations whose actions impact the work of ENHC. The awards called Pioneers in Partnership are made public at the annual meeting. The primary criteria for receiving such an award is to have shown leadership in promoting regional cooperation among the many area resources and organizations that exemplify the spirit of partnership by working together to preserve, promote and enhance the historic, cultural and natural resources of this region. If any individuals or organizations come to mind that would qualify for such an award, we would like to hear from you with nominations. Your thoughts can be conveyed to me at .

Workshop on Strategic Fundraising in Difficult Economic Times Offered

Tomorrow, I am planning to attend a topical workshop that will help identify strategies for non profits to employ as they seek funds in these difficult times. The workshop is being offered by the Essex County Community Foundation and the Peter and Elizabeth Tower Foundation and will be held at the Northern Essex Community college in Haverhill. The timing of the seminar is perfect as many organizations like Essex Heritage are currently planning year-end fundraising appeals to help support the mission of the organization. It is clear that in these difficult economic times, much more attention must be paid to those organizations and individuals who have offered support to Essex Heritage in the past as continuing support is as critical now as at any time since the organization was founded. Essex Heritage, like dozens of other not-for-profit organizations in the region will soon be embarking on Annual Appeals for support and any strategies that can be outlined that might be helpful in those efforts will be appreciated.

Historic Salem Post Office

Each morning as I make my way to the Essex Heritage offices on the Essex Street Mall in Salem, I pass by the majestic old Salem Post Office on Margin Street in Salem. The building is currently undergoing a massive preservation rehabilitation effort, and each day I notice more and more progress as the contractors work to restore the exterior of the building. The building is one of forty-six such buildings that appear on the list of National Register buildings in the City of Salem, as is most certainly worthy of the preservation efforts now underway. It will be interesting to follow the work over the next several months.

At the End of a Long Trail

In the middle of May 2009, my wife. Marge was diagnosed with cancer as a tumor identified as non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was found in the upper portion of her right leg. Treatments first at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and then at the facility that MGH shares with the North Shore Medical Center on Endicott Street, in Danvers have been ongoing. On Thursday morning, September 24, 2009 she will have her last radiation treatment at the NSMC Cancer Center. Speaking for her and the rest of our family, we want to thank all who successfully cared for her, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at the new MGH/NSMC facility in Danvers and to all who wished her well and thought of her in their daily intentions. We know that over the next several years that there will be many more exams to continue to check her health, but for now we have reached the End of a Long Trail and we are grateful that we have reached the end for now and the results appear to be most positive.

As always your questions, comments, and observations about the work of Essex Heritage are most appreciated and encouraged. I can be reached at Thanks. Tom Leonard

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

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Trails and Sails Weekend

It is certainly not too late to enjoy the Essex Heritage Signature Event, Trails and Sails. There are multiple events this weekend, and you can still sign up at

Essex Heritage Commission Names New Trustee Emeritus

The Executive Board of the Essex Heritage Commission at its most recent meeting added four long term Trustees to Emeritus status. These individuals have all played an important role in the advancement of the ENHC mission over the life of their participation in this regional effort. Many of the Trustee emeritus that were named have served the Commission almost since its founding in 1998. They have had, during their participation substantial impact on the preservation and promotion of the historic, natural resources of the region. In their new role as Trustee Emeritus they will join five previously named trustees who also serve to guide and provide council to the Commission. The full group of Emeritus Trustees meet annually to hear reports on the work of the Commission, and to offer advice on how ENHC can continue to serve the thirty-four communities in the region and to provide the leadership to advocate for regional cooperation and participation as a way to accomplish more for the region as a whole. The newest additions to hold the title of Trustee Emeritus are:

  • Dr. Wayne Burton, President of North Shore Community College
  • Mr. Robert Halpin, President, Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council
  • Mr. Lawrence Harrington, Past president of ENHC, and Senior Vice President, Bank of America
  • Mr. Richard St. Pierre, Former Guidance Counselor, and Librarian at St. John’s Preparatory School

Essex Heritage Organizing a Series of Scenic Byway Informational Meetings

Essex Heritage and its consultant team have scheduled a series of regional meetings focused on bringing together the members of the Scenic Byway Local Advisory group to gain input on the process. These local meetings held with local participants are a key component of the nearly two year process that will be undertaken to create a participatory corridor management plan for the 64 mile Essex Heritage Scenic byway that will link 13 coastal communities from Lynn to Newburyport. Each community that is part of the process will have representatives participate in three public planning meetings over the next several months. The first local meetings that have just been set are designed to gather information from area representatives on the roadway as it passes through a community and to discuss what travelers, both residents and visitors, using the byway should see, or know about when they arrive at a site on the byway. The first round of meeting will include six meetings that have been scheduled at convenient locations along the proposed scenic byway. These meetings started Wednesday of this week in Gloucester and will conclude on October 13, 2009 in Lynn. The second round of meetings that will be scheduled during November and December will have a public component and will be announced in advance so that anyone who wishes to participate can choose the best location for their attendance.

Marblehead Museum and Historical Society Reception

The Marblehead Museum and Historical Society invite and all interested parties to join them for a special reception on Sunday, September 20, 2009. The purpose of the reception is to welcome the descendants of Jeremiah Lee to the famous Lee Mansion on 9/20/09 from 4-6 p.m. This reception will be a unique opportunity to enjoy the Lee mansion and to meet Lee Family members who are traveling to this region for a reunion.

Mass Humanities Grant Awards

The Mass Humanities organization recently announced several financial awards to organizations in this region. Those awards are as follows:

  • $9,750 to Documentary Educational Resources for a trailer, and script for Down the Fort, a multi media project documenting the Sicilian fishing community in an area called “the fort” adjacent to Gloucester Harbor.
  • $2.025 to the Peabody Institute Library for In These Imperiled Times: the civil war correspondence of men of South Danvers, and to support public programming to accompany the exhibit.
  • $1,500 to the Methuen Historical Society to inventory and catalogue the Civil War related material in the city’s historical collection.

We are always pleased to see investments and grants made to organization in this region and will report those financial rewards when we can

City of Salem to Honor Retiring Chief of Police

I recently received an invitation to a well deserved retirement celebration for the Police Chief of the City of Salem. Robert St. Pierre will celebrate 36 years of service to the city when he is honored at a reception on September 30, 2009 at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Chief St. Pierre has been an exemplary public servant and recognition of his many achievements are well deserved. For more information about the reception contact Ellen Talkowsky at Salem City Hall.

As always, we welcome your question, comments and observation about this information and the work of Essex Heritage Tom Leonard

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Trustees, Ken Burns Documentary, NPS Summer Programs, Salem State Support, Topsfield Fair


New Trustees Appointed to Essex Heritage Board of Trustees

At the most recent Essex Heritage Commission Board of Trustees meeting three new Trustees were elected, and joined the policy making group of the Commission. The new Trustees include: David Read, of Topsfield the chairman of the Border to Boston coalition that is helping to focus the activities of the multi community effort to develop a recreational trail that will allow travel from Salisbury to Danvers, Sumner Jones of Salem and Eastern Bank who will chair the Essex Heritage Nomination Committee, and Jeff Korzenik of Marblehead, an investment councilor who provides financial services in this region. In addition to the election of the new Trustees the slate of Officers for 2010 were also reconfirmed. The group under the leadership of new President Kevin M. Tierney of Danvers, and President of Saugus Bank will help set the course for Essex Heritage in the time ahead.

Ken Burns Preview as a Part of Trails and Sails

Ken Burns, the noted creator of numerous video documentaries many of which have been shown on Public Broadcasting will show a preview of his latest work at the National Park Service’s Visitor Center in Salem on September 26, 2009. Mr. Burn’s latest work focuses on America’s Best idea, the National Park system. The series will trace the birth of the national park idea in the mid 1880’s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years. The National Park Service maintains 391 units across the country, with two units in this region, and has a presence in 49 of the 50 States (Delaware is the only exception). The National Park Service has had an impact on millions of Americans who have visited an NPS site and learned from that experience. The “Best Idea” preview will be shown on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. at the Visitor center as part of Essex Heritage’s Trails and Sails Weekend and will be free and open to the public. The entire series will be shown soon on Public broadcasting stations around the country starting on September 27, 2009 and times of showings in this area can be found in local television listings. Everything that Mr. Burns has produced and directed has been an artistic and educational success, and having viewed a brief preview of this documentary this effort will meet the usual standards set for Ken Burns work.

NPS Summer Programs in Collaboration with Essex Heritage

During this past summer, Essex Heritage collaborated with the National Park Service and others on several worthwhile youth projects. A First Jobs program was created that found employment for ten youngsters at the Parks and great lessons were learned by all of the participants. In interviews with some of the participants, they spoke of being able in the future to record that they had helped to” preserve historic fabric “for the future. A second program was completed in conjunction with the Boys and Girls club of Greater Salem where youngsters were exposed to both maritime and industrial history at the two parks in this region and also were able to enjoy field trips to other historic venues in the region. All and all these two programs were most successful, and it is hoped that they can be replicated in the future.

Salem State College Community Outreach Efforts

The leadership at Salem State College and particularly those at the Bertolon School of Business have been most active recently as they have reached out to the community and offered advice and support. The Dean of the Business School, K. Brewer Doran and her team have developed wonderful relationships with area community organizations where teams of students under the guidance of the school’s profession staff have provided service and substantial council to area not-for-profit organizations. I speak from first hand experience as a board member of the Danvers Historical Society who is one of the first organizations in the region to be offered support from the Business School. Over the past year substantial cerebral contributions have been made to the Danvers group, and improvements in the “way things are done” have been made that has helped make Danvers Historical a more efficient and better managed organization. The college will soon be expanding its sphere of influence in this region as the college will in 2010 begin to provide support to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem in the same manner as they did for the Danvers Historical Society group.

Topsfield Fair Begins in Early October

Last night I sat outside at the football game until after 10:00 dressed only in shorts and a short sleeve shirt, and was most comfortable. These first couple of weeks in September has been warm and pleasant, but a quick look at the calendar reminds us that fall is lurking just ahead. Fall weather in this region can also be wonderful and one of the events that speak of fall to me has always been the Topsfield Fair. This morning I received an update from the Fair Director, Jim O’Brien and they are once again looking forward to a series of excellent presentations, fair fall weather and enthusiastic crowds. This year the Fair opens for its 186th year on October 2, 2009 and operates through Columbus Day weekend. The fair is open every day from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. except on opening day when it opens at 4:00 p.m. and admission prices are most reasonable. This year there are many of the traditional events always offered along with some entertainment that will be most enjoyable for families. There are wonderful flower and vegetable exhibitions along with displays of arts and crafts and animal exhibits. In addition to the exhibits there is a midway to amuse children of all ages as well. For more information on the Topsfield Fair please see their web site at

As always we encourage your questions, comments and observations on this material and on anything connected with Essex Heritage. I can be contacted at

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Trails and Sails, Regional Health Project, Community Preservation Act, Bakers Island and Bishop Fenwick Celebration


Essex Heritage Trails and Sails Events

Over the next two weekends 9/18-20 and 9/25-27, Essex Heritage will once again present its signature event in this region, Trails and Sails. This year the venues remain the same with many of the most important sites in the region opening their doors to visitors at no charge, and numerous events scheduled across the entire region. The change this year is that the two weekends of activities can be scheduled by you the participant, electronically. Sign on to the Essex Heritage web site at www, and follow the links to find the Trails and Sails section of the site. This year the maritime treasures of this region will be featured and those opportunities are abundant. It is not too late for one to sign on to the site and create a personal itinerary that can lead one across a trip around the region on one of the many days during the life of the program. Essex Heritage is very proud of this program, and we are pleased that over the many years we have been offering these opportunities we have provided many residents of this region the chance to visit places that they may not have had access to in the past. An example of a Trails and Sails event, is the Arthur Wesley Dow walk offered in Ipswich by the Ipswich Historical Society where one can experience the views that inspired Dow.

Amesbury and Salisbury Health Project

Congratulations to the Towns of Amesbury and Salisbury for their forward thinking as they move forward on a "regional" health service for the two towns. The original plan called for the participation of a third community, but when that Town rethought their options and backed away from the concept, Mayor Thacher Keezar and Town Manager Neil Harrington "stayed the course" and continued on with the shared health facility. More and more initiatives like this one are needed in these difficult economic times, if the financial health of our local communities are to be maintained. Wonderful effort by these two municipal managers.

Community Preservation Act Hearing

A hearing is scheduled at the State House in Boston on September 29, 2009 where an act to sustain the Community Preservation Act is scheduled. About one half of the communities in this region have enacted the Community Preservation Act and have used the money raised to accomplish much in their individual communities. Land has been acquired and set aside for recreational purposes and affordable housing has been built all over the region. Essex Heritage has endorsed the sustaining of the Act and are hopeful the act will be extended with additional resources allocated to those communities that enact the program in the future.

Bakers Island and Essex Heritage

During the past summer, Essex Heritage has begun to take steps to make the portion of Bakers Island that has been assigned to them accessible to the public in the future. Improvements have been made to building's on the property and during the summer months, Essex Heritage secured the services of a couple who spent the summer living on the site, to take care of the property and helping to manage the improvements. During the next few months Essex Heritage and our partner, the National Park Service will continue to discuss plans to allow small groups of visitors access to the island in the future. All of the plans that have been discussed include provisions to be certain that the rights of the many residents who own property and spend the summer on the island are preserved.

