Friday, April 15, 2011


Work on Danvers Swampwalk Continues

There are a committed group of volunteers in Danvers who are constructing an elevated walkway over a swamp in the northern section of the Town. The project will be a wonderful educational component when completed. I received an invitation from George Salute seeking additional support. His announcement follows:

You are cordially invited to join us for Phase II of our Swamp Walk project. Volunteers are always welcome.


I was very pleased to be able to attend the spring semi-annual meeting of ENHC held on April 12, 2011 in Rockport before the largest crowd ever to attend an Essex Heritage meeting. This is the first time I have been able to participate in an ENHC activity since my illness in December. I was most gratified with the welcome that I received from the numerous Trustees, Commissioners and Friends of Essex Heritage in attendance. President Kevin Tierney presided over the meeting and announced that the annual grant in my name, that has been given by Essex Heritage for several years, will be awarded this year to support our youngest community members. This year the award will be provided to six local elementary schools from Saugus and Lynn to Salem. The grant will provide education programs offered in conjunction with the National Park Service to 180 Students in grade 3 through 5. The programs will be offered at the two NPS Sites within the region.

Three new Commissioners were offered in nomination and elected to the Commission. They are; John Farmer from Eastern Bank and the Commission’s Development Committee, Peter Webber, Cape Ann Chamber and Susan Moulton, of Moulton Consulting. We welcomed all three new Commissioners and urge their continuing support for our mission.
We were very pleased that Congressman John Tierney took time out from his busy Washington schedule to join us. He announced that upon his return to Washington he is prepared to file legislation that would authorize a study to determine if the local NPS unit in Salem could be expanded to include some adjacent properties and islands in and around the Salem Sound region. There are no plans for this study to authorize the acquisition of any additional property, but would simply allow the NPS to offer even more support to communities and other entities within the Essex National Heritage region. The current mood in Washington is not particularly open to these kinds of plans, but we are confidant that the Congressman and the rest of our Washington delegation will do all in their power to get the study authorized.

NPS Superintendent Trapp and her staff presented a replica of a valuable fireplace artifact, that turned up in Saugus and thanked the Commission for its help in the preservation effort.

Executive Director Annie Harris provided some current information on plans around the tenth anniversary of ENHC signature event, Trails and Sails that will be celebrated on the final two weekends in September. This year there will be a passport included and prizes will be presented to the most active participants. She also provided information on the sailing schedule for the Friendship that includes two public sails set again for the Labor Day weekend.

The meeting ended with a comprehensive presentation by Director of Heritage Development, Bill Steelman of the ongoing work to create the 85-mile, 13 community ESSEX HERITAGE SCENIC BYWAY. This Byway will begin in Lynn and terminate in the picturesque community of Rockport, where we celebrated the region’s accomplishments at our recent annual meeting. The Byway will continue to be managed by the Commission, and efforts to increase funding are ongoing. Bill introduced and thanked a number of members of the Byway Steering Committee who were in attendance.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize the management of the Shalin Liu Concert Hall for opening up their spectacular facility for the Commissions use. Everyone who participated in our meeting most certainly are aware of what this magnificent venue can mean to this region. For additional information on this spectacular arts facility please visit their website at We once again thank Shalin Liu for their hospitality to Essex Heritage.

State still calculating Local Aid support

As in other recent years, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts annual budget is late in preparation and approval. The delay and the resulting late announcement of local aid, that will be provided to Essex County communities, makes the task of local budget planning most difficult. We will continue to monitor developments in this process, and will try to report on the impact to local communities. As a member of a local community Finance Committee, this late announcement makes the budgeting process that much more difficult.

Final Plans Being prepared for North Shore Elder Services Fundraiser in Salem.

A wonderful, festive evening of fun and celebration is planned for the evening of April 28, when the North Shore Elder Services organization will celebrate its 35th Anniversary with an event titled “Studio 35”, to be held at the Historic Hawthorne Hotel in Salem. Tickets for this event are priced at $75 and reservations can be made at 978 624 2220.
Peabody Leather Museum Set to open new Online Exhibit.

The Peabody Leather Museum on Washington Street, that also doubles as one of the Essex Heritage Visitor Centers, is opening a new on-line exhibit this week that will focus on the history of the leather business in that city. On this new site amateur researchers can focus on where the leather businesses were located across time. The project was accomplished with the help of Salem State University and a grant from Mass. Humanities. For more information contact the museum directly.

Community Council Awards Dinner

We truly enjoyed a magical evening last night at the Danvers Community Council Awards Dinner where an old friend, Myrna Fearer, a local columnist, was named the Citizen of the Year. Myrna has been a friend to many and a promoter of all good causes including many Essex Heritage events. But all that said, the highlight of the evening for us, was the presentation of one of the three student Volunteer awards to our grandson Brendan Leonard for his work in the St. John’s Prep community. In his acceptance remarks, Brendan had some wonderful comments to say about observing the things that I have done in my life and then trying to emulate them as a volunteer. I was truly moved by his remarks, and thrilled that he has become a magnificant volunteer in his own right. It seems only appropriate that on Friday morning he is leaving with a group of fellow St. John’s Prep students for Grundy, Virginia, where he will participate in a week long experience to help repair homes for those less fortunate than himself. Congratulations on the award Brendan, and good luck this week in Virginia.

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