Friday, October 29, 2010

Essex Heritage October 2010 Awards and Halloween


Special Awards Offered at Essex Heritage Annual Meeting

Last Tuesday morning, at a very well attended meeting at the recently rehabilitated Carriage House at Lynch Park in Beverly, Essex Heritage conducted its Annual Meeting for 2010. In addition to some opening remarks by both Congressman John Tierney and Beverly Mayor, Bill Scanlon a series of reports were offered that outlined recent success and plans for the future. One of the highlights of this meeting is the presentation of Pioneers in Partnership and Special Recognition awards that are one of the staples of the Essex Heritage October meeting. The Pioneers in Partnership Awards are designed to recognize those in this region who work with others and Essex Heritage to make this region a better place to live and work. The Special Recognition Awards are provided annual to an individual who distinguishes themselves by their actions acting in a regional capacity. In my role as President Emeritus, of Essex Heritage I have been privileged for a number of years to announce these award winners and the following are the citations offered at the meeting.

  • Karen Kline, Founder of the American Community Think Tank

Karen Kline of North Andover has been nominated for a Pioneer in Partnership Award for the many initiatives that she has fostered that enhance and highlight the heritage of the Towns of Andover and North Andover. The nominations stated that “Ms. Kline embodies the concept of the phrase co-operation among the various resources and organizations of the area. She is a cheerleader for the culture of the Andover’s and exemplifies the spirit of working together to highlight the incredible cultural and environmental advantages to living in Essex County”. Ms Kline has been responsible for many programs in the region including, the creation of a program to recognize and honor the work of Anne Bradstreet, the seventeenth century poet and America’s first female poet. Karen helped honor the poet by organizing a concert featuring the Essex Chamber Music Players which was supported by the North Andover Historical Society and the Andover Cultural Council. She also successfully advocated for the adoption of a Poet Laureate for the Town of North Andover. In addition, Ms. Kline is a longtime participant in Essex Heritage Trails and Sails Weekends, for which she has organized numerous events in the Merrimack Valley region. We are pleased to present a 2010 Essex Heritage Pioneer in Partnership award to Karen Kline.

Ingrid Barry, of the Danvers Bi-Peds....In the Town of Danvers there have been a number of people who have advocated for the creation of safe bicycle and pedestrian accommodations in that community, but when one asks around the one name that rises to the top of the list is Ingrid Barry. Ingrid is the founder and president of the Danvers Bi-Peds, a nonprofit organization that focuses on making walking and biking safer in the Town of Danvers. Through her vision and leadership the Bi-Peds advocate for better sidewalks, organize bike rack installations and bike helmet give-aways, and participate in public awareness activities such as Essex Heritage’s Trails and Sails Weekends. But first and foremost Ingrid is a vocal proponent for development of the 4.3-mile Danvers Rail Trail that is currently being developed in the town. The trail is part of the 28-mile, eight-town Border to Boston Trail alignment. It was Ingrid who first introduced the Iron Horse Preservation Society and its unique “no cost” business proposal to the Town. The Nevada-based company recently cleared the entire corridor of its iron rails and wooden ties - at no cost to the town - and is now working to complete the trail’s natural surface. In addition to serving as the Bi-Peds president, Ingrid also serves on the Town appointed Danvers Rail Trail Advisory Committee and is playing an important role in the work of that group. We congratulate Ingrid Barry for her advocacy and efforts to make walking and biking safer in the town of Danvers and are pleased to award her a 2010 Essex Heritage Pioneers in Partnership Award

Coastal Trails Coalition.....Founded in 2004 with assistance from Essex Heritage, the National Park Service, and the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, the Coastal Trails Coalition has been the driving force behind a successful regional effort to create a 30-mile system of on- and off-road bicycle and walking trails linking the communities of Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport and Salisbury. Marshalling the imagination and energies of municipal officials and hundreds of volunteers, over four miles of rail-trail and seven miles of bike lanes have been completed to date. A notable milestone was reached on May 23 of this year when two spectacular new rail-trails were opened in Salisbury and Newburyport. The grand opening event drew 4,000 people and a host of local, state, and federal officials, including Lt. Governor Timothy Murray and Congressman John Tierney. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony the work of the CTC was recognized with a citation from the Massachusetts legislature. The two new trails are also part of the Border to Boston Trail. These efforts have resulted in the creation of safe and healthy recreational and commuting options for thousands of residents in the northeast region of the Essex National Heritage Area. Today we applaud the many long standing leaders of the Coastal Trails Coalition: Jerry Klima, Bob Straubel and Shelley Sheridan of Salisbury, Tom Horth and Elizabeth Marcus of Newburyport, Tracey Chalifour and Essex Heritage Commissioner Deb Carey of Amesbury, and Dan Streeter and Essex Heritage Commissioner David Hall of Newbury. We’d also like to recognize Essex Heritage’s own Bill Steelman who has helped make this truly effective regional partnership a reality. And lastly, we particularly thank Salisbury Town Manager Neil Harrington for his support of the CTC, the trail network, and for nominating the group for the award.

Special Recognition Award

  • Retiring State representative Mary Grant of Beverly

Mary Grant’s decision not to seek election in 2010 to the Massachusetts House of Representatives will impact more than those in her legislative district of Beverly. Since her election to the House in 2003, Representative Grant has been a staunch advocate for access to better health care, housing for the homeless, workforce development, and improved transportation.Mary has also been a vocal supporter of Essex Heritage, both on Beacon Hill and in the region at-large. She was a key legislative leader for the emerging Essex Heritage Scenic Byway that will positively impact the area for years to come. We are aware that Mary is planning to return to her roots in the health arena and use her training as a nurse to continue to serve this region. We congratulate state representative Mary Grant for her years of service and recognize her with a 2010 Essex Heritage Special Recognition award.

Halloween Weekend Upcoming

For many in this region the holiday that will be celebrated this weekend has become in many cases the second most important celebration on their calendar. We certainly hope that all who enjoy the parties and dressing in costume to assume another role will take great care to be safe and sane throughout the weekend. We urge everyone to take great care as they drive around this weekend, as there likely will be many youngsters out and about, Trick or Treating. It gets dark so early these days that it will be important to stay alert and keep a watchful eye out for revelers of all ages. For many merchants in Salem and other parts of this region, a very successful month of October will come to a close with the end of the month this weekend. We are pleased that so many will benefit from the Halloween season in both Salem and the region, but we are also pleased that on Monday, a new month will begin and Salem may return to a more normal time.