Happy Birthday Bishop Fenwick High School

On Sunday morning I attended a fitting opening event to celebrate the 50Th Anniversary of the founding of Bishop Fenwick High School. A liturgy service was celebrated by the leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston that was attended by a large crowd of Bishop Fenwick students, families, alumni and friends of the Peabody school. Sean, Cardinal O'Malley presided at the mass and then greeted attendees at a reception that followed the mass. Last May, I concluded five years of service to the school on its Board of Trustees, and during that time considerable continuing progress has been made since the school became an independent entity. I was pleased to be a part of that progress, and enjoyed my participation at this progressive institution. Enrollment at the Margin Street school has stayed manageable and the tuition that is becoming difficult for many private schools has remained most affordable. The student population includes residents from dozens of Essex County communities and is most definitely a valuable regional asset. The Sunday service was the kickoff event in a year long celebration of the half century of educational services to this region, and a series of events to help bring attention to this milestone are scheduled.

A Personal Note

Since this BLOG is representative of my personal observations, I will make a brief comment about the start of the NFL season, and the return of Quarterback Tom Brady. For most of the 50 year history of the Boston/New England Patriots I have been a loyal season ticket holder, and certainly have enjoyed the recent successes of the team this last decade. I will be in attendance tonight in Foxborough when Tom Brady returns as one of New England's best known sports icon's, and certainly hope that he "picks up" his career where it paused last year with a serious injury. The Patriots are very much part of the sports history of this region, and many of us are looking forward to a series of new successes in 2010.

As always I invite your questions, comments and observations about the material in this presentation, and all that is happening in this region. I can be reached at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/11, Health Care, Regional Mayor's Presentations, Wenham Museum, Lawrence History Center

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today is the Eighth Anniversary of the Terrorist Attack in New York

For those that lost family and friends in the tragic attack on the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001 will forever commemorate this day as a day of remembrance and of mourning. May we always remember the losses suffered that day and forever remain vigilant to guard against similar actions in the future.

President Obama’s Call for Progress and Civility in the Health Care Debate

On Wednesday evening the President of the United States presented a passionate speech regarding his health care plan to a joint session of Congress. In his presentation he called for an end to bickering and made a call for a higher level of civility as the plan moves towards a final determination. One can only hope that those that represent all of us in Washington will heed that call, and continue these negotiation that can mean so much to so many Americans with a new sense of purpose and with an eye towards a debate that allows all points of view to be heard in a civil tone.

North Shore Chamber of Commerce Regional Leaders Breakfast

On Wednesday morning the North Shore Chamber of Commerce held their annual Regional Leadership breakfast with municipal CEO’s from this region. In attendance and presenting at the meeting were Mayor’s from Amesbury, Beverly, Gloucester, Lynn, Newburyport, Salem and the Town Manager from Danvers. The general theme of the meeting was upbeat even though economic conditions for local municipalities continue to be difficult. Cuts in State funding have been painful, and every one of the communities has had to make difficult cuts either in staffing or services, or both to balance the budgets of their communities. There was an underlying theme that was repeated time and again, and that is the need for more projects that rely on regional cooperation. It was also pointed out that in most cases the “devil is in the details” when it comes to regional cooperation. These municipal officials all agreed that on paper the regional ideas all seem to make wonderful sense, but when the task of implementing the activity sometime petty problems and staffing issues mar the process.

There were several specific issues raised during the meeting. The need to gain regional support by the sixteen communities that will make up the new merged Regional Technical High School that will be built in Danvers was foremost in the minds of many. Danvers Town Manager Marquis was praised for his leadership on this matter as was the North Shore Chamber of Commerce for their leadership and support, and it is anticipated that other communities follow the lead of Danvers and approve the merger as soon as possible. It should be noted that Essex Heritage was also one of the first regional organizations to offer an endorsement of the region Technical School concept.

The Mayor of Gloucester urged local business leaders to be aware of the infrastructure that supports the local communities. She pointed to that City’s recent water problem as an example of what can happen when aging facilities fail. She noted that across the entire region it will important in the future to consider facility upgrades. Salem’s Mayor Driscoll called on the business leaders in the region to help bring about changes in current laws that in many ways handcuff municipalities as they seek to make changes in the way municipal business is conducted that might adjust the control that the municipal unions have over that process.

