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

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