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, October 26, 2010

Annual Meeting, Photo Contest, Travel Alerts, and Lectures in Danvers


Essex Heritage Annual Meeting

Just after this posting is made to the Essex happenings BLOG, I am heading to Beverly to participate in the 2010 Essex Heritage Annual Meeting. In the Friday posting to this communication, I will provide some detail on the meeting and awards provided. We have added several new Commissioners, and as in the past recognized some outstanding people for their work in this region.

Essex Heritage Photo Contest Deadline

As we enter the final weeks of October, we are just about in the middle of the traditional fall season of the year, and that is such a wonderful time for photo enthusiasts. This is a spectacular time for all amateur photographers to take your camera in hand and record some of the wonderful scenes found all over this region where we live or work. There is a secondary benefit as well, as it is not too late to enter your pictures in the 2010 Essex Heritage Annual Photo Contest, The deadline for entering is November 1, 2010 so that only gives you less than a week to gather your photos and enter them in one of four categories that this years contest will feature. The four categories this year are: People, Essex Heritage Events, Essex Heritage Scenic Byway, and the Four Seasons. This is wonderful opportunity for the many amateur photographers in the region, and we know that there are thousands of you out there, to help capture the essence of the Essex National Heritage Area that speaks to Essex Heritage’s role in preserving the historic, cultural or natural treasures of this region. Look back on the photos you my have taken at Essex Heritage Photo Safaris, or at Trails and Sails events or along the 85 mile Scenic Byway along the Essex County coastline from Lynn to Newburyport. For additional information or for contest rules visit our website at Don’t hesitate and act today.

October is Membership Month at Essex Heritage

You only a have a few more days left to obtain a membership at Essex Heritage during membership month. The special promotion that hopes to sign up one hundred new members this month is fast coming to an end. There are great benefits available, and at the same time you will helping Essex Heritage as it continues to extend its reach and support of its numerous Essex Heritage partners. For more information contact Elizabeth Rankin at 978 740 0444 or contact us at

Travel Alerts

In parts of Europe there have been a number of recent travel alerts issued with an eye toward possible terrorist activities. It appears that France has been particularly careful and some airlines have even cancelled certain flights to and from that country. These kinds of alerts are difficult for the travel industry in general and also have had a negative effect of the general health of the world wide economy. Fortunately for this region the threats that have surfaced in other parts of the world do not seem to be causing much of a slowdown here in Essex County. The crowds of visitors that are flocking to Salem particularly on weekends are maintaining a record setting pace. Weekend weather so far in October has been excellent and the fact that this year there are five full weekends in the month of October has been most advantageous to the regions Halloween celebrations. One of the barometers used each year to measure the success of the season is hotel bookings, and at a recent meeting of the Salem Partnership two members of that segment of the Salem market indicated that the month would be setting records in bookings over any previous year. Another of the barometers used to measure visitors has always been the evidence presented by the Park Rangers at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site Visitor Center on liberty Street in downtown Salem, and while the numbers are not yet official, it appears that counts of visitors to that location are also at record high levels, From a purely personal observation, parking in the city of Salem is becoming more and more difficult to find as the month moves ever closer to the Halloween Holiday and the traffic on the roads in and out of Salem is as heavy as I can ever remember. The final weekend of the month long celebration is just a week away, and it certainly appears that the visitation in all parts of this region are up, and the financial benefits of that will be most positive as we head towards the end of the year.

Danvers Historical Society Lectures Offered

Whenever possible, we try to provide information about lectures and presentations that are being offered in this region that help extend our mission. The Danvers Historical Society has scheduled two events for their members and prospective members. The first of these sessions in scheduled for tomorrow evening and the second event is scheduled early in November. The events are as follows:

  • Wednesday, October 27, 2010…Dan Tremblay of Heritage Films will present a short film appropriate for the season at the Tapley Memorial Hall entitled “Local Haunts and Ghosts”. The event will be free to all, and light refreshments will be served.
  • Wednesday. November 10, 2010…Attorney Richard Gilmore, a past president of the Society and the Deputy General of the Mayflower descendants will present at 7:00 pm at the Society’s Endicott Mansion at the Glen Magna Farms property a lecture entitled “Genealogy/Plymouth Colony/Mayflower Descendants. This event is free for Society members and $5 for those not yet members.

For reservations at either Danvers historical Society events, call 978 777 1666 or e-mail

Dredging and Sand Restoration Project in Salisbury and Plum Island

Over the last several months, mush has been written in both this communication and other media sources about the Merrimack River dredging project, the project has been on the drawing board for many years, and over the last three years both the leadership and the residents of both Salisbury and Plum Island have bee anxiously waiting for the project to begin. The project was planned to solve both the need to provide a major dredging effort on the Merrimack River maritime channel, but also to redeposit the sand dredged in the effort in the two locations where it so desperately needed. We now hear that effective October 13, 2010 that the massive $5.5 million dollar project is now complete. This time around the dredged material instead of being deposited off shore was pumped onto the two endangered beaches. In total almost 150,000 cubic yards of sandy sediment was pumped onto the beaches , with 36,000 yards being deposited in Salisbury and the remaining 111,000cubic yards supporting the effort to hold back the ocean from the many Plum island residence that have been attacked for the last several years by the angry ocean during traditional Northeast storms. This has been a major undertaking accomplished with a combination of federal, state and local funds and we can only hope that this will help “stem the tide”.

Boston Professional Winter Sports Teams

When the end of the season Major League baseball playoffs begin, and the local entry is not part of the action we are always disappointed, but spring will come soon enough and we can always hope for better results in 2011. But even with the Red Sox early departure, there is much positive to relate relative to the local professional entries to be encouraged about. I am enjoying watching the young catcher for the San Francisco Giants, as in 2006 and 2007 he was the acknowledged leader of the Yarmouth/Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod league and led them to two titles. He is certainly living up to the promise that was evident at that time. The New England Patriots have surprised many with their early success and seem posed for at least a run at the playoffs, and the Bruins are trying to help us all forget the collapse this past spring, and their season has started with a new 18 year old projected super star on the team and more promised scoring in 2011... As always the Celtics remain a constant of sorts as they have “beefed up’ with a couple of large bodies including the incredible “Shaq” to make another run at a championship that fell just one game short in 2010. So let’s look forward to this new winter sports year with great optimism. In New England, hope always springs eternal.