Wenham Museum’s Annual Market Days

On Saturday, September 12, 2009, the Wenham Museum will once again host the 27th version of Market Days. This wonderful community event that takes over Wenham Center began in the early 1970’s and has grown over that time to the popular event that it has become today. On Saturday one can experience an end of summer arts and crafts fair that will feature over 50 exhibitors and when that feature of the fair is coupled with entertainment and a farmers market it makes for a special New England tradition. The event will run from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and the Wenham Museum will be the center piece of the event. Let’s hope that the weather cooperates and the crowds are large and enthusiastic. Wenham Museum is one of the many wonderful partners of the Essex Heritage National Commission and over the past decade they have hosted many wonderful events for us at that facility.

Lawrence History Center-Immigrant City Archives

On September 15, 2009 a new United States Citizenship and Immigration Service Center will officially open in Lawrence. On that day, the Lawrence History Center will be hosting the first ever Naturalization ceremony in Lawrence on that site and 16 new American citizens will be sworn in at that time. In addition to the “swearing in” ceremony, the founder and first director of the Lawrence History Center, Eartha Dengler will be honored by the Federal Government and will receive the Outstanding American Choice Award that day. This is a most prestigious award that has been granted in the past to Nobel Prize Winners, Fortune 500 CEO’s, Astronauts and Cabinet Officers. The award will be presented by Federal District Judge, Nancy Gertner and an audio message from President Obama will be presented. Congratulations to former Director, Dengler and to the Lawrence History Center.

As always we encourage your questions, comments and observations. I can be reached at or as 978 740 0444. Tom Leonard, President Emeritus.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gloucester Water Issues, Special Senatorial Election, MVCC Seminar,and Danvers Town Hall Fire

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

City of Gloucester Water Issue

It was good to read in the media recently that most of the City of Gloucester water supply was once again deemed to be safe and usable. The City of Gloucester has had a number of issues to deal with recently, and these have been turbulent times for this Cape Ann community. It is very good to see that this issue is now mostly behind them. The community relies, among other economic engines, on tourism, and the local restaurants in Gloucester have had a difficult time over the past several weeks. I would encourage all of you who have an opportunity in the near future the visit the City of Gloucester and enjoy some of the fine sea food products that are served in the many fine eating establishments in that community.

Senatorial Election Process

The recent announcement by former Congressman Joseph Kennedy that he will not seek to replace his uncle as a Senator representing Massachusetts has certainly “opened the door” to a number of potential candidates. Many elected officials and even some former elected officials, I suspect now view the potential to be elected to a seat in the Senate that has not been open for almost a half a century as most appealing. Essex Heritage will certainly keep a close eye on the special primary and general elections that will take place later this year, as the successor to Senator Kennedy will be most important to organizations like this one in both the near and long term. The recently departed Senator was a champion for many causes in Massachusetts and Essex Heritage was certainly a primary beneficiary of his interest. Funding for the efforts that we have undertaken to preserve the historic, cultural and natural resources of this area were obtained because Senator Kennedy certainly cared for and felt our mission worthy of support. We can only hope that the successor in that role will be as interested in the preservation of the important resources in Essex County as Kennedy was during his many years in Washington.

Merrimack Valley Chamber Seminar for Not –for-Profit Organizations

An informational piece from the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce arrived in my office yesterday, and it seems most worthy of being passed to our many friends in this region. In the most recent past, Essex Heritage has made a conscious effort to bring information about expense reduction and revenue enhancement to the many not-for-profit organizations in our region that we interact with throughout the years. That effort must be ongoing if we are all to survive in these difficult economic times. The seminar that is being offered by the MVCC is titled, Creative Leadership in Tough Times for Not-For Profit Organizations. The seminar is being offered next Friday, September 11, 2009 at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites in Andover starting at 8:00 a.m. and will last for one and one half hours. The presenters are well qualified and known to this organization. Dr. Donald Ruhl was one of the original group that helped to form the Essex Heritage Commission and he will be joined by Dr. Howard Brown in making the presentation. If you have an interest in attending this informational seminar the cost is minimal and more information can be obtained by contacting the Merrimack Valley Chamber of commerce at 978 696-0900.

New Intern at Essex Heritage

We are pleased to announce that we have been joined by Ms. Rachel Lovett, an Endicott College Senior as an intern in our office. Rachel is undertaking the study of New England History at Endicott, and we expect that she will spend some of her early time at Essex Heritage assisting in supporting the Trails and Sails events at the end of this month. In future postings, I will provide additional information about that event that certainly qualifies as the signature event for Essex Heritage.

