Thursday, May 19, 2011


Salem Harbor Station Announces Closing

The recent news that Dominion, the owners Salem Harbor Power Station will begin to close down that sixty-year-old facility this year, and will complete that task by the end of 2014 will certainly create some urgency for the City of Salem administration and planners. The closure, that is good news to a local group from a neighboring community, is certainly a concern for the host community. The 65-acre site on Salem’s outer Harbor is the largest taxpayer in the City of Salem. The 60 year-old power station currently provides $4.75 million in taxes annually and the City will have to take definitive actions to make up for that substantial loss of revenue that will have to be made up when the site is closed.
As a youth growing up in Salem, before the current power station was built, the site was the home of the premier baseball park in the city and was a recreational icon in the region. With proper planning it seems realistic to believe that the location can once again be a focal point for the city after a well thought out plan and redevelopment effort. There will certainly be a need to take a realistic approach to planning for the future of this site when it is closed and the site cleared of the buildings and huge smoke stacks currently existing on the site. The City of Salem must not get carried away with a proposal that has little chance of being funded, completed and then occupied. This will be one of the most important efforts ever undertaken by the City and the partners that it brings to the table to help outline a final plan and to seek proposals that can be brought to a successful conclusion. The site can be most desirable, with its access to the water, and the plans that could be developed may help determine the long-term future of the city. It does appear that the city is going about this process in a measured manner, and if the process is to be successful, they will examine all of the options and then consider a long range plan that will meet the long-term needs of the community, and at the same time help develop a stream of revenue to offset the loss from the current soon to be abandoned use. I suspect that the planning team will adopt a final scenario that is realistic; economically feasible that has a reasonable chance to provide an economic impetus to the city in the future. At the present moment the city is being managed by an energetic and committed chief executive, and has many wonderful assets that makes the City a desirable location for potential businesses and residents to consider. Having a world class museum like the Peabody-Essex, the National Park Service presence, the recently commissioned State University, access to Boston by both rail and water ferry, and the soon to be opened restored court complex are all critical components of a successful community. There are also organizations like the Salem Partnership and our own Essex Heritage, and a active chamber of Commerce, that will all certainly offer support when needed.

New District Director named by Tierney

Congressman John Tierney recently announced that he has appointed a new District Director to manage his Peabody and Lynn offices. The new director is “Chip” Payson who until recently was the Vice President for External affairs for Northeast Health System in Beverly. Chip has a wealth of political and community experience as he previously served in the Clinton White House, and also served in a number of administrative positions for leadership on Beacon Hill in Boston and in Washington. During the time that Chip represented Northeast Health System, he served as a trustee of the Essex National Heritage Commission, and because of that role, he knows of the work of Essex Heritage and understands our role in this region. We are pleased that Chip has joined the Congressman’s staff, and we look forward to working with him again in his new role. We are confidant that he will continue the fine constituent service work of his predecessor, Gary Barrett, who has left for another position. During the many years we have worked with Mr. Barrett, he has always been most committed to the work of the Congressional office and we certainly wish Gary well in the future. We also wish good luck to long time congressional aide, George Mc Cabe, who has also left Tierney’s office.

Locations of Essex Heritage Photo Safari’s Announced

In a recent posting to Essex Happenings, I provided some preliminary information about the Essex Heritage Photo Safari’s program presented in conjunction with Hunt’s Photo and Video in Melrose. The sessions are designed to offer the latest high quality equipment and guidance from Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Tamron. The dates and locations of the four sessions have now been finalized and they are as follows:
• June 4, 2011 featuring Olympus @ Cranes Beach and Castle Hill, Ipswich
• June 18, featuring Tamron @ Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, Saugus
• July 9, 2011 featuring Nikon @ Brooksby Farm, Peabody
• July 30, 2011 featuring Cannon @ Phillips House and Gardens, Salem

Salem Maritime Festival

In what has become a tradition over these last several years, Essex Heritage in conjunction with the National Park Service has presented the Salem Maritime Festival at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site at Derby Wharf in Salem. This year’s community sponsored celebration of four centuries of Salem’s maritime history will be offered on August 6, 2011 from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. Come and enjoy family fun with nautical activities and music. For details on the day’s program visit


I know that we have not yet experienced any spring weather to date, and I am about to tell you about an end of summer event, but it is never too early to get an opportunity like this one on your calendar. Once again on Labor Day Weekend on September 3rd and 4th, FRIENDSHIP will once again raise her sails and leave her berth in Salem for a trip to Gloucester. On those dates you can join in those events as a passenger. To learn more about the event and the costs associated with the trip visit

Essex Heritage Trails and Sails

Let me offer one more set of dates for your calendar. The Essex Heritage signature event, Trails and Sails will be offered on the last two weekends in September 2011. So save September 16-18 and 23-25. The two weekends will be filled with free events, and the only difficulty that you will find for this event, is to try to fit in every thing you want to see.

House of Seven Gables Spring Lecture Series

Each year the House of Seven Gables offers a series of lectures that focus on this historic venue and the activities at that historic location. This year is no different and the remaining lectures in 2011 run from May 18th through the end of the year. Ticket information and purchases can be obtained by calling 978 744 0991.

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