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, October 22, 2010

Essex Heritage Annual Meeting, Archaeology Month, Salem Preservation Project, SJP Homecoming


Essex Heritage Annual Meeting

Next Tuesday, October 26, 2010, the Essex Heritage Commission will hold its annual meeting at Lynch Park in Beverly at 8:30am. The meeting is open to the public and it is not too late to make a reservation to attend. The event is scheduled to be held at the Carriage House at Lynch Park in Beverly and will provide an opportunity for residents of this region to view a truly historic location, and see the work that a committed and dedicated volunteer group is accomplishing as they restore this famous old property. At the meeting a number of new Commissioners who will serve Essex Heritage over the next three years will be announced. We expect that United States Congressman John Tierney who has played such an important role in the development of this regional initiative will also be in attendance and will offer some thoughts on the role of the Commission in the region. In additional to Congressman Tierney, Beverly Mayor William Scanlon will bring the greetings of the City to the meeting and its attendees.

The meeting will also provide an opportunity to learn more about current projects of Essex Heritage like the Border to Boston Bike Trail from Salisbury to Danvers, and the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway that covers 85 miles of historic roads in the region adjacent to our spectacular coastline from Lynn to Newburyport. The presentations will help you to ascertain how those projects will impact the region and the residents who live in this area. A series of Pioneers in Partnership awards and Special Recognition Awards will also be announced that morning. Details about an exciting trip sponsored by Essex Heritage to the Northern National Parks in conjunction with Collette Tours will be outlined and additional information on a planned session with a representative form Collette Tours at the National Park Service Visitor center in Salem will be provided. The current status of the well received Essex Heritage Membership program for both business and personal members will also be provided. To make a reservation to the meeting contact Emily Levin at 978 740 0444 or contact her at

Archaeology Month October

A couple of weeks ago we received a mailing from the Massachusetts Historical Commission that outlined a schedule of events in this area that are available to residents during October 2010 that has been named Archaeology Month by the Commonwealth. During the month of October, there are more than seventy five events that will be offered around the state that promotes awareness of the Commonwealth’s rich archaeological past. The events that are offered promote the past through fun and engaging projects. I went thought the listing of offerings and found two events that are being offered at the end of this month in locations within the Essex Heritage Area. For a more complete listing of the state wide array of events or to check on last minute changes visit the State’s website at Brief outlines of the two local Essex County events are as follows.

  • Amesbury….A Maritime Archaeology Dig at Lowell’s Boat Shop

Join local maritime archaeologist and historian Graham McKay and the head of the Massachusetts State Board of Underwater Archaeology, Victor Mastone at Lowell’s Boat Shop at 459 Main Street, Amesbury on October 30, 2010 at 10:00am for an intertidal dig. The floors of this historic building have been swept into the adjacent river for over 200 years and there is likely much to be found. Participants will have the opportunity to dig trenches in the intertidal zone under the debris chutes to learn what has been deposited in the river over these last two centuries, During the recent Essex Heritage Trails and Sails event, I had the good fortune to visit Lowell’s Boat Shop for the first time, and I found the facility to be most intriguing. I am certain that if you take advantage of this opportunity that you will be rewarded. Participants must register by calling 978 834 0050 or by accessing The fee for participation is $5.00

  • Haverhill….Tombstones and Trowels

Discover archaeology at the Haverhill Historical Society/Buttonwoods Museum at 240 Water Street, Haverhill, MA. The Museum has also been a long time affiliated visitor center for Essex Heritage, and during your visit you can pick up information on Essex Heritage as well as sample the exhibits at the museum. Try your hand at archaeological skills like cleaning and reconstructing art artifacts. Participate in a mock dig, create a “spooky” archaeology project and then explore the nearby Pentucket Burial Ground. With a scavenger hunt as your guide discover how tombstones provide vital clues about life and death long ago. Admission to this event has been set at only $5 per family.

Local Preservation Project Outlined at Salem Rotary Meeting

Earlier this week at the Salem Rotary Club weekly meeting, two prominent former Salem Rotarians and good friends of mine, Dr. Nancy Harrington and David Ives provided an update on a campaign that is underway in Salem. The effort to restore historic Ames Hall in the YMCA building on upper Essex Street was outlined. The campaign is a major restoration project that will restore the century old facility and develop a new Creative Arts Center for the region.

In my youth growing up in Salem just after World War ll, I was a youth member of the Salem YMCA and have fond memories of Saturday mornings in the pool and at the gym in that facility. Later in life during the earliest days of my employment at the Salem Five Bank, I became a senior member of the Y and used the facility at lunch hour to enjoy a break and a workout. But my fondest memories of the YMCA and Ames Hall was of a social event that was offered for all Salem youths that began in the late 1940’s and continued will into the early 1970’s called Teen Town. Every Saturday evening while school was in session all though the early 1950’s my friends from Salem regularly attended the evening’s entertainment at Teen Town. Life was certainly simpler then and certainly less complicated, and teens from all across the City of Salem regardless of where they attended high school would gather for an evening free of any alcohol and we danced to a DJ, played pool and ping pong and bowled on a two alley section in the basement all for the most nominal admission fees one could imagine. Salem then and now is a walking city, and we came by foot from all over the city without having to climb into cars to enjoy the activities offered each Saturday evening at Teen Town.

Now the Capital Campaign leadership for this restoration effort is planning to offer a Salem YMCA Teen Town reunion on the evening of November 6, 2010 at the old location in Ames Hall. Entertainment and refreshments will be offered and for many in this region it will be a chance to return to younger days when we all enjoyed the camaraderie that was so evident each evening at that time in Salem. The reunion is moderately priced at $25.00 a person and all of the proceeds earned that evening will be put toward the restoration project. I expect that during that evening at some time, an overview of the main capital campaign project will be provided and the hope of the leadership is to find a few more supporters for the main campaign. For advance tickets to the November 6th event call 781 990 7084 and I suspect that you need to act quickly as the tickets may go fast for this event.

St John’s Prep Homecoming Event

Last weekend on cool and windy Saturday, St John’s Preparatory School held their annual Homecoming event. The day seemed to go very well, and even though the Prep lost the football contest with St John’s of Shrewsbury, the day was not a complete loss as the soccer team won their game against Malden Catholic High School. The event was very well attended and we enjoyed seeing several “Golden Eagle” classmates at a luncheon between the two athletic contests. The day ended with an alumni liturgy in the schools chapel, where a former chaplain for the school celebrated a mass. At that time alumni who have passed on since the last Homecoming event were noted and a remembrance was offered.

