Friday, September 24, 2010

Essex Heritage Trails and Sails, Development Committee, Danvers Rail Trail, St John's Prep Headmasters Event and the Topsfield fair


Essex Heritage Trails and Sails

This weekend will mark the final couple of days of the 2010 Trails and Sails program. This ninth annual event has been most successful to date, and let’s hope that the weather this weekend continues to be pleasant and the crowds for the second weekend are as strong as they were in week one. There are several events scheduled for this weekend where I will be a participant, and I encourage all of you to visit the Essex Heritage web site at to plan your weekend. There is an event in Newburyport that I am planning to attend that certainly appeals to me. The Coast Guard Station on the Merrimack River was very active last Saturday and they are repeating the open house that they scheduled again tomorrow. From what I have heard there were large crowds last weekend and I intend to be a visitor this weekend. In addition to that event, there is a rock quarry in Rockport and several wonderful farms that will all be available on this final weekend. There are also sites available along the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway that will offer wonderful stops to explore.

The other event that I know that I will be attending is the Harmony in the Hall re -dedication concert in Tapley Memorial Hall at 13 Page Street in Danvers. The Essex Harmony group that is associated with the Danvers Historical Society will present a one hour concert tonight at that site that will offer a wonderful selection of music. I am pleased to have been asked to represent both Essex Heritage and the Society where I serve on the Board at this event, and will introduce the program. Tapley hall has recently been refurbished and a visit this evening to that location will allow you to view that work as well as to listen to the selections of music that will be presented

Danvers Rail Trail

Just prior to the Essex Heritage Trails and Sails weekend, the Danvers Bi-Peds were forced to cancel their scheduled event that was going to offer a tour to Explore the Heart of Danvers. That tour was going to offer walkers the opportunity to begin to explore the rail trail work on the 4.3 mile proposed Danvers Rail Trail, but had to be cancelled as the trail was not completed sufficiently to have walkers use the trail. That news was a disappointment to many both here at Essex Heritage and among the many interests in Danvers that have been working so hard to make this trail a reality. News in the last couple of days has been much more positive as the Town of Danvers planning Department and the community based Rail Trail Advisory group was elated to learn that work that has laid dormant for awhile would start up again in earnest. Recent discussions with the principal of the Iron Horse Preservation Society in Nevada have cleared up some issues and work to complete the trail should be done no later than the end of October. There are some additional rails and ties that need to picked up, a rough grade established along the trail, and some surplus crushed stone spread on the surface and finally some directional signs installed to complete the project. The signage project has been supported by Essex Heritage who provided a Partnership Grant to the Town to help with this phase of the project. This revised work schedule is very good news and work will also start up again in Wenham and Topsfield as well. The scheduled work that is now expected to be finished in the early fall will go a long way to help complete the Border of Boston Trail that has been a major project for Essex Heritage. The Commission has played a major role in developing the coalition of communities that has been involved to help create the Border to Boston coalition that when completed will run from Salisbury to Danvers and is another wonderful regional resource that will add to the recreational assets of this area.

Essex Heritage Development Committee

Earlier this week the Essex Heritage Development Committee met to review the status of its efforts to schedule a series of meeting with regional business interests to seek financial support to insure the continuation or extension of Essex Heritage mission. In the first weeks of this effort several meetings with local businesses have been scheduled and to date a number of meetings have been held. The results of these early meetings have been most gratifying and expectations of additional financial support from regional businesses are expected. The Committee under the leadership of Charlie Cullen of the Provident Bank has recently expanded and has added Mr. John Farmer, a Senior Vice President and commercial lender from Eastern Bank to its list of participants. He joins Essex Heritage President Kevin Tierney of Saugus Bank, Jack Good of Danversbank, Joseph Milano of the Union Oyster House, Fred Winthrop of Ipswich the former Executive Director of the Trustees of Reservations, Richard Yagjian of Hunts Photo and Video of Melrose and the author of this BLOG, Tom Leonard, President Emeritus of Essex Heritage. For additional information or if you are a business owner who wishes to support this regional initiative contact the Essex Heritage Director of development , Mary Williamson at or call 978 740 0444.

St. John’s Prep Holds Annual Headmasters Council Meeting

Last evening at Tupper Manor on the campus of Endicott College in Beverly, St. John’s Preparatory School held its annual Headmasters Council meeting. The evening was a wonderful success as both alumni and current and past parents gathered to socialize and to hear reports and expectations for the Danvers school from the Prep’s administrative team. My wife and I have attended these functions for many years, and last nights event was bit difficult as it was the first such gathering since the death last October of Prep Headmaster Emeritus, Brother Bill Drinan, CFX. At these events in the past we always made it a point to spent time during the event with Brother Bill. Brother Drinan was the Headmaster at St, John’s Prep during the dozen years that I served on the Board of Trustees at the school, and I worked closely with him over that period. The event last year was the last time that I was able to be with Brother Bill, who was a good friend and a wonderful supporter of the Prep. He was missed last evening and will continue to be missed by me and my wife. I will particularly miss him in the spring of 2011 when he will not be around to help my family celebrate the graduation of Brendan M Leonard ‘11 who will be a third generation of Leonard’s to graduate from the Prep. He will at that time join me from the class of ’54 and his uncle, Michael ’83 and his father Mark ’87. Since I first attended summer camp at the Prep in 1947, in 2011 we will complete a 63 year association with the Danvers school. .

Preservation Award provided in Ipswich

We were pleased to see, and Essex Heritage congratulates Sue Nelson of Ipswich on the occasion of her receipt of the Mary P. Connolly Award. The award is provided each year since 1992 by the Town’s Historical Commission to a local resident who has had a hand in the preservation of local Ipswich historic sites. Ms. Nelson has been involved with many preservation projects in Ipswich but was particularly involved in the preservation efforts of the 1677 Whipple House and 1800 Heard House.

Topsfield Fair

Now that the planning effort for Trails and Sails is over and all that is left for us to do is report on the number of participants who enjoyed the free events of the last two weekends, we can turn to the support of the Topsfield Fair. That event that will last for ten days early next month helps to preserve the wonderful heritage of the agricultural traditions in this region and the valuable open space still left in the area. Tickets are on sale at numerous locations around the region and we hope that all of you will make a trip the Topsfield location to support this century old tradition during the first ten days of October. Let is hope for a continuance of the fine weather we have experienced almost since 2010 began.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment