Monday, June 28, 2010

Scenic Byway News, City of Salem Purchases Waterfront Lot, Summer Concerts in Amesbury, Peabody Bike Trail, Death in the US Senate


Essex Heritage Scenic Byway Spurs Local Community Activity

Interest and participation in the long-term sustainability of the 85-mile Essex Heritage Scenic Byway continues to grow following a springtime series of local meetings involving 13 Essex County communities. Though a strategic corridor management plan for the entire route will not be finalized until early next year, several groups are already taking steps to address the economic underpinnings that contribute to the region’s quality of life. Some of the communities that are participating in the Scenic Byway project have began to use the process as a catalyst to continue or begin local projects that build off the Scenic Byway program.

In Swampscott the byway discussions have inspired the Humphrey Street Revitalization Committee to start meeting again. The Gloucester Open Space Committee is using the byway existing conditions report on open space to guide revision of their Open Space Plan. Having come together on the byway local advisory group for Newbury and Newburyport, representatives of historic, cultural and natural resources groups are pushing ahead with more coordinated local efforts.

Community-based public meetings in the fall of 2010 will provide additional information about the corridor management plan and generate even wider enthusiasm for providing the best possible visitor experience, while enhancing the quality of life for residents. The Scenic Byway project “kicked off” in June 2009 by Essex Heritage with support from a consulting team led by the Newburyport-based planning firm of Taintor & Associates, the 21-month planning process is funded with grants from the National Scenic Byways Program and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

For more information on the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway please visit our website at


A couple of days ago, the City of Salem announced that they had come to an agreement with Dominion Energy to purchase a 2 acre parcel of waterfront land that will have a long term impact on the City and the region. The City of Salem and its energetic and persuasive Mayor Kimberly Driscioll has coveted this parcel of land for a long time and has been negotiating for its purchase since she took office in 2006. Dominion Energy deserves a great deal of credit for its commitment to the city as the parcel of land was sold to the City for nearly a half a million dollars less than they originally paid for the land. The land been leased from Dominion by the City of Salem and the Ferry that serves the City and brings thousands if visitors from Boston each summer currently operates from that site. Now that the City owns the site and access to the waterfront and the City is assured it is expected that the City will attempt to entice small cruise ships to visit the site and gain access to the many attractions in the city and the region. This acquisition could prove to be a wonderful addition to the resources controlled by the City and will likely be the key to the further development of Salem’s historic waterfront. The site is less than a half-mile from the National Park Service sits, and its splendid attraction the three master replica sailing ship, Friendship. The Derby Street waterfront could soon be a special attraction all by itself and when added to the plethora of other historic attractions in the City, this municipality and the region could become a magnet for area visitors.

Summer Concerts in Amesbury Sponsored by Newburyport Five

The Newburyport Five is one of the most generous community banks in the region. They have supported most every event that Essex Heritage has ever sponsored in the region we both serve and now they have announced that they will be the sponsor of a series of community concerts in Amesbury. The concert series that will begin on July 8th will take pace at the Upper Mill Yard Amphitheatre in Amesbury. The concert series will total three performances and will continue on July 15 and 22. The setting is wonderful and we know that you will enjoy the performances.

City of Peabody Addresses Bike Path Maintenance in Unique Way

Mayor Michael Bonfanii of Peabody recently announced a unique plan to keep the City’s recently competed bike path in the proper shape. Taking a page from programs that are used in many communities to beautify traffic islands and in some cases highways, the Coty of Peabody is calling for sponsors for sections of the new recreational asset in that community. The trail that opened last fall runs from behind the Leahy Clinic building at the North Shore Shopping Center to West Peabody with a couple of intersections where bicyclists must be careful when crossing. Sponsorship can be obtained for sections of the trail, and the sponsors will be expected to keep the trail open from encroachments by cutting back brush at least a couple of times a year, and keeping the area sponsored free of trash and litter by “policing” the area every couple of weeks. Signs that will identify the sponsor will be erected and in that way the sponsors can be recognized for their support. If anyone has an interest in learning more about the costs and obligations that come with the sponsorship can contact the Peabody Recreation Department at 978 536 7131

United States Senator Robert Byrd Passes Away

It was announced on Monday that the oldest serving member of the United States Senate passed away after a brief hospitalization. Senator Robert Byrd had served in the United States Congress since 1952. He was elected to the Congress when I was serving as a sophomore in High School. From experience I can say that is a long time ago. He served over one half a century as a US Senator. We in this region are indebted to Senator Byrd, as in addition to sending millions of dollars to his home state of West Virginia, while he was the chair of the senate Appropriations Committee he was asked by his friend, the late Senator Edward Kennedy to support an appropriation for the building of the replica sailing ship, Friendship. Kennedy provided letters and other material provided by the school children of this region, particularly mementos from students at the Phoenix School in Salem, to help convince Senator Byrd of the worth of this effort. In the end Senator Kennedy prevailed in his request and Senator Byrd’s Committee provided funding, and the Friendship was built. Today the Friendship now proudly acts as a flagship for this entire region. She has recently passed her sea trials and will soon be sailing in this region and up and down the east coast of this country carrying the banners of the National Park Service and the Essex Heritage far and wide. For that and other appropriations to this region that we have at least in part, the now recently departed Senator Robert Byrd to thank for that financial support.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thank You. Tom Leonard

Friday, June 25, 2010



The Danvers Preservation Commission recently used a regularly scheduled Selectman’s meeting to present annual preservation awards to Danvers residents and a company connected with the restoration of the historic Town Hall. An award was presented to Christine and Anthony Patton for their efforts to preserve the historic streetscape of their Locust street property. The Patton’s have long been connected with preservation efforts all over this region and at different times I have worked with both of them as they sought to preserve treasures in the region. I served on the Board of Danvers Historical Society with Tony a retired physician and Chris has for many years been connected with numerous initiatives in Salem. In this case they placed a deed restriction on the land that will insure that it cannot be subdivided and will remain in its present form.