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, October 19, 2010

Essex Heritage Travel, Senator Berry and the Salem Partnershp, North Shore Alliance Position and Danvers Library Receives a Grant


Essex Heritage Joins with Collette Travel to Offer Tour

Just a couple of weeks before Trails and Sails, Essex Heritage announced that that they had entered into an arrangement to offer travel with Collette Travel. That arrangement will offer a trip to the Northern National Parks in August 2011. The trip will include stops in Salt Lake City, Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone National Park with its primary attraction, Old Faithful and Grand Teton National Park and other optional side excursions. The tour will be offered first to friends of the Heritage Area and Essex Heritage has only just begun to provide information on this trip to our friends. Now on November 3rd a representative of Collette Travel will join us at the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem at 2 Liberty Street from 6:30 until 8:00 PM to provide an overview of the eight day trip that will include air fare, many meals all offered with the services of a professional guide. Please consider joining us that evening to obtain much needed information if you have an interest in this trip. Please RSVP here if you wish to attend.

Salem Partnership/Senator Fred Berry Presentation

On Friday morning the Salem Partnership Board gathered at the Hawthorne Hotel to hear a report and an update from Massachusetts State Senator Fred Berry. The meeting was generally most positive until the subject of the sales tax roll back was discussed. See more on that issue in the article below. Senator Berry spent the bulk of his presentation recalling the many State funding commitments that have been made to the benefit of the old county seat including a major courthouse improvement and a substantial commitment to build a new parking garage adjacent to the new courthouse. The major recent influx of funds that have found there way to this seaport city, will substantially benefit-planned improvements to a parcel of waterfront land that the city will soon acquire from Dominion Energy. Funding of $3.75 million that will come from a combination of Federal and State funds will allow the city to start planning for upland projects and to complete some immediate improvements to the current temporary pier. The City has plans to build a more permanent pier that will be able to attract tour vessels and other commercial marine interests in the future. There is also a recent commitment of funding that will allow for some much needed dredging in the inner harbor. It was generally agreed that much of this activity would not have been possible without the support of the State delegation led by Senator Berry with the backing of State Representative Keenan and The City leadership. The Senator completed his presentation by taking some questions that focused on the plans for the Legislature in 2011. He and Representative Keenan both were in agreement that the casino/gaming issue would be revisited along with health care reform of both public and private sector. There will likely be an effort to help small business particularly as it pertains to rapidly rising health care premiums.

The meeting ended with two pieces of information that will certainly have an impact on the downtown that is already most active. It is not just Halloween that is drawing folks to the city. It seems that almost every week a new retail store or restaurant is opening for business in the city and that activity is helping to drive the activity levels higher... It was noted at the meeting that as the courthouse facility is completed, there is every indication that the recently renamed Salem State University will continue its interest in some of the surplus space in the old superior court building. The other bit of news that will certainly have an impact on the downtown is that the four decade old pedestrian mall is going to be studied soon to determine how that much maligned and widely discussed retail area can be updated. The public will be invited to participate in that study process.

North Shore Alliance for Economic Development Announces Position

When the leadership of Salem State University and the North Shore Community College advanced the concept of the creation of the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, Essex Heritage was asked to participate. Since the organization was founded we have participated in many of their initiatives and they have reciprocated with an active endorsement of both the Border to Boston Bikeway and the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway transportation initiatives that we are advancing. The Alliance is a broad based coalition of numerous organizations that are all interested in the well being of this region and there goals certainly meet all of our mission criteria. At a recent meeting, the Alliance took on the thorny issues of Ballot Question 1 and 3 that seek to roll back taxes on the sale of alcoholic beverages and the general state sales tax. The Alliance board at its August meeting discussed these two matters in great detail and then issued a statement of opposition to the rollback as it was determined that the “perfect storm:” of a then existing $2.5 billion structural budget deficit when aligned with the potential for a $2.6 billion cut in sales tax revenue would result in State budget cuts in local aid, education, human services, health care and public safety that could be calamitous to the state and this region. It was pointed out that if the rollbacks called for in state wide ballot questions 1 and 3 were approved it would result in a FY 2011 State budget that would need to be reduced by over $5 billion from the already difficult to manage FY 2010 budget. While we at Essex Heritage cannot take a formal position on this issue, I certainly can indicate that I personally feel very strongly that this is not the time to affect the proposed tax cut. I believe that as the economy returns to more normal levels in the future every effort should be made to establish programs to consolidate services and institute budget, pension and other reforms to allow for the gradual reduction of these tax burdens. From everything that I have recently read, the poling numbers on this issue have the outcome very close and too close to predict. I would encourage all of you to take the time before the election day that is now just a couple of weeks away, to do your own personal research this issue as the outcome of this ballot question may have long term ramifications for many of us in this region.

Danvers Archival Center Receives Unexpected Grant

A couple of days ago, Essex Heritage received a copy of a letter from one of its longest-term partners, The Peabody Institute Library in Danvers. The letter announced some wonderful news for one of the “arms” of the Library, the Archival Center. The center that is managed by the Town Archivist, Richard Trask has been notified that they are the recipients of an unexpected grant in the amount of $25,000 from the Annenberg Foundation of California. The grant that will be paid in two installments over a two-year period is a result of a visit to the Danvers Archival Center by the Annenberg Foundation team who were there to do some research and filming for their “Explore” project. The focus of the visit was the material in the center that pertains to the story of the 1692 Salem witchcraft events. The announcement of the grant is wonderful news for the Library, and is confirmation of the importance of the work accomplished in the center at the library.

The Danvers Archival Center was established in 1970 as part of the Danvers Historical Commission master plan. The purpose of the center is to collect and place in one central location, protected from fire, atmospheric and insect damage and still available to the public all the written and printed material relating to the history of Danvers and Salem Village. Dick Trask has been the Town Archivist serving at the center since its opening and over the years that Essex Heritage has played a role in the preservation mission in this region, he has been a wonderful resource to this organization. The grant while unexpected is certainly attributable to the usual approach that is taken by the Danvers Town Archivist who has always been a wonderful, enthusiastic and open supporter of all such efforts in this region. In addition to his work at the center, Dick has been most helpful to Essex Heritage as he has regularly offered advice and council to us as well as playing an active role in the past on our Partnership Grant Committee. I am proud to serve with Dick on the Board of Trustees of the Danvers Historical Society where his guidance is always much appreciated and his support for the efforts of that organization a wonderful resource...

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, October 15, 2010

National Alliance of Heritage Areas Meets in Salem. Scenic Byway Community Meetings Scheduled, Salem Partnership Meeting and Gordon College Lectures


Alliance of National Heritage Areas Visits Essex County

During much of this past week, Essex Heritage has been sharing the wonderful resources of this region with three-dozen of so quests from the Alliance of National Heritage Areas. These delegates who represent the leadership of many of the other Heritage Areas in the country are here in Essex County for the fall quarterly meeting of the Alliance. They scheduled this visit here to this region and particularly to Salem at this time to flavor a bit of what visitors flock to this region in October to share, Haunted Happenings and Halloween, The visit began officially on Tuesday evening when the National Park Service welcomed the delegation to a warm opening reception on board the chilly Friendship at the Salem Maritime Historic Site. That event was quickly followed by a presentation on Wednesday morning at the Regional Visitor Center in the converted Salem Armory that the National Park Service shares with the Peabody Essex Museum. That session included a viewing of the NPS welcoming film “Where Past is Present” shown several times each day at the center. It has been awhile since I have viewed that film about the history of this region, and it was good to see the chronicle again. For those of you who have never viewed the film, it is worth a trip to Salem to see the film that depicts so much of the regional history we have set out to help preserve.

