Saturday, May 14, 2011


EDITORS NOTE. A couple on minutes ago, I posted to the Essex Happenings BLOG and by mistake logged a duplicate posting. The following material is the proper current posting. Sorry for the confussion Tom Leonard

Essex Heritage Hero Dinner Tickets Available Now

The Annual Heritage Hero Dinner to Honor President of North Shore Community College Burton, Salem Mayor Driscoll and Danvers Town Manager Marquis is now just 10 days away, and tickets for the event are now on sale. To purchase a ticket for this event at the Danversport Yacht Club on May 19, 2011 contact Essex Heritage at Tickets are priced at only $100 and all of the proceeds from the awards dinner will be used by Essex Heritage to advance their many current regional projects that benefit the entire region.

Essex Heritage Photo News
In the most recent newsletter from Essex Heritage there were two items regarding the work the Commission does with and for local amateur photographers
Essex Heritage Photo Contest Announced
Essex Heritage is pleased to announce the 2011 Essex Heritage Photo Contest guidelines! All photographers are welcome to submit images that capture the essence of the Essex National Heritage Area or speak to Essex Heritage's role in preserving the historic, cultural and natural treasures of Essex County. Read the complete rules & regulations here, and then submit your entry and you could win! Get more information on how you can enter a photo by contacting

Essex Heritage Photo Safaris Scheduled again this summer

These professionally managed regional events provide great opportunities to capture award winning shot - gorgeous locations and state of the art digital equipment! For more information on how to sign up for a session or to get a list of locations that will be available in 2011, contact www,


The Danvers Rail Trail Advisory Committee recently announced that web site has been created to provide information to all interested Danvers residents about the ongoing development of the trail as well as the current rules and uses that have been formulated. The new site that will also include a trail map, and will present a section on news of upcoming events was designed. This was created by and will be maintained at no cost to the Town of Danvers by Mead Web Design and Computing. The 3.4 mile Danvers trail will run from the Wenham town line to Peabody city line. The trail that is part of the Border to Boston Rail Trail that has been driven by the continuing work and efforts of Essex Heritage is currently having crushed stone surface being laid by the Iron Horse Preservation Society. This company previously removed all of the rails and ties from the abandoned rail bed. The town’s Senior Planner Kate Day recently announced that the current work would be completed by early summer. Essex Heritage also provided a cash grant to the Town of Danvers to assist them as they prepared informational and directional signage for the recreational trail. Town Archivist Dick Trask also advised me recently that the signs would also serve to provide information on the heritage of the Town


A $3.35 million proposition two and one half over ride to be used to complete the proposed $6.45 million project that will build a new police station in that seaside community has been passed at Town Meeting. This project has been a long time in the planning stage, and those who have long rallied in support of the project are pleased at the success of the effort to raise the needed funds for the project that appears to fill a great need in Swampscott.

In a transaction that may have a potential impact on the residents of Haverhill, the former Hale Hospital has been sold to Stewart Health Care Systems. The new hospital owner has promised to continue the medical services to the Haverhill community and the surrounding area.

New Chairman of the Board of The Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport Elected

Mr., Keith Manville of Reading has been elected the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Maritime Museum in Newburyport. The new Chairman played an important role in developing the new adventure trail for the museum that opened last year. Manvill is a former history teacher and is the former Superintendent of the Saugus school system and has brought an educational focus to this valuable regional maritime resource. The museum is managed by the Newburyport Maritime Society Inc that was founded in 1968 to protect and preserve the rich maritime history of Newburyport. The museum is one of the finest facilities in this region to visit and learn more about the importance that maritime history played in the growth of this area. For more information or to learn the hours of operation visit or call 978-462-8681. In addition to the museum being a wonderful visitor destination to view the material on display, but the site also serves as a Visitor Center for the region where information on the activities of Essex Heritage can be obtained.

Working on a Memoir to Chronicle my Recent Medical Ordeal

Sometime during the almost four months that I was in local hospitals fighting through a near death experience and the loss of my left leg, I felt it might be wise to write of the what turned out to be a medical crisis. I felt that after my recuperation and a period where I learned to walk again with a new artificial leg that I wanted to relate some of the details of that part of my life. Since my release from the hospital in mid March, I have been working on that memoir. In the last couple of weeks, I have aligned myself with a noted local author, journalist and historian, who has agreed to help me craft that story. During my life, I have spent many happy times working as a volunteer and helping many not for profit local organizations as they work to help others in this region. During my life, I have learned valuable lessons about volunteerism from my parents, family, from the staff and Brothers at St. John’s Prep, and many associates and contemporaries. I hope to report in some detail on my medical ordeal and the life that led up to that time, and the time that followed. I am pleased and proud to now be working with Gary Larrabee as my editor on this project. Gary is a former local newspaper journalist, and in the last several years, Mr. Larrabee has written a number of books that help chronicle the rich history and heritage of this region. He is the author of several histories of local organizations and corporations in this region. He has written histories for Salem Five Bank, Beverly Hospital, a centennial history of St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, a golden anniversary history of Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody and a treatise on golf on the North Shore called The Green and Gold Coast of Massachusetts.

At this time, I do not have a date when the memoir will be finished or released, but we are both working hard to get it to the publication stage.

North Shore Chamber Honor Scholar Dinner

One night last week, we attended the Annual NSCC Honor Scholar dinner in Danvers where our Grandson Brendan Leonard was named as one of the top 5% of his class at St. John’s Prep. The Prep was one-of 30 North Shore schools where students were honored. The dinner was held before its usual full house of parents and member of the business community and the Keynote speaker was Salem’s Mayor Kim Driscoll, who urged the students to remember when they return to their hometowns after college to offer their services as leaders in their community, particularly when it comes to public education. She reminded them that they have an obligation to give back to this region after all of the support they all received from school faculty, teachers and their parents.

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