Wrong Telephone Number for the Danvers Historical Society Golf Event

A couple of days ago, I provided a wrong telephone number if any of you had an interest in signing up for the golf fundraiser at the Thompson Club in North Reading being offered by Danvers Historical Society. The proper number to call to make a reservation is 978-777-1666.

Danvers Town Hall

Late yesterday afternoon a fire was reported the Historic Town Hall in Danvers. the fire was quickly extinguished, but not without damage. We do not have many details about the fire in the building first built in 1855, but Town Manager Marquis did report that the building is covered by insurance and any damage would be repaired. Essex Heritage provided a Partnership Grant to the Town to help in the preservation effort at the Town Hall.

One Personal Note

Over the last four months, my wife Marge has been undergoing treatments for a lymphoma that was first identified in May 2009. During that time she has received wonderful treatment first at Mass General Hospital in Boston and now at the Mass General/North Shore Medical Center facility on Endicott Street in Danvers. This morning she reached the mid point in the scheduled radiation treatments that she is undergoing that is the final phase of her treatments. All of the news we have received recently is most positive, and her entire family is most pleased and our expectations remain high for a complete cure.

As always I invite your comments, questions and opinions about the work of Essex Heritage. I can be reached at or at 978 740 0444

Tom Leonard, President Emeritus, Essex Heritage Commission

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Holiday, Essex Heritage Nominations, Kennedy's office Closure, and Local Events

Labor Day Holiday

This weekend has always been considered the unofficial end of summer in New England, and this year it is a truly spectacular weekend. It really does seem as if the summer is coming to an end, as the temperatures early this morning as I left the house for a workout were in the mid 40's. I don't intend to make this a long posting, but I thought that I would at least offer a couple of thoughts.
This holiday has always had a special meaning to my family as we have had a couple of medical emergencies in the past on this holiday, but all is well at present. My late father-in-law. Marty Waldron who was a working man all of his life, and a proud union member would always point out to me on the night before Labor Day, that "tomorrow's not labor day", meaning that for him he did not have to go to work that day, and he could have an extra day of rest. In any event Happy Labor day to you, and I hope that you all enjoy the day. The sun continues to shine, and a walk, a run, or just a pleasant day with families and friends will certainly fit the bill today.

Essex Heritage Nominating Committee Meeting

This coming Thursday, the new Essex Heritage Nominating Committee Chairman, Sumner Jones of Eastern Bank will be "calling a meeting to order" at the bank's location in Saugus. There are several openings for Commissioners this year, and we are certainly open to suggestions for nominees if you have any names to put forward. Commissioners represent the thirty-four communities in the region, and "speak" for the three quarters of a million residents in the Essex National Heritage Area. Please let me know if any of you have a nominee to be considered.

Senator Kennedy's Office Ordered to be Closed

We were sorry to learn that as a result of the death of Senator Kennedy, that his offices in both Washington and Boston have been ordered to be closed. The late Senator had assembled a special staff of aides over the years, and the work that they have been doing for many years with constituents from all over the State, who have government matters to be researched, has been superb. We certainly hope that some compromise can be reached to keep these offices open until a successor can be either temporarily named or a new Senator can be elected. The work that is being done to support requests from Massachusetts residents for help by those offices should be allowed to continue.

City of Peabody International Festival

It is not too early to point out that on next Sunday September 13, 2009, the City of Peabody, will be holding its annual International Festival in and around Peabody Square from 10:30 a.m. to 5:c0 p.m. This event is always a wonderful day, and thousands of Peabody residents and visitors from all of the surrounding communities come to the city to sample Peabody's cultural heritage. There will be entertainments offered and dozens of booths that allow one to choose from a wide variety of ethnic foods. There are several events leading up to the Festival, and more information on those events and the Festival itself can be obtained by calling the chamber or the city.

Danvers Historical Society Golf Tournament

On Monday, September 14, 2009, the Danvers Historical Society will be offering a golf tournament as a fund raising project at the Thompson Club in North Reading. Proceeds from the event will be used to foster the work of the Danvers Historical Society and to help preserve the many historical artifacts held by the Society. Spots in the tournament are still available, or sponsorship opportunities can still be obtained. for more information contact Danvers Historical Society at 978 774 9165.