After the film showing and an orientation to the upcoming session, the delegates boarded a bus and wound there way north for a “bus window” view of the charming, retail oriented historic seaport of Newburyport. From there the bus headed into Newbury and I along with the others on the tour enjoyed a most informative tour of the Spenser-Pierce-Little Farm in Newbury. The tour at that site was conducted by Bethany Groff of Historic New England that manages the house and grounds at the farm. The property features a seventeenth century manor house built as the country seat of a wealthy Newburyport merchant of that time. In addition to the historic house, during a visit one can explore nature trails, view farm animals or share a picnic lunch on the spacious pleasant grounds. The farm is a wonderful spot for family outings and Historic New England has worked hard to make the visit an interactive experience for the entire family. This was my first ever visit to this location and I was most impressed with the experience and I would certainly recommend the site for a visit..

After the visit to the Newbury farm, I left the formal tour to return to our office, but I rejoined the group later in Salem. The group went on from Newbury to visit other regional attractions along the planned Essex Heritage Scenic Byway. Essex Heritage is particularly indebted to the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, H. A. Burnham Boat Yard, and Woodman’s where a truly New England lunch of their famous and delicious sea food was enjoyed. In the afternoon the tour continued to the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, and the Cape Pond Ice Company. The tour returned to Salem in time before the end of the day for a visit to the Yin Yu Tang house at the world famous Peabody-Essex Museum.

On Thursday the group spent that day on Alliance related issues at meetings all day at the Hawthorne Hotel, and then finished their stay in Salem with a late afternoon visit to the Salem Witch Museum that is so popular at this time of year, and a walking tour of Salem led by the inaugural Essex Heritage Hero award winner, Jim Mc Allister. Essex Heritage is indebted to all who made this visit a special one for our contemporaries from across the country, and we expect that they all took the flavor of Salem at Halloween back to their respective Heritage Areas,

Essex Heritage Community Planning Meetings for Scenic Byway

Essex Heritage has announced that the first public forums that will be held in all thirteen communities that make up the Scenic byway have been scheduled for October and November 2010. The forums that will held from late October 2010 through January 31, 2011 are designed to allow the public an opportunity to learn how the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway can offer the best possible traveler experience while enhancing the quality of life for residents along the eighty-five mile costal route. The byway that has been funded through grant funding from the National Scenic Byway program and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is currently developing a corridor management plan for the byway. Anchored by the gateway cities of Lynn and Newburyport, the byway will pass through Swampscott, Marblehead, Salem, Beverly, Manchester-By-The Sea, Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, Ipswich, Rowley and Newbury. The initial meeting scheduled for October and November will be held on the following dates and locations.

  • Thursday, October 21, 2010……….Lynn City Hall, Room 302
  • Wednesday, November 10, 2010….Rockport Public Library, Brenner Room
  • Thursday, November 18, 2010……Gloucester City Hall, Kyrouz Auditorium
  • Tuesday, November 30, 2010……..Salem City Hall Annex, 3rd Floor.

For more information on the public meetings and the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway please visit www.essexheritage,org/scenicbyways.

Salem Partnership Holds Monthly Meeting with Senator Fred Berry

Each month the Salem Partnership conducts a meeting of all of its board members to keep them current on major issues, such as the courthouse construction, the Parking Garage status and waterfront activities. This months meeting scheduled for this morning has been moved from the usual location at the Salem Five Bank Community Room to the Hawthorne Hotel in anticipation of a large crowd who will attend to hear an update from the State Senate’s majority leader, Senator Fred Berry. In a subsequent posting I will provide a more detailed report of his presentation.

The Salem Partnership has also announced well in advance of the event that will serve as the annual meeting for 2011 will be scaled back a bit. The meeting will be held on May 11, 2011 and will feature a very short business meeting and a presentation from former North Shore resident and current Publisher of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, David Shribman. Shribman is a former Washington Bureau Chief of the Boston Globe, and prepares a series of current columns for the Salem News. The scaled back event will be held at the Phillips Library at the PEM, and is offered as no new Officers or Trustees need to be elected in 2011 and the meeting in 2012 will be a bit grander as the community based organization will celebrate a quarter of a century of partnership with the City of Salem that year. The Salem Partnership was the precursor organization of the Essex National Heritage Commission, and Annie Harris and I continue to serve the Salem partnership on its Board of Trustees.

Gordon College to Host Lectures in Salem

One of our neighbors here in Salem is about to begin a lecture series. Gordon College Institute for Public History has recently announced the inaugural season of a new lecture series at Salem’s historic Old Town Hall. The series will begin on Thursday, November 19, 2010 and will, feature a presentation by Richard Francis, who will present material on Judge Sewall who presided over the infamous Salem Witch Trials. The series will continue on the third Thursday of each month through May 2011. Subscriptions and individual tickets can be purchased online at

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, October 12, 2010

Holiday Weekend, Essex Heritage Membership Update, and Newburyport Seeking Designation



All of us were particularly blessed this past weekend with perfect New England fall weather for the Columbus Day Holiday. This is one of those unusual Holidays when some have the Holiday off from work, and others like the retail sector are busy at work on Monday. For those that had the day free the long weekend ended on Monday, and for the most part, it was just like the first two days with pleasant days, cool evenings and lots of sunshine. I spent the first part of the long weekend on Cape Cod where the wind was very strong, but the pleasant temperatures drew big crowds over the bridge to that part of the Massachusetts coast. The cape this weekend was crowded and there were a number of craft fairs like the Seaside Festival in Yarmouth and other attractions to keep the crowds active and helping to keep that local economy booming.

I headed back to Essex County early by way of a soccer tournament in Natick that drew an amazing 650 youth teams including two teams from Northborough that included a couple of Leonard Grandchildren. On Monday morning I attended a Danvers High School Field Hockey game where another granddaughter participated and added a goal in a 3-1 win over neighboring Peabody bringing the Danvers Varsity record to a positive position.