The second award was made jointly to the Dale Gienapp of Gienapp Design Associates and the Town of Danvers for their efforts to in restoring and preserving the historic Town Hall building. The Commission felt the recognition was an important step as the Town hall is the oldest publicly owned building in the town dating back to 1855. Essex Heritage was proud to be a participant in this effort also as we provided a financial grant to assist the Town in this preservation effort. The effort as most successful as the Town hall has been reopened and the restoration effort is complete.

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program

Preservation of the heritage of this region has always been one of the most important aspects of the mission of Essex Heritage. Our mission has focused on preservation since our inception. The mission statement for Essex heritage calls for “the preservation, protection and promotion of the historical, cultural and natural resources of Essex County”. We are most aware that preservation and rehabilitation of the valuable assets found all over this region are critical to the continuing economic stability and viability of this region. Preservation means jobs for the tradesmen who reside and make a living in this region. Essex Heritage has always been an advocate for programs that help the region prosper and grow. One of those important programs is about to expire unless the Massachusetts Legislature takes action in the very near term. The Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program has a built in sunset inserted in the program and the date of that sunset is December 2011 unless a provision is added to the 2011 Commonwealth budget before June 30, 2010.

The Senate has included the needed extension in term until December 2017 in their version of the budget, but to date the House of Representatives have not acted. The bill is before the house now and the sunset extension needs to added to their budget before the budget is brought to the conference committee that will create the final budget bill for 2011 Let’s hope that the two houses of the Massachusetts Legislature can find a middle ground to see this program continued. The region will be better of with the program in place and will benefit from its continuation.


A couple of postings ago, I noted that Essex Heritage President Kevin Tierney, the CEO of Saugus Bank had announced that he was establishing a Development Committee to help Essex Heritage meet its fundraising goals. At the time of that posting, the members of the committee had not been finalized. That task has now been completed with one member appointment still pending. President Tierney has done a wonderful job in bringing together a mix of participants. Charlie Cullen, the President and CEO of The Provident Bank in Amesbury will chair the Committee. Charlie has had numerous opportunities in his career to be involved in the development effort of several organizations and he is a superb choice as the Chairman. The other members of the Committee are: Richard Yagjian the COO of Hunts Camera’s and Video in Melrose, Fred Winthrop the former Executive Director of The Trustees of Reservations, and Kevin Tierney as Ex Offico member of all Essex Heritage Commissions. I will also serve on the committee as a member, and over the years, I have been involved in development activities for numerous organizations in my banking career and in this second career with Essex Heritage. We are all looking forward to working with Mary Williamson, the Director of development and Communications for Essex Heritage. Mary has done a great job on fundraising to date and the work in the future of the committee will assist her in her efforts. The committee is organizing now and will meet early next month to set an agenda for the work ahead. We are still expecting to fill a couple of additional spots on the committee in the near term, and any corporations in the region who would like to learn more about the work of Essex Heritage should contact Mary Williamson at,

Beach Bash in Salisbury

If any of you re looking for a fun summer event for this weekend, it looks like the event at Salisbury Beach might fit the bill. The fourth annual Sand and Sea Festival will take place this Saturday and Sunday on the beach. There will be pirates, sing-a-longs and sand castles. The Town of Salisbury and the beach are making a comeback under the leadership of old friend and Salisbury Town Manager Neil Harrington. All of the leadership of Essex Heritage was most impressed with the spectacular Blue Water Music Hall and the Seaglass Restaurant when we held the Essex Heritage Hero event there last month. Those two venues are symbolic of the kind of upscale changes taking place on the beach. In this summer season Salisbury Beach might be a great place to visit this weekend or in the future. The beach event runs this weekend from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm on Saturday and until 5:00 pm on Sunday. For more information on this event mission go to www.beachfests,org

.Danvers Historical Society Hosted a Family Festival Event Last Week

After a couple of years when the weather was not terribly cooperative, this years Danvers Historical Society’s Harmony, Hot Dogs and Hits was a big success. The event drew a large and appreciative crown and the mansion at Glen Magna Farms was a great venue for the event. The music was superb, the food excellent and the Society attracted many new friends for the Glen Magna mansion that is the primary asset of the society. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped out that evening. Without your help the successful event could not have happened.

Medical Report

Over the last several days my wife Marge has completed a couple of medical appointments at Massachusetts General facilities in Boston and Danvers and continues to receive good news. The treatments that she received at the two hospitals noted were most effective and we are pleased that her health continues to improve

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thank You. Tom Leonard

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Essex Heritage Explorers and Photo Safari Programs, Ames Hall Restoration, Salem State University Staus, and a St John's Prep State Title



If you are a member of the Essex Heritage Explorers Program it is not too late to sign up for a visit the Salem Athenaeum. This wonderful literary and cultural center that is located on upper Essex Street in Salem is this year celebrating its 200th anniversary as a place where readers, writers and life long learners have visited for the last two centuries. The present location has only been in use since 1907 but the Explorers tour later this week will include visits to both the public and private spaces in this facility. A special showing of the current exhibit called Delights and Curiosities will be available to the Explorers that day. Please call Elizabeth Rankin at 978 740 0444 to make your reservation. You will certainly be glad that you took the time to include this visit to this famous Salem institution.


