Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Essex HAPPENINGS JULY 13, 2011

Good-bye & Thank You to Patty Trap

We bid a fond farewell to Patty Trap,
the superintendent of Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Sites. Patty is leaving to become the deputy regional director for the National Park Service's (NPS) Midwest Region starting in mid-July.

Patty has been an inspiration to us all. She brought new ideas to this region, provided more services to our residents and greatly expanded the partnership between Essex Heritage and the NPS. She was dedicated to making maritime history come alive by sailing the Friendship of Salem to ports near and far providing our residents and visitors with a first-hand glimpse into maritime history.

Patty has also shown a tremendous commitment to the youth of our region by developing new, hands-on education opportunities at Salem and Saugus, and providing job corps training for our urban youth - giving them unique opportunities and experiences within the heritage area.

We wish her luck in her new adventure! Read more.

Salem Maritime Festival

Join the National Park Service at Derby Wharf in Salem on Saturday, August 6, 2011 from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm for their annual Maritime Festival, celebrating, ships, sawdust, sailors and song. The annual Maritime Festival is a community-sponsored celebration of four centuries of Salem Maritime History and tradition. Enjoy lots of family fun with activities and music. For more information visit

Harold Burnham Launches Wooden Boat

It is always important news when a new wooden boat is launched along this Essex County seacoast. That event happened this past holiday weekend when the Ardelle was launched from the Burnham Boatyard in Essex. The Ardelle is 49 person Pinkie Schooner that was built in the traditional wooden boat manner and will soon join the fleet of wooden boats in this region as a research and educational vessel for the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center. The ship named after the builder’s Grandmother and Daughter is the latest of many wooden boats built in the Harold Burnhan Boat Yard in Essex. The boatyard has existed in Essex for many years and the current boat builder is the 11th generation of wooden boat builders operating out of the historic location in Essex. This will become the second wooden ship operating out of Gloucester as the Adelle joins the Thomas E. Lannon operating out of that port. Those two ships will join the Friendship and the Fame that operate out of The National Park Service Maritime Historic Site in Salem., bringing the total of wooden boats in the region’s waters to four.

Newburyport Program to Help Families in Need

I recently read a nice story about a community project being organized in Newburyport. A local Church and the YWCA have joined together to offer the 2nd annual Stir the Pot program. The goal of the program is to collect two tons of excess fruit and vegetables from the community and distribute those agricultural products to families in need from that region. Several not-for-profit organizations that focus on food programs and affordable housing initiatives have teamed up to make this program a success. For more information on how you could contribute or receive food, visit or call Jeff Bard at 978 270-3293 or contact him at This is a wonderful example of neighbors helping neighbors, and lets hope the program works to bring people together that need one another.

Community Reading of Declaration of Independence in Danvers

The final event that we attended during the Family Festival was a Community Reading of the Declaration of Independence. The event in Danvers was held at the Training Field in the Danvers Highlands and was held after the annual Horrible Parade that ends at the same location. The idea was a wonderful one, but there was a time gap between the end of the parade and the reading, which caused many people to leave before the reading started. For those of us that participated it was rewarding, but there were not enough participants. I know that there was a similar reading on Salem Common and I hope that event was well attended.

Rail Trail News From the Danvers Bi-PEDs

Danvers Rail trail progress - Have you paid a visit to the Danvers Rail trail yet? As far as trails go, it is rather primitive at this point. As for areas like the Rt. 62 crossing, they are still being worked out. Many things are currently in the works such as vegetation management and drainage north of Wenham. People are free to use the trail as it is but caution is needed. It is definitely a work in progress. Many in the community have expressed a desire for a better surface. Improvements to the trail may become a future fund raising projects for the Danvers Bi-Peds. A community trail takes a community effort.

John Archer and the Danvers State Hospital Kirkbride Building

Danvers has a wonderful preservationist living in its midst. One who has put his commitment to preserving important properties ahead of personal gain. Very early in discussions about the future of the soon to be abandoned Danvers State Hospital property and the valuable historic Kirkbride building on that site, John Archer, a local Insurance businessman, staked out a position on the historic keystone building on Hathone Hill. This building named after Dr. Kirkbride who played an important role in the early treatment of patients suffering from many forms of mental illness needed to be preserved. John’s efforts to see this important piece of the history of Danvers was pervasive and in many cases most persuasive.

As the plans to see the valuable piece of real estate re-developed were created, it became clear that not all of the historic building would be able to be incorporated in a new final residential condominium project. The final plans proved to be important to the town as new taxable property was created and substantial contributions from the ultimate developers were obtained that would be used in school development efforts and town-wide valuable preservation efforts.

John Archer would not give in even as the wrecking balls and backhoes began the work to create a new use for the property on Hathone Hill. He continued to wear his preservation hat and made a concerted effort to acquire and then re-structure doors, windows, paneling and granite into his residence. Now he has undertaken a major project, and has acquired a substantial section of the chapel from the historic property and is adding it as an addition to his home. The work is under construction and John has promised me a tour of the project when it is nearer completion. I will report on that visit in a later posting.

Final Holiday Fireworks Displayed in Salem and Danvers.

I was not able to attend either the final holiday celebrations in either Salem or Danvers, but those that did attend were most complimentary. Newspaper reports were also most positive, and the celebrations in those two communities were well received by residents and others from this region. I believe that this finally brings the Independence Day celebrations to an end for this year.

Red Sox Finish First Half of Season in Style

After a truly horrendous start, the Red Sox finished up the first half of the season twenty games over 500 and are well positioned for a pennant run.

Some Material in this BLOG has been reprinted with permission from the Essex Heritage Electronic Newsletter

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