After that game my wife and I made a brief visit to Salem to pick up some material in my office and explored a bit on Essex Street with big crowds already in Salem before noon to share in that communities famous Haunted Happenings event. On the way back to Danvers we could already see the traffic heading up to Topsfield for the final day of the Topsfield Fair in that community. Speaking of the Fair, I hope that the pleasant weather on the first and last weekends led to a financially successful event. It appears that at least most of the days were reasonable and that should mean good crowds. My wife and I made a visit to the Fair on a cool and damp Wednesday evening, and even though the weather was not great; we enjoyed the exhibits of flowers and crafts that were under cover. We also took in one of the performances of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and their Musical Ride. The Mounties and their equestrian partners put on a wonderful performance that is both athletic and precise. The Mounties only appear in Topsfield every other year but their performances are a highlight of the fair.

Essex Heritage Membership Program Update

On the Friday before the long Holiday Weekend, Essex Heritage offered a members only event at the Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton that was a great success. The visit was arranged on a most pleasant day, and a tour of the farm and a picnic lunch were provided. Essex Heritage members were exposed to a one-hour tour of the farm that is a certified organic farm operating right here in Essex County. The day was most informative and those members that attended learned a great deal about modern farming methods. Essex Heritage will be offering more programs like this in the future and keep in touch with planning by visiting often,

During the last week the Development Committee efforts have produced another Essex Heritage business member. We are truly pleased to announce that the Georgetown Savings Bank a Federally Chartered Bank founded in 1868 with branches in Georgetown, North Andover and Newbury has agreed to become a business member. We are most appreciative of their support. In the next week or so we have several additional appointments with Essex County businesses and expect to continue to add to the list of business members in the next several weeks.

Newburyport Seeks to be Named the Birthplace of the Coast Guard

A week or so ago, we reported on a stop that we made to the Coast Guard base on the Merrimack River in Newburyport. That visit was offered as part of the 2010 Essex Heritage Trails and Sails event. It was a most informative visit and we were particularly impressed with the work being done to save lives and protect maritime property from that location We are now very happy to learn that the leadership of the City of Newburyport has embarked on an effort to secure a designation for that community as the Birthplace of the Coast Guard. The claim and it seems most worthy is based on the launching of the curter Massachusetts from Newburyport in 1791. That cutter was the first such vessel to enter active service for the US Revenue Cutter Service which later became the Coast Guard. Essex Heritage is pleased to support to this effort in any way than we can. The community of Newburyport has long been one of our most active partners for the last decade and those efforts to seek this designation are to be lauded and we applaud those efforts. Similar to Salem that recently received notification that they are noted as the birthplace of the National Guard, this designation if awarded will only add to the prestige and heritage of this region.

Slightly Truncated Version of Essex Happenings Offered

With the Holiday falling on a Monday as it did, it has been a little difficult to get this posting out on time and with reasonable content. Finishing this work without having access to Essex Heritage staff and regular office hours has caused me to offer a “slightly” truncated version for today. We will return to regular length postings on Friday of this week after the visit of the Alliance of National Heritage Area’s to this region.

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, October 8, 2010

Final Trails and Sails Results, North Shore Medical Meeting, Presentation by Essex County Sheriff, SJP Planned Giving and North Shore Chamber Meeting


Essex Heritage Trails and Sails Final Results

Over the last several weeks we have filled this space with information on Trails and Sails the premier annual fall event offered by Essex Heritage. If you would bear with me one last time in 2010 we want to be able to report that our best estimates are that 4000 people in the region participated this year. The printed guide that was created was well received and we look forward to continuing improvements and participation next year. The final word is to thank all of our partners who opened their doors and welcomed the residents of the region and many visitors that joined us over the six-day length of the event. We are pleased that you participated and hope that you are all looking forward to a bigger and better 2011 Trails and Sails.

North Shore Medical Center Meeting

Earlier this week, I participated in a meeting in Peabody that was organized by the North Shore Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Partners Health Care. The meeting was the largest of these annual meetings that I have attended. I was there as a member of the NSMC Board of Overseers and there were also Board Trustees, hospital staff and many of the donors who have provided support to the hospital over the years. The NSMC Board Chair, Rich Holbrook, the Chairman of Eastern bank moderated the meeting, and he was assisted by the Chair of the Board of overseers, former Eastern Bank Chairman Stan Murkowski who together have provided wonderful support to this important regional resource. Eastern Bank has long been associated with the hospital that maintains major campuses in Salem Lynn and now Danvers. The presentation focused on the achievements of the last year, and the first anniversary of the new facility on Endicott Street in Danvers that has exceeded all of the expectations of the Partners leadership team. Reports on major improvements to both the Salem and Lynn campuses were noted, with particular attention to a major new 40-bed state of the art intensive care unit in Salem. An overview of the twentieth anniversary NSMC Cancer walk was provided and it was noted that the walk has raised twenty million towards cancer care in this region. The keynote speakers for the evening were from the operating arms of Partners, with presentations provided by Dr. Thomas lee, of Partners Community Health Care and Robert Norton the CEO of NSMC. They provided overviews of how Partners Health Care are continuing to seek better systems to continue to improve the medical services provided in this region always with the thought of providing the best medical care possible to the patient. The only negative note of the evening was a continuing concern that reimbursements from Medicare and other insurance carriers are continuing to lag behind then costs associated with medical services and that trend needs to reverse or the entire medical community could be in some difficulty. The presentations were all to the point and as always, I came away from the meeting with more medical knowledge that I had when I arrived at the event.

Essex County Sheriff Presents Information

Every couple of years, the Salem Rotary schedules Sheriff Frank Cousins as a luncheon speaker, and the Sheriff visited with the Salem club on Tuesday of this week. It is evident from his remarks and the statistics that he provided that the Essex County Correctional facility in Middleton and his other facilities in Salisbury and Lawrence continue to show progress when compared to their peers. At the present time there are about 1200 inmates in the Middleton facility and another 500 or 600 additional men and woman at the farm in Lawrence and a facility just for woman in Salisbury. Each year the system releases about 1250 former inmates back into society and in recent years two of out of every three do not return and start to live a more productive life. The average stay of an inmate in Essex County is only seven or so months so in a very short period of time the officials at these facilities need to move very quickly to change habits. GED certificates and other educational experiences are available, and this process seems to have an impact on future behavior. Work release programs are also available and every inmate at the Lawrence Farm needs to perform community service to pay in some way for their actions in the past. That service in many cases comes as cleanup crews on the county highways, but in some cases jobs are found. Two current projects that the Sheriff spoke about was a move to establish 24 to 36 cells in Middleton for Woman so that the current program to ship all female prisoners to Framingham State prison can be changed. This will certainly make visitation and legal services much more accessible. The local officials are also looking at arraignments and bail hearings to be accomplished electrically that would make the transport of prisoners’ between the jail and court facilities in Salem and Lawrence safer for the public.