Do not forget to sign up for the next Essex Heritage Photo Safari sponsored by Hunts Photo and Video of Melrose. These events have become very popular and the information and advice offered are most helpful to photography enthusiasts. The vents are usually filled to capacity but call today to see if there is space available for this event or for future presentations. The next event is co sponsored by Cannon will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2010 and the Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover, MA. To sign up and to get more information on the event contact Emily Levin at the Essex Heritage office by calling 978 740 0444 or by e-mail at


A couple of weeks ago I missed the opportunity to comment on an important restoration project in Salem, but it is not too late to take note of the project. The Salem YMCA has undertaken a project to restore the historic Ames Hall portion of their building. The Ames hall restoration project is intended to make this century old hall into a modern performing arts facility. For all of us who grew up in Salem in the period just after World War 11, Ames Hall at the Salem YMCA was the site where a Salem institution called Teen Town was held on Saturday evenings. I would suspect that if you asked Salem residents and people of my generation about how they spent their Saturday evenings in the 1950’ s, Teen Town and Ames Hall would be consistent answer. The hall was used as a gathering place for teens of that decade and later into the 1960’s. The events held each Saturday evening was inexpensive and safe and was widely attended by teens from all across the city. This weekend gathering in downtown Salem took place a little before automobiles became prevalent and attendees walked from all over the City to attend the evenings where dancing, bowling and games like ping-pong and pool kept us interested and coming back each week for more. Ames Hall and Teen Town was the primary citywide gathering spot for young people of my generation.

The YMCA has certainly recruited the right co-chairs to bring attention to the need to raise resources to complete this rehabilitation project. Dr, Nancy Harrington, the former President of Salem State College and David Ives the CEO of North Shore International Insurance will do a wonderful job leading this effort. Their reputation in the City will bring attention to the project and the need for a new Performing Arts facility that could serve the entire region seems well outlined. It is certainly clear that Salem could use a performing arts facility like the one planned for the Ames Hall restoration and let’s hope that this initiative becomes a reality.


In the previous note, I mentioned the former President of Salem State College, and in this next issue, her influence is once again front and center. Now that the Massachusetts State Legislature has almost completed much of their annual budget deliberations they are turning their attention to issues like gaming and a change of status for the 150 plus year old college on Lafayette Street in Salem. Dr. Harrington during her term as President of the College long advocated for the change that would grant University status to Salem State. It seems likely that Salem State and many of its sister institutions in the Commonwealth might finally get that long-term wish of Nancy Harrington. The tradition of strong leadership has been continued with Dr. Patricia Messerey at the helm of the college and she has continued to carry the message of University status to our elected officials on Beacon Hill in Boston.

It seems that now with the complete support of Senator Fred Berry and Representative John Keenan that the change might be on the near horizon. The graduates of the college have traditionally stayed in this region after graduation, and they represent in many cases the current leadership of the region. There is certainly a strong alumni base of support in the region for the proposed change, and I am sure that group of supporters continues to weigh in on this issue. In the event that you see one of our local elected officials and you believe that University status for Salem State would be positive for this region, let them know of your support. Salem State College has been a strong and committed partner of Essex Heritage since our inception and we value the wonderful relationship we continue to have with the soon to be Salem State University.


It certainly appears that the North Shore Medical Center Cancer Walk on Father’s Day was both a social and financial success. From what I could see from my vantage point as an early morning walker, the crowds were large. My wife Marge and I began out effort at about 7:15 am to avoid some of the later day heat. Since the walk begins early for many like us that want to beat and the fact that the crowds are spread out over a six-mile journey, it is hard for me to estimate a total attendance at the walk. Marge and I walked with a group of Salem Five Bank employees that had gathered as they have done since the inception of the walk as supporters of this great charitable event. Let’s hope that the financial contributions on Sunday matched the large crowds. Marge has two appointments this week at the Cancer Center on Endicott Street in Danvers and walking in the Sunday event had special meaning for both of us.

St John’s Prep Wins State Title in Lacrosse

Congratulations to the Lacrosse program at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers as they won an exciting overtime victory to claim their first ever State title in Lacrosse. The win over defending state titlist Duxbury was hard earned and will be relished by the Danvers school for years to come. I know that there were several other local programs that did quite well in State athletic events this spring and the St. Mary’s of Lynn girls softball team also won a state title, and Masconomet baseball team fell just one victory short of a title.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thank You. Tom Leonard

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rally for Heritage Area's in Washington, Scenic Byway Meeting, Fiesta in Gloucester and North Shore Medical Center Cancer Walk



On Tuesday of this week several of us from the Essex Heritage office spent a long but fruitful day in Washington DC. We went to the Nation’s Capital to participate in a rally event that was sponsored by the National Alliance of Heritage Areas. This event was planned by the leadership of the Alliance to bring attention to the work of Heritage Area’s across the country and to build awareness of our collective missions. We were able to purchase tickets from a discount air carrier and used some of the private contributions that have been raised over the last years to fund the trip. The day began for us with a 6:30 am flight to Baltimore and from there we traveled by road to Washington for the rally. We were also very fortunate to be able to schedule visits to both of the congressional offices that serve the Essex Heritage Area. We made brief visits with both Congressman John Tierney and Congresswoman Tsongas. Both of our representatives in Washington were very busy that day and Congress was tied up with numerous hearings and votes on issues connected to the tragic oil spill that is ravaging the gulf coast of this country. We were also able to spend a little more time with members of the senior staff from the congressional offices as we provided them with updates on the many projects that we are working on for the benefit of the region.

The rally began at 1:00 and ended about 45 minutes later as a brief shower passed over the capital region. The rally consisted of a bi-partisan announcement by several congressmen who have Heritage Area’s in their home districts that they have created a Legislative Caucus that will help bring attention to the work of the Heritage Area’s and the benefits of these organizations to the country. The two Congressmen who represent the area we serve have both agreed to join the caucus, but unfortunately due to the busy schedule they both maintain to represent this district they were unable to make an appearance at the rally. They have assured us that they will participate in the efforts of the newly created Legislative caucus and see this initiative as a positive development. We are most hopeful that this new arrangement in Washington will have a positive effect on the way Congress views our efforts.