As always, we welcome your comments or questions about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me at with comments, concerns or your thoughts. Thanks, Tom Leonard

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Regional Projects, Essex River Cruises,Andover Historical and Local Private Schools

Border to Boston Recreational Trail and Essex County Scenic Byway

Bill Steelman, the Director of Heritage Development for Essex Heritage in regular briefings has kept me informed, of the effort and energy that has been contributed by many in the region to make certain that these two regional projects continue to move forward. The recreational trail project became slightly “bogged down” when the distribution of the funding that was obtained for this project by Congressman John Tierney was held up due to a jurisdictional debate. Bill and many members of the regional committee that has been established and managed in part by Essex Heritage have been working on a solution to the funding issue, and is confidant that a plan will be in place soon to start the process moving again. On the Scenic Byway front, a comprehensive regional meeting was held in June, and the consultant that has been secured to mange this effort is in the process of setting up several local meetings that will allow community input into this program. It is expected that over the fall season these local community meetings will be held, and local elected officials and residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on what is important to their individual community and from those interactions a regional plan will emerge.

Essex River Cruises

One day last week, the staff of Essex Heritage spent a morning on their annual outing, and used the occasion to sample the scenic cruise offered by Essex River Cruises. The morning that the staff picked was a little cool, but the late summer sun soon warmed the day, and the experience was a most pleasant break from the normal routine of the office. Essex River Cruises are located on the salt marsh estuary in Essex, Massachusetts and is a wonderful opportunity to escape for a time to the unspoiled natural beauty of the Essex River. The cruises begin and end from a location in Essex that is surrounded by fine restaurants, antique shops, working museums and other cultural attractions. The cruise offers spectacular views of scenic salt marshes rich with unique wild life. The boats offer the chance to view the marshes, rain or shine, and are available through the fall season. The marsh itself is part of the Essex river that was formed 15,000 thousand years ago by melting glaciers of the last ice age, and serves as a feeding ground for many species of feeding birds and wildlife. It certainly is a trip worth taking, and the staff of Essex Heritage was most appreciative of the opportunity to sample some of the resources of the region first hand.

Andover Historical Society the Recipient of a Wonderful Grant

It was recently announced that the Andover Historical Society has received a $137,000 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services to undertake the creation of a data base of their extensive historic collections. Essex Heritage who has long played a role in the work to recognize and catalog the superb records in this region is particularly pleased to see this grant in place. Andover Historical like dozens of their counterparts all across this region have collections of artifacts, photographs and period clothing that need to be preserved, recorded and cataloged. The grant that is now in place for this Historical Society is great news and will allow one Society in the region to make substantial progress in their preservation effort. The data base that will be created in Andover will record information about each artifact, including its location, a photograph and a brief history of the item. When Andover completes their project hopefully they will share the process with others in the region, and possibly some kind of format could be set up for others to follow. Once again, Essex Heritage congratulates the Andover Historical Society on the perseverance and the wisdom that went into the decision to seek such a grant to accomplish this task. The completed project will certainly be a model for others in the region to emulate when complete.

St John’s Prep and Bishop Fenwick High Schools Celebrate this Fall

In my past, I have served both St John’s Preparatory School, and Bishop Fenwick High School as a member of their respective Boards of Trustees. I have always been particularly proud of those associations as I am very aware of the wonderful work that the two schools do in furthering the education of the youth of this region.

St John’s Prep in Danvers will be holding their annual Homecoming Weekend on the final weekend of September and will offer campus tours, most competitive sporting events and other activities for alumni. One event of great interest to me will be a luncheon where a presentation will be offered where opportunities for Prep Alumni to participate in a planned giving program for the school will be outlined. The school has established the 1907 Society and membership is available to all who make a planned gift of some kind to help continue the wonderful efforts to provide financial aid to worthy applicants at the Prep. I encourage all Alumni attending Homecoming weekend to consider attending that luncheon to learn more about how they can participate in the Planned Giving Program...

Bishop Fenwick High School will be “kicking off” a year long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of that school with a very special event next weekend at the school in Peabody. A special breakfast and liturgy is planned with Sean P. Cardinal O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston at the school on September 13, 2009. Those events is private, but please watch for other events all throughout this year that will help celebrate the golden anniversary of the Peabody school.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to offer observations on the work of Essex Heritage and other activities that impact our mission. I welcome and encourage any comments, questions or suggestions that you may have on this posting or any other matters of interest to the region. I can be contacted at