St John’s Prep Planned Giving Efforts

One of my most pleasant current tasks is to co-chair a Planned Giving Committee at St. John’s Prep. The committee that includes Alumni from several different decades and a couple of very enthusiastic parents who currently have sons who attend the school meets a couple of times a year and the meetings are always most lively. At this months meeting we were provided an update on the current activities at the school by Principal Dr, Edward Hardiman The mission of the group is to assist the leadership of the Advancement Office at the Prep to develop strategies to encourage alumni from the Danvers school to make commitments to the school as they work through their estate planning. The efforts to date has been most encouraging and a number of wonderful gifts have been made to help the school as they continue to try to keep the school affordable for students from numerous economic conditions. Each meeting produces a number of ideas to help move this effort forward and the committee is always pleased to see that the concepts advanced twice each year are turned into actions to interest more alumni to consider a gift to the program. If any readers of this BLOG have a Prep connection and desire more information about the many opportunities offered in this program, contact Ms Debra Marino at

NSCC Breakfast Meeting in Danvers

Earlier this week, as the guest of Salem Five Bank, I attended the monthly breakfast meeting of the North Shore Chamber. The meeting featured presentations by both Governor Deval Patrick and Congressman John Tierney. Clearly in this election season, the presentations focused on the accomplishments of both elected officials. This is a most difficult time for Congressman Tierney with the current legal issues that have been raised concerning his wife’s activities caring for the family of a brother who has not been in this region for awhile. As someone who has had numerous interactions with Congressman Tierney over the last several yeas, I personally hope that as Election Day nears the voters in this region will remember all of the hard work and conscientious efforts expended for the region by the current Congressman will be remembered.

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, October 4, 2010

Essex heritage Development, Scenic Byway, North Shore Elder Services, Danvers Council on Aging, NSMC Meeting


Essex Heritage Development Activity

The month of October has been identified as Membership Month by Essex Heritage. Several mailings have been sent to friends of the Commission and a broad e-mail appeal was delivered that outlined the benefits of becoming a member. Up to this point in the life of Essex Heritage we have always been able to rely on the funding that we have received through our association with the National Park Service. We certainly anticipate that the funding from that important source will continue into the future, but with the large numbers of Heritage Areas that have been created or are anticipated, coupled with increased pressures on Federal funding, it is imperative that Essex Heritage reach out to the public it serves for some substantial level of financial support. That effort will be an important part of our work for some time, but for now we have focused a great deal of energy on raising awareness this month. We are gratified with some of the very earliest results this month so far, but encourage any of you who see the benefits we have and will continue to offer to this region as positive to consider offering your personal support. Memberships start as low as $35.00 for a single senior or $55.00 for a senior family membership up to a friend level at $100, 00 with levels in between for regular memberships. There is an even higher Supporter, Benefactor or Sustainer levels for those who wish to offer an even higher level of support. A complete listing of all the various levels of membership can be found on the Essex Heritage web site at . Please consider providing a level of support to this effort as Essex Heritage relies on your participation and active involvement to fulfill our purpose. A membership furthers the mission of Essex Heritage by connecting people to the places and stories of the Essex National Heritage Area.

Some categories of membership allow for participation in regional events sponsored and managed by Essex Heritage. One of those events is scheduled for this Friday, October 8, 2010 at the Green Meadows farm in Hamilton, where members can enjoy a New England farm tour and picnic lunch. For more information about this event and how you can participate contact Elizabeth at 978 740 0444 or online at www.essexheritage,or/membership.

Essex Heritage Business Membership Activity

In addition to the personal memberships outlined above, there is also an active business program in place. In the past we have reported on previous participants in this program, and we are now pleased to announce that in the last couple of days, Pentucket Bank, Haverhill Bank, the Newburyport Institution for Savings and the Hawthorne Hotel have all agreed to becomes business sponsors of this effort.

Essex Heritage Scenic Byway

Planning efforts to keep the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway moving towards a successful conclusion continue as during the next several months a series of community meetings will be scheduled around the region. It is anticipated that between now and the holiday period at year end, individual communities that are a part of the Byway will schedule meetings to allow for more and more public input into the planning for this regional initiative. When those meetings are scheduled information will be provided with advance notice and residents of the community will have the opportunity to offer opinions on how the byway might be signed and promoted that might best suit their needs. The leadership at Essex Heritage is also working collaboratively with Montserrat College of Art in Beverly to develop the graphics to create an informational brochure to help get the byway message more widely disseminated in the region. We are particularly pleased to have this exciting new partnership developed between the college and Essex Heritage.

North Shore Elder Services “We Give Thanks” Event

North Shore Elder Services and Gatehouse Media of New England are sponsoring the second “We Give Thanks” recognition awards. The awards will be announced and will be provided at a dinner honoring the nominees at the Danversport Yacht Club on Wednesday, November 18, 2010, and tickets for the event can be obtained from North Shore Elder Services at 152 Sylvan Street, Danvers. The deadline for offering nominations in ten different categories to salute North Shore individuals, organizations, and businesses that have made a difference in the lives of older adults, their families and their caregivers are due this Friday, October 8, 2010. For additional information about the nomination process or to purchase tickets for the November dinner contact the Danvers agency at or call 978 750 4540. North Shore Elder Services was founded 35 years ago and serves older residents of Danvers, Marblehead, Middleton, Peabody and Salem.

Danvers Council on Aging

I have been proud to have served on the Advisory Board of the Danvers Council on Aging for almost a decade. The Danvers Senior Center that is one of just a handful of nationally accredited Senior Centers in the country and serves hundreds of seniors each month. They provides both in-center and home delivered meals plus travel opportunities, educational and health programs to many in the community that my wife and I also call my home town. In the next couple of weeks the Danvers Senior Center will be offering several opportunities for both seniors and others in the Town to examine the range of services offered at that facility. On this coming Thursday, October 7, 2010 as part of Town wide Open House, stop in to the Senior Center at 25 Stone Street, Danvers to explore what is offered. It is also never too early to get a date on your calendar, as on November 20, 2010 the annual Holiday Fair will be held at the Senior Center, and the funds raised at that event are all redirected back into the wonderful programs offered to seniors.

North Shore Medical Center Associates Group

For several years I have been associated with the North Shore Medical Center as a Community Associate. Once a year, the hospital gathers these community representatives to provide an update on their activities. That meeting was held last evening in Peabody, and since it ended too late to provide a report to you here, I will provide an update in the next posting.