It was very pleasant to see some of other leaders of the Alliance who gathered to rally together. I have always had a most positive relationship with a couple of the early leaders of this movement, and it was good to renew acquaintances with them. Augie Carlino and Dan Rice, who helped form the Alliance, were both in attendance, and Augie Carlino from the Rivers of Steel Heritage Area in Pittsburgh moderated the rally. Augie and I have communicated through the years of this association particularly during the football season when he tries to root his Steelers to victories over the Patriots. I was also gratified to speak to many of my contemporaries around the county who commented on how they regularly read both my BLOG postings and the column that I prepare each month that appears in both our local newspapers and in our electronic newsletter that provides update on the activities of Essex Heritage.

Our day ended with a delayed touchdown at Logan International Air Port at about 8:30 pm. We were delayed on the runway in Baltimore as an Italian airliner had to return to Logan earlier in the evening with a fire in one of the engines. Thankfully there was no loss of life as a result of that issue and by the time we arrived in Boston the runway had been cleared and the plane in question was surrounded by a series of flashing lights in a remote section of the airport. As I noted earlier the day was a long one that began with a wakeup call for 4:00 am and an arrival back in Danvers at about 9:30 pm. The day was a long one but was beneficial for both the Essex Heritage.

Essex Heritage Scenic Byway Meeting

Early on Wednesday morning after we all arrived back from Washington, Bill Steelman held a meeting of the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway group at Ipswich Town Hall. The meeting of representatives from the thirteen communities that are part of this regional initiative was held to provide a current update on the work of the consulting team working on this project. Essex Heritage has provided the staff support to make this project a reality and was responsible for obtaining the funding that is currently driving this program. This initiative is a wonderful example of the power of Essex Heritage as we have been able to bring the leadership of these diverse communities together in a collaboration that will benefit the entire region. This project and the Border to Boston Rail Trail initiative are wonderful examples of the spirit that now exists in the region as communities come together for common benefits. This change to a more regional way of thinking is a critical in these more difficult economic times as funding is scarce and so much more can be accomplished collectively than one community can accomplish on their own.

St. Peter’s Festival Scheduled for Later this Month in Gloucester

I have always tried to use this BLOG to provide information on our partner organizations that may be of interest to you. From June 23 to June 30, the annual St. Peter’s Festival will be held in the seaport community of Gloucester. Highlights of the week long festival will be a road race on June 24, 2010. Later in the week, the famous greasy pole contest, seine boat races, a youth basketball tournament and a mass and procession of the St. Peter’s statue and the Blessing of the Fleet will all take place. For more detailed information about the events and the schedules of this event, go to

North Shore Medical Center Cancer Walk

Please do not forget that this Sunday, June 20, 2010 is both Father’s Day and the date for the North Shore Medical Center Cancer Walk. It is not too late to remember your Father, and a wonderful way might be to dedicate your walk this Sunday at the North Shore Cancer Center walk that starts and ends at Salem Willows at 8:00 am. It is not too late to register for the walk. My wife Marge and I are planning to walk with a group from my long time former employer, Salem Five Bank, and we hope to see you there. For more information go to

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex Happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thank You. Tom Leonard

Monday, June 14, 2010

Essex Heritage President to Name Development Committee, Trail Development in Newbury, and Favorite Logos



As Essex Heritage continues its efforts to become less dependent on public funding and more reliant on other forms of support the need to establish a Commission Development Committee becomes even more important. That need has been met with the recent appointment of a committee to address those needs. Towards that end last week, Essex Heritage President Kevin Tierney announced that he was appointing a Development Committee to assist Director of Development and Communications Mary Williamson accomplish her important tasks The committee will be made up of Essex Heritage Trustees and several Trustees have already agreed to serve on the committee. President Tierney has a couple of additional individuals to ask, and until that process is complete we will not make a formal announcement, but I can state that I will be a member of the group This new standing Commission committee that will help identify opportunities to increase the reach of Essex Heritage will be in place in the next week or so, and will be a great aid to the efforts of Essex Heritage to build awareness of its mission.

The Commission in its earliest days received substantial annual support from a federal allocation made through our strong association with the National Park Service and that funding source still exists although over time the federal commitment has been reduced. The national funding for Heritage Areas across the country has remained basically constant while at the same time, the number of Heritage Area’s in the country have been expanded by almost three times in recent years. This new interest nationally in Heritage Area’s has resulted in a reduced level of funding for Essex Heritage and has challenged management to seek other sources of funding to support our core programs. At the same time as the federal funding has been reduced, the economic conditions over the last few years has ended funding completely from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The funding from the State had only been in place for a couple of years, and was being used primarily to support the far-reaching Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program. It is our hope that as economic conditions improve in the future that the funding from the Commonwealth might be restored, as our commitment to regional preservation projects assures wide spread us of the funds across many communities. In the eight years that the Partnership Grant Program has been in place, well over 300 grants have been provided to our not-for profit partners and communities within our sphere of influence that totals over $1.8 million dollars. These commitments have accomplished a great deal and over $18 million in additional resources have been invested in the region.

Essex Heritage has been the beneficiary of wonderful corporate support in this region over the life of this initiative. Increasingly, we have seen that more and more corporate entities in this region have recognized the value of the expansion of the “quality of life” issues that Essex Heritage has become known for supporting across the region we serve. In addition to the wonderful corporate support that we have seen, each year more and more residents of this region are offering financial support to assist us in our accomplishment of our even mission. In this space a couple of posting ago, I noted that we are in the final stages of developing a membership program that we anticipate will help raise much needed funding in the future, but even with the increased support that program will produce more needs to be done across the total fundraising spectrum. We believe that the advice and council that this new committee will provide can be the catalyst for accomplishment of these needs.