Border to Boston Recreational Trail and Essex Heritage Scenic Byway

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summer Institute a Success

During the recent two week long summer institute sponsored in part by Essex Heritage, 38 local elementary school teachers from many communities in this region participated in a summer institute. The ten workshops offered during the session focused on both "governing and "working". Th local educators gained insight into local historic sites using primary source material. Educators took home reproductions of money, tri-corner hats, butter churns and dory models. An Essex County themed game was developed by our museum educator for classroom use. Attending teachers earned three graduate credits from Salem State College and created their own interdisciplinary lessons. The fall gathering offered as part of this program is currently full to its capacity with several new communities represented for the first time. There will be one last group organized for Spring 2010 and for more information on registration for that session contact our museum educator, Rebecca Zimmerman at Essex Heritage.Salem FerryI recently used the Salem Ferry to take a trip from Salem into Boston. I relaize that we are fast approaching the time when travel by boat along our coast might be a bit too cool and windy for some of you, but if you have a chance before the seasons change take a trip from the Nort Shore to Boston. The Salem Ferry management is very organized, friendly and the trip is a real pleasure. Both my trip into Boston and then back to Salem was on time and the experience was most enjoyable. The accomadations in Salem are greatly improved for the first time that I took the trip, and the final destination in Boston is at the Aquarium and is very handy to shopping and great restaurants and shopping are close at hand. When my wife and I along with friends took the trip we lunched at The Union Oyster House that is famous in its own right and is owned and operated by Joe Milano who is an old friend from my days on the St John's Prep Board of Trustees. Joe is also a Trustee of Essex Heritage so I was able to enjoy a boat ride, a lunch in the City of Boston, and a chance to say hello to an old friend. The day we took the trip there were an equal amount of tourists making the trip from Boston to Salem so there seems to be a benefit for both communities.

Sophia Peabody Hawthorne

An interesting invitation crossed my desk this morning. I received a very clever invitation to a 200 th birthday party for Sophia Peabody Hawthorne. The event is being offered on Saturday, September 19, 2009 at the Old Town Hall in Salem. There will be lots of folks in period costumes and is part of a week long celebration to bring attention to the famous daughter of Salem, and her famous husband Nathaniel. For more information on to purchase a ticket contact the organizers at

Summer Institute, Salem Ferry and a Clever Invitation

IMPORTANT NOTE...I want apologize for the incomplete and garbled version of this posting that went out in error. The posting was inadvertently sent out well before it was finished and properly edited. Thanks for your understanding

Summer Institute a Success

During the recent two week long summer institute sponsored in part by Essex Heritage, 38 local elementary school teachers from many communities in this region participated in a summer institute. The ten workshops offered during the session focused on both "governing and "working". Th local educators gained insight into local historic sites using primary source material. Educators took home reproductions of money, tri-corner hats, butter churns and dory models. An Essex County themed game was developed by our museum educator for classroom use. Attending teachers earned three graduate credits from Salem State College and created their own interdisciplinary lessons. The fall gathering offered as part of this program is currently full to its capacity with several new communities represented for the first time. There will be one last group organized for Spring 2010 and for more information on registration for that session contact our museum educator, Rebecca Zimmerman at Essex Heritage.

Salem Ferry

I recently used the Salem Ferry to take a trip from Salem into Boston. I realize that we are fast approaching the time when travel by boat along our coast might be a bit too cool and windy for some of you, but if you have a chance before the seasons change take a trip from the North Shore to Boston. The Salem Ferry management is very organized, friendly and the trip is a real pleasure. Both my trip into Boston and then back to Salem was on time and the experience was most enjoyable. The accommodations in Salem are greatly improved for the first time that I took the trip, and the final destination in Boston is at the Aquarium and is very handy to Shopping and great restaurants and shopping are close at hand. When my wife and I along with friends took the trip we lunched at The Union Oyster House that is famous in its own right and is owned and operated by Joe Milano who is an old friend from my days on the St John's Prep Board of Trustees. Joe is also a Trustee of Essex heritage so I was able to enjoy a boat ride, a lunch in the City of Boston, and a chance to say hello to an old friend. The day we took the trip there were an equal amount of tourists making the trip from Boston to Salem so there seems to be a benefit for both communities

Sophia Peabody Hawthorne

An interesting piece of mail crossed my desk this morning. I received a very clever invitation to a 200th birthday party for Sophia Peabody Hawthorne. The event is being offered on Saturday, September 19, 2009 at the Old Town Hall in Salem. There will be lots of folks in period costumes and is part of a week long celebration to bring attention to the famous daughter of Salem, and her famous husband Nathaniel. For more information on to purchase a ticket contact the organizers at

I hope that you are learning from the postings on the Blog. If any of you have any questions about the information presented or have comments to make, please contact me at