End Today’s Posting on a Sad Note

I do not have much information and when we receive that information we will pass it along, but we are sorry to report that our Executive Director, Annie Harris’s Mother-in-Law has passed away. I know that many of you in the region know Annie, and are sorry to learn of her loss.

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, October 1, 2010

Essex Heritage Annual Meeting, Phoenix School, Alliance Meting in Region, Swamp Walk Work in Danvers


Essex Heritage Annual Meeting at Lynch Park, Beverly

The date has been set and the location picked for the Essex Heritage Fall annual meeting. As has been our practice since our inception over a decade ago, we have taken great care to move these meetings around the region, and to hold them in locations not generally open to the public. The meeting now set for October 26, 2010 is no exception as the meeting will be held in the historic Lynch Park Carriage House in Beverly. We are pleased that the Lynch Park Advisory Committee that is overseeing the restoration of this classic building has worked with us to open the facility to the Commission and our many friends who attend these annual meetings.

The Carriage House was constructed sometime between 1897 and 1903 and was ordered to be built at that time by the owners of the estate, Robert and Marie Evans who had purchased the property in 1895. The Carriage House is an iconic image for many North Shore residents, yet its familiar presence often renders it unnoticed by visitors to the park, and by residents and passing boaters. The current group of activists who are in the process of restoring the Carriage House hopes to bring attention to this symbol of a time long ago and to create a facility to accommodate art and cultural events and functions. They believe as we do, that it would be a shame to allow this regional treasure to be lost to neglect and inactivity. Essex Heritage is pleased that we are able to assist the Lynch Park group in their efforts to shine a spotlight on this valued property. The Evans family had a major impact on the estate as they ordered the famous Stetson Cottage where United States President Robert Taft one summered while in the White House dismantled and floated by barge to Marblehead to be reassembled. In its place the now famous rose garden at Lynch Park was created. Invitations for our annual meeting are about to be sent out, and we will welcome our many friends from this part of the region to our meeting on October 26, 2010. For a reservation to attend the meeting contact Emily Levin at

On that morning we will be welcomed to Beverly by Mayor Scanlon, and we also provide a regional update on current Essex Heritage activities, provide a series of annual Pioneer’s in Partnership and Special Recognition awards and elect a slate of new commissioners to help represent this region. The list of new commissioners who were selected by the Essex heritage Nominating Committee and who will be elected that morning include the following local residents.



Burgos Espinal

North Shore Community College, Development Office




Geller Micro Analytical Lab, Inc




Montserrat College of Art




Henry's Market of Beverly




Town of Marblehead




North Shore Music Theatre




Of Ipswich




Of Peabody

Phoenix School 30th Anniversary

One of the best and longest tenured partners of Essex Heritage, the Phoenix School in Salem, last evening held an anniversary event to celebrate thirty years of service to the community. The school used the event to also offer a number of recognition awards to the school’s community partners. The Phoenix School originally scheduled the event on the National Park Service vessel, Friendship but due to inclement weather had to move the event indoors to the St. Joseph’s Hall at the NPS Salem Maritime Historic Site.

The Phoenix School played a most important role in the community effort when the Friendship was first envisioned and then constructed. Their help in bringing the effort to the attention of then United States Congress who provided the funding for the construction of the ship was spectacular and went way beyond what a small start-up private school might be expected to accomplish. The administration of the school and a series of former graduates constructed a model of the Friendship and accompanied the community leadership to Washington, and floated the ship model in a reflecting pool just behind where the House and the Senate met to bring attention to the community need. Just recently when Essex Heritage mounted a campaign to convince the Congress to save regional treasures like the Heritage Area, the Phoenix School in Salem was there again at a rally to mount regional support. Essex Heritage is pleased to have the school as one of out most trusted partners and looks forward to many more years of joint efforts with them and their students to bring attention to the needs of this region

Alliance of National Heritage Areas in Salem

During the first couple of days just after the Columbus Day Holiday in the middle of next month the Directors of the numerous Heritage Areas across the country are coming to Essex County for three day conference. Each quarter the members of the Alliance gather in a Heritage Area location to continue to direct efforts connected to this program, and this quarter’s stop is here in our region. One of the notable participants at this event will be the recently appointed National Park Service Associate Director for Cultural Resources, Stephanie Toothman, PHD who will provide some insights to the other participants. She manages the history, historic preservation and cultural resource programs in the 392 National Park sites across the country and oversees the National Heritage Area program.

The fall meeting of the Alliance of National Heritage Area’s will convene in Salem and the group will enjoy a trip around the region on one of the days during their stay that will include stops in Newbury at the Spenser-Pierce-Little Farm, in Gloucester for visits to the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center and to the Cape Pond Ice Company and in Essex to visit Woodman’s for lunch in that historic location and the Essex Ship Building Museum. The day’s travel will end in Salem with a visit to the world famous Peabody-Essex Museum. A series of organizational meetings will be held and a reception aboard the National Park Service vessel Friendship and a walking tour of downtown Salem, narrated by Jim McAlister will also be conducted. In addition to the passion for Salem that Jim McAlister will provide, no trip to Salem would be complete without a visit to the Salem Witch Museum.

We are confidant that when their stay in Salem, in the midst of the Halloween season, is complete that all of the members of the Alliance of National Heritage Area’s will get a wonderful flavor of what this time of the year is like here in Essex County and specifically in Salem, the Haunted Happenings Capital of the World.

Swamp Walk Project in Danvers

In a section of Danvers near the Topsfield Town line a dedicated group of volunteers led by George Saluto, the local planner and organizer have been working for some time now to create a swamp walk. The walk is a raised board walk that leads off the Danvers Rail Trail through the swamp behind the former Choate Farm. We recently received a notice from George about a new effort scheduled for this Saturday. October 2nd where help is needed. The appeal from the Swamp Walk folks follows and if you have any interest in helping this effort, I am certain your assistance would be appreciated.

Dear Swamp Walk supporter,

We are having an 'island trail-clearing' work session this weekend, Saturday, Oct 2 @ 8AM.

I hope you will have a couple of hours Saturday morning to volunteer to help prepare the site for the delivery of $8,000 of Phase IB materials arriving Oct 14.

The only tools necessary are gloves, any cutters you may have, & a smile.



PS: If you have not seen or been involved in this fun project, may I cordially invite you to at least drop by and take a 'walk over the swamp.

To reach the Swamp Walk area, park at Choate Farm on Locust St and follow the trail to the rail bed. From there, head toward Rt. 97 (left) until you see the action. Or for a shorter way, park on Rt. 97 at the rail bed and head south toward Danvers.

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