With the recent official openings of the bike and pedestrian trails in Salisbury and Newburyport a couple of weeks ago, it was nice to a report that a neighboring community that was organizing to participate as well. The Community of Newbury and their organizing committee recently held an informational meeting with the other communities in the Eight-town collaboration that is linking their communities over the 28 miles Border to Boston Rail trail. The trail effort that is being managed by the staff at Essex heritage and will travel over abandoned rail corridors and ticked way roads between Salisbury and Danvers. The Newbury piece of the trail will follow Scotland Road and Main Street into Byfield Center and then into Georgetown. The long-range objective of the trail organizers is to link town centers, neighborhoods, schools, parks and recreational and natural assets across the county. If any Newbury residents need to gather more information about the effort in that community contact Martha Taylor at or call her at 978 465 0862 or one can always find information at the Essex Heritage web site at


Several weeks ago, local media sources provided a list of the most recognizable companies and logos in this region. Needless to say, when the list was published Essex Heritage was not to be found in the top ten companies. The top ten included such household names as ESPN, GE, Dunkin Donuts, LL Bean, Ben and Jerry’s, Samuel Adams, and Ocean Spray to name just a few. In fact I suspect that if one were to produce a list of the top 1000 most recognizable companies in Eastern Massachusetts we would not find Essex Heritage. We have worked diligently over the decade plus that we have been in existence to build awareness of our work, and some of our efforts like Trail and Sails have helped, but even with our low public recognition levels we will continue to pursue our mission, and with the help of our many friends and partners across this region, in time maybe Essex heritage will be become better known for its work in developing regional networks that work collaboratively to better this region.


On Tuesday, June 15, 2010 there will not be anyone at the Essex Heritage offices as the entire staff will travel to Washington D.C that day. If you need to contact any one of us that day, leave a phone message or an e-mail message and we will get back to you as soon as is possible. You may notice that the posting for Tuesday, June 15, 2010 was made on Monday evening as I am accompanying the office staff to Washington, and our flight leaves Boston’s Logan Airport at 6:30 a.m. and with arriving at the airport early, it did not leave much time to handle a posting that morning.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thanks You. Tom Leonard

Friday, June 11, 2010

Salem Rotary Club Correction, NSMC Walk on June 20th, Essex Heritage Nomination Process and Salem Partnership Annual Meeting


Salem Rotary Club Scholarship Awards Event

In my posting to this site on Tuesday, I made an assumption that proved to be false. I indicated in the information that I provided about the Salem Rotary Scholarship event that the meeting was held in East India Hall due to the generosity of the Peabody Essex Museum. It was quite true that the event was held at the Peabody Essex Museum, but the wonderful East India Marine Hall was provided through the generosity of the Historic Hawthorne Hotel. The Hawthorne Hotel has a relationship with the Museum to provide catering services and as part of that annual contract the Hawthorne is allowed to use East India Hall once each year for their purposes. The Hawthorne, under the present management team, has long has been known for their generosity to the community and elected to use its one time annual use of the famous museum hall to provide the wonderful setting for this important Salem Rotary event. The setting on Tuesday was perfect and I am reasonably certain that the young men and woman and their parents who received awards that day found the setting to be most memorable. For that important memory we at Salem Rotary Club have the Hawthorne Hotel to thank for their generosity. The event was spectacular and the Rotary Club and all of its volunteers worked diligently to be sure that the event and the setting were perfect, but it is important the thank, principal owner, Michael Harrington and General Manager Julie Leaderhaus of the Hawthorne Hotel for their generosity and their usual impeccable service that day and every other day that we avail ourselves of their services. I had the good fortune to serve on the scholarship committee and it was a real pleasure to be able to share the lunch on Tuesday with the recipients. I sat with a couple of the award recipients and was as impressed with them on the second exposure as I was when I first was involved in the interview process with them.

North Shore Medical Cancer Center Walk

A couple of days ago, I received a most professional mail piece from the North Shore Medical Center/Massachusetts General Hospital that focused on the upcoming Cancer Center Walk. The brochure provided some history on the two-decade-old event and focused on some of the people most connected with the walk. It was most positive to see my old friend and the creator of the event, Chris McCann featured in that material. This year’s walk that will be the 20th in this long term series of fundraising efforts for the local hospital is scheduled to be held on June 20, 2010, and will be conducted that day, rain or shine. If you have not made plans to participate in the walk it is certainly not too late and additional information can be found at or call for more information at 1-866-296-6900.

I was most involved in this event for a number of years both at my former employer and as a co-chair of the event for the hospital for couple of years. In the last couple of years we did not participate, but as a result of the care we received for my wife during this past year at the new facility on Endicott Street in Danvers, we have made a commitment to Walk 2010 and will be there on June 20, 2010. Marge and I are going to make the 10,000-kilometer walk that morning with many of my old friends at the Salem Five Bank. I hope that some of you who have not participated in this event in the past will consider walking for this important cause. Cancer is such a pervasive disease that it truly does at some time effect all families in some way, and these efforts can help to deal with this matter.

Essex Heritage Nomination Process

Last Tuesday afternoon, a meeting of the Essex Heritage Nominating Committee was held at our main office in Salem. The meeting was managed by out chairperson, Sumner Jones, recently retired Eastern Bank executive. In addition to Sumner the meeting was attended by former Massachusetts State Representative Forester “Tim” Clark, Danvers Attorney Wayne Eisenhower who also represents the Danvers Historical Society, Bruce Whear, President and CEO of Wire for Hire in Salem, and Executive Director Annie Harris and me. The meeting was called to begin the process of identifying a dozen or so potential candidates for the role of Essex Heritage Commissioner to be elected at the Annual Meeting in October 2010. This meeting was scheduled a bit earlier than normal as the summer months are always a difficult time to gather the members of the committee for a meeting. A number of names of individuals who could represents the views of this region were advanced by the group and it will be now be the responsibility of the Essex Heritage staff to make contact with the potential candidates to learn of any interest in joining out list of 150 Commissioners. After that preliminary process is complete a second meeting of the Committee will be held to finalize a list of new Commissioners to be presented to the Annual Meeting in October 2010. We are always interesting in leaders in this region who might have an interest in serving in the role of Commissioner. If any of you know of such a leader of if you might be interested in serving as a Commissioner please let us know of a candidate. We are anxious to continue to develop a list of candidates for the future.

