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

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