Sumner Jones Elected to Serve as President of the Salem Partnership

Just a couple of hours after we adjourned the Essex Heritage Nominating Committee meeting, Sumner Jones who we spoke about in the previous item in this posting was elected the President of the Salem Partnership. That election was the final item on a busy agenda at the annual meeting of the Salem Partnership at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. This term of service to the Partnership will be Sumner’s second as the President. He served a term as President in the 1990’s and at that time he played an important role in the long term planning effort to get a new updated Superior Court building built on the court campus by the river in Salem. It seems appropriate that he will serve his second term during the time that the new Michael J. Ruane Court House will be completed and dedicated for use.

The 22nd annual meeting was well attended by the numerous members of the Partnership, the elected officials who represent this region and the general public. They were all there to hear a report from the Governor of the Commonwealth, Deval Patrick who provided updates on the work of his administration and the public works projects in Salem currently being supported by state funds. In addition to the report from the Governor we also received reports from Congressman John Tierney, Senator Fred Berry, Representative John Keenan and Salem’s energetic and talented Mayor Kimberly Driscoll. Warm tributes were paid to retiring Partnership Chairman Attorney Joseph Correnti, and President, Attorney George Atkins. The tributes were well deserved as the work that both of these gentlemen did to advance the mission of the Salem Partnership was legendary. Executive Director Patricia Zaido provided a look at the planning for the next year provided a general report on the work of the Partnership over the last year. As always the Partnership has an aggressive work plan for the year ahead and President Jones and Executive Director Zaido will be busy, I was pleased to be asked to attend the meeting as the guest of my former employer, Salem Five Bank. I sat with several members of the bank leadership team, including Senior Vice President John Hall, who like myself is a former President of the Salem Partnership. John is the current President of the Salem Rotary Club, and will be the President of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce next year.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thank You. Tom Leonard

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Scedule for the Day, Northern Essex Community College Retirement, Fundraiser for the Danvers Library


As noted in a posting a couple of days ago, I do not work a regular schedule during the summer, but I will be in the office today, and it will be busy day. I am not even sure if I can get to all of the commitments that I have made for this single June day, but I am going to try to play a role in every scheduled meeting. In my next posting on Friday, June 11, 2010 I will provide a report on the details of the various meetings, and anything that happened that I did not anticipate on this hectic day, but for now I thought that I would provide a outline of the day with a couple of pertinent comments.

  • As always, I will begin my day early at a local gym where I will workout as I do on most days.
  • At 7:30 am I will attend for at least a portion of the meeting, a board meeting of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem. The work being accomplished by the leadership and the staff of the Salem club are very important in the lives of many youngsters in Salem, and after a brief hiatus from this effort, I recently rejoined this Board. I look forward to continuing to work with them in the future as they continue to serve the youth of Salem. I will need to offer apologies later today, as the time just did not allow a trip however short to Salem this morning, and to still add this post to the Essex Happenings BLOG.
  • At 8:30 am, I will participate in the Board of Trustees meeting of the Essex Heritage Commission held at the North Shore Chamber of Commerce in Danvers. This regular, every other month meeting is important as the twenty-five community leaders who serve on the Essex Heritage board provides direction to the Commission as we continue to act on advancing our mission in this region. We will have a new Trustee who we will be introduced this morning who will then take his place on the board and will fulfill the unexpired term of a Trustee that had to submit his resignation. I will provide some additional information on that new Trustee and other actions taken at the meeting in a subsequent posting.
  • From late in the morning when I arrive at the Essex Heritage office in Salem, I will spend whatever time is available to catch up on communications and other administrative issues.
  • At noon, I will attend one of the most important meetings of the Salem Rotary Club that they schedule all year. On this day, the club and its Scholarship Committee will provide over two-dozen scholarships to the leaders of tomorrow who have graduated in 2010 from local schools and who live in Salem. I was privileged to be a part of the Rotary Scholarship Committee that helped evaluate the applications we received and managed the $40,000 plus dollars that will be provided today. Today’s meeting is special to the students and their parents who also attend the meeting, and the location of the meeting is equally special. Our usual Rotary meetings are held at the historic Hawthorne Hotel, and the meetings are always very impressive, but today through the generosity of the Peabody Essex Museum, this meeting will be held in the famous East India Hall at the Museum. I would suspect that this is a ceremony and a lunch that will be remembered by the scholarship recipients and their families.
  • I would suspect that I will be back to the office for a couple of hours after the Rotary meeting, and will use the time wisely to check up on a few more administrative issues with staff.
  • At 3:30 pm, this afternoon we have scheduled an Essex Heritage Nominating Committee meeting. Chairman Sumner Jones who after a long career with Eastern Bank and who now is serving as a Trustee for Essex Heritage will preside over that meeting as our Nominating Committee Chair. As a Trustee, I am pleased to serve on this Commission standing committee. This is the first time in many years that we have scheduled a Nominating Committee meeting this far in advance of the Essex Heritage Annual Meeting but we have found the waiting until September each year is too late, and gathering committee members in the summer is sometime difficult. We have called this group of Essex Heritage Commissioners together today and will present potential new Commissioners to the group. We will also seek their input as we continue to try to diversify the commission by color, sex, professional experience and geography. I expect we will have to have a second meeting before the Essex Heritage Annual Meeting in October 2010. We expect that this meeting should finish at about 5:00 pm.
  • At 6:00 pm this evening, both Annie Harris and I and several members of the Nominating Committee will head to the Hawthorne Hotel where the Governor of the Commonwealth, Deval Patrick will be the dinner speaker at the twenty-second annual meeting of the Salem Partnership. This annual gathering is always a highlight of the business calendar in Salem, as the Partnership has always been a leader in activities in this community. I still serve as Chairman Emeritus of this group and my partner at Essex Heritage; Annie Harris was the Executive Director of the Salem Partnership before filling the same role for Essex Heritage. I suspect that the dinner meeting will last until about 9:00 in the, so today will be a long but fruitful day.

Northern Essex Community College

We recently learned that the President of the Northern Essex Community College, David Hartleb has announced that on June 30, 2010 he will retire from that position. David has been a wonderful contributor to the success of the college and many other organizations in this region, including the Essex National Heritage Commission. David who has held the position of President of the Northern Essex Community College since 1996 also served as a Trustee of Essex Heritage for three terms totaling nine years, and for the last two years has been an Essex Heritage Trustee Emeritus. During his years at the college he has presided over a dramatic 43% increase in enrollments and an increase in the number of minority students at the college to a record 35% of the total student body. His association with Essex Heritage has been wonderful and we wish him all the best as he enters this new phase of his life where he wants to spend more time with his two grandsons who live in the mid west.

Peabody Institute Library in Danvers

Tonight if you get a chance, a visit to Kelly’s Roast Beef on Endicott Street in Danvers between 5 and 8 will result in a contribution to the reconstruction of the Children’s room at the Danvers Library. Kelly’s has agreed to contribute 25% from the proceeds of sales during that time to the work being done at the library. The Children’s Room at the library has not been updated since 1982 when it was first created. There have been several fundraising efforts undertaken in recent months including a pancake breakfast sponsored by the Danvers Kiwanis Club, and other efforts. If anyone wishes to make a personal contribution to this effort checks can be sent to the George Peabody Society/Children’s Room Renovations addressed to the Peabody Institute Library, 15 Sylvan Street, Danvers, MA 01923.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thanks You. Tom Leonard

Friday, June 4, 2010

North Shore Community College, Lynn Museum, The Friendship and a Visit to the State of Maine


North Shore Community College

I am proud to serve on the Foundation Board of the North Shore Community College and on the first mooning back after a long holiday weekend we were back to work at a meeting of that group. A great deal of our work revolves around raising funds for scholarships for the many young, and in some cases not so young students at those institutions. I have been connected with the College for almost a decade and during that time we have seem the awareness of the mission of the college grow with each passing year. The mission focuses on the education of many in this region who otherwise would not be able to attend college. The broad North Shore has embraced the work of the college in the last decade and more and more businesses are providing support to help the students achieve their dreams. At the most recent scholarship breakfast held late last month in Danvers a record $146,000 in individual awards in $750.00 increments was provided for the upcoming year. There were dozens on named scholarships provided to needy and worthy applicants that morning and that support for many is the difference between attending college or going without this much needed education.

The college whose attendance in these difficult economic times has reached record numbers and the two main campuses in Lynn and Danvers are filled every day with students seeking to better their lot in life. The college is funded in part by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but substantial additional funding is needed from both the residents and the businesses of this region. At the present time the college have undertaken a capital campaign to provide the required furnishing for a new building currently being erected on the Danvers campus. The President of North shore Community College, Dr. Wayne Burton is willing to sit down with any business in the region that would like to learn more about the importance of the college to this area. I am certain that after a session with Wayne, you will understand the value of North Shore Community College, and may then be willing to provide financial support to held them fulfill their mission.

This monthly meeting concluded with an announcement that in September 2010 the college will be hosting a reception on the National Park Service replica sailing ship, Friendship berthed at the Salem Maritime Historic Site to thank past and present donors for support. The college played an important role at its Lynn campus when the Friendship sailed to Lynn and vested for a couple of days a couple of years ago, and this is a nice way for the Park Service to thank the College for its past support. As the plans for that event become better focused we will provide additional information about that event in this space

Lynn Museum Announces Changes

While we are talking about Lynn and the work of the Community College in that community, we heard more good news from Lynn in the last week or so. The Lynn Museum is currently in the process of seeking funding from the community that it serves to help modernize the facility and make it more appealing to the youngsters in Lynn who need to know of the important history of that city. Under the direction of Board President Joseph E, Scanlon loll, former Lynn City Councilor and recently hired Executive Director Kate Luchini the museum is seeking gifts that will total $283.000. If that amount is raised, and the museum only needs to raise an additional $20,000 by September 2010 then the Lynn Museum will be eligible to receive a matching $283,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural council. Those combined funds would make the process of bringing the museum current and making it much more attractive to the region a reality. Essex Heritage offers the Lynn Museum our support in this effort, as one of our partner organizations in our broader mission to bring history alive in this region their success is most important to us as well.

Friendship Sails

Over Labor Day weekend 2010, the NPS replica sailing ship Friendship that we spoke of earlier in this posting, is planning an inaugural sail with non volunteers on board from Salem to Gloucester on day one, and then a second sail out into Gloucester Harbor on day two to view the schooner races in that historic port. We are currently working with the Bill Kielbasa incoming President of the Salem Rotary Club to make arrangements for members of the Salem club along with other local area clubs to secure the ship for that inaugural sail. There is a fee attached to this voyage, as the ship is costly to move, and those costs must be underwritten, and then any money raised will go towards the advancement of the many programs offered to the region by Essex Heritage. I any of you local Rotarians have an interest in this event I urge you to contact President Elect, Bill Kielbasa. If here is an interest in that experience we can put you together with the Salem Rotary Club

In order to make this inaugural sail possible, over the last several weeks, Friendship has been undergoing sea trials under the watchful eyes of the US Coast Guard, and from all reports those efforts have been going well. All of us that have been connected with the Friendship over these last years are looking forward with great anticipation to the day when Friendship can raise her sails and set forth from Salem to carry the region’s maritime history message far and wide.

Maine Coast

Over the last couple of days, my wife and I spent a couple of very pleasant days in the mid-coast section of the State of Maine. We celebrated an anniversary with a trip to the Samoset Resort in Rockland, Maine. We enjoyed a round of golf on that wonderful seaside golf course, and then worked our way back to Essex County yesterday dodging rain and thunder storms all the way back down the coast. We made stops at LL Bean in Freeport, Portland and Kittery along the way, and continued to see some signs of an improving economy, as the shopping locations we stopped at were active for an early June mid week.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thanks You. Tom Leonard

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Essex Heritage Examines Travel Opportunities. National Rally Plan in Place, Memorial Day and The Celtics


Change in Schedule

I began to post to this BLOG for the first time last summer when I was away from Essex Heritage for the summer season. I am once again away from the office as my commitment for 2009-2010 has ended. I provide services to Essex Heritage each year from Labor Day until Memorial Day, and since that holiday has now arrived, I will not be in the office regularly until the end of the 2010 summer season. I do stop in to the office whenever it is possible during June, July and August for staff meetings and the like to keep as current as possible. I also try to attend all of he Board of Trustee and Executive Committee meetings as well. During my time away I will continue to monitor e mail and other communications so I will continue to offer regular postings that will provide information on the work of Essex Heritage all summer. The Postings to Essex Happenings will continue on the same schedule and look for reports every Tuesday and Friday. The postings might be a bit shorter and may contain more personal information but they will continue, so continue to look for these postings.

Essex Heritage Examining Travel Opportunities

One afternoon last week we were very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with two of the senior staff people at the Danvers Senior Center to discuss their very successful travel program. Seniors in Danvers have been provided with an aggressive travel program for a couple of decades and each year there seem to be more and more options offered. The Danvers Senior Center regularly provides a wonderful mix of multi day trips and one-day programs to a wide range of seniors in Danvers. The schedule of trips offered range from international opportunities all over the world to overnight stops at New England sites and day trips to venues where a single day bus trip makes sense. The Senior Center earns commissions from their efforts, and those revenues are then used to underwrite other programs and to subsidize some of the very talented people who provide daily services to the Danvers seniors.

Two of the most talented are the two folks we met with last week. The Senior Center Director Pam Parkinson and Travel Coordinator Paula Corcoran were wonderful to work with, and they provided us with pertinent information and contacts for us to reach out to for help. We were seeking this travel information as part of the Essex Heritage long-range planning process that calls for an investigation of travel opportunities as a potential revenue generator in the future. As a result of our contact with Pam and Paula we were able to set up an appointment later this month with a travel agency coordinator who will help us in the investigative process to learn if there is an opportunity for Essex Heritage in travel coordination. Heritage tourism is a growing component of the travel market and this certainly looks like an issue worth considering. Essex Heritage in partnership with Hunts Photo and Video in Melrose has offered a series of photo safaris in this region and there are expectations that that program could be expanded to include travel to other locations. As facts are gathered and opportunities are investigated, look for more details in the future, if the process proves worthwhile.

National Heritage Area Rally Plans in Place

In the most recent past we have provided information about the efforts of Heritage Area’s across the country to coordinate a public awareness campaign to bring attention to the importance of Heritage Area’s to job creation and other benefits. That effort includes a local component that encourages our many local partners to “speak out” through a series of photos to support this effort. Many of these photos that depict the support we are seeking for our efforts are coming in every day to our staff. It is our intention to make certain that the Massachusetts Legislative Delegation in Washington has access to these many expressions of support for Essex Heritage.

The culmination of these efforts will be demonstrated in a rally in the nation’s Capital on June 15, 2010. Most of the Essex Heritage staff will be taking a break from our work in this region to take this one-day trip to Washington to participate in this effort. On that day, we along with many others from Heritage Area’s in the eastern part of this country will gather at the House Triangle on the grounds of the US Capital to participate in this effort. At the rally, we will hear from US Congressmen Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Paul Tonko of New York who will lead this effort. At the rally they will announce the formation of a House Legislative Caucus to support Heritage Area’s and will also discuss the continuing need for comprehensive Heritage Area legislation. In addition a house resolution that will create a National Day of Recognition for Heritage Area’s will be introduced at the rally. We will provide a press package to all in attendance, and will also make that package available to the Essex County press in advance of the rally. We have high hopes that this effort will bring attention to the importance of Heritage Area’s to the nation and the Essex County region in particular. We know that asking our partners to join us at this Washington rally is a serious imposition in these difficult econ0mic times, but if there is an interest in attending please contact us at the Essex Heritage office in advance of the rally so that we will know of your interest. We will continue to provide information on this effort, as the date of the Rally gets closer.

Long Memorial Day Weekend Weather Provided Opportunities

The weather certainly cooperated to provide a wonderful three-day weekend for many in the region. With the exception of a couple of showers the conditions were near perfect for the opening summer weekend of family cookouts and community holiday parades and services to honor military heroes. We spent the early part of the weekend on Cape Cod, where the crowds were generally larger than in recent years. The golf courses in this region were active and from what we could see motels and restaurants were also busy. Let’s hope that this is a sign that will help drive the local economy as the summer progresses. We arrived back in Danvers in time to view the parade that stops in the square for a salute and then on to the Town hall for some services. The parade was led by a couple of Danvers citizens who survived the battle for Iwo Jima that was highlighted in the recent HBO series on the war in the Pacific.

One Boston Team Successful

The win by the Boston Celtics in game six of the series against Orlando early this weekend coupled with the win by the Los Angeles Lakers sets up a wonderful series repeat. It seems that every couple of years these two historic basketball franchises go at each other in another NBA final. The series will be contested late at night due to the coast-to-coast rivalry, and for many of us including this writer those evenings may be too late for me, but I will still be rooting for another World Championship for the team in green from Boston.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thanks You. Tom Leonard