Friday, October 28, 2011

Essex Happenings October 28 2011

Essex Happenings October 29, 2011

Essex Heritage Conducts Annual Fall Meeting

Last Tuesday morning at the majestic Crane Estate in Ipswich, Essex Heritage held its fall annual meeting. The meeting, as always, was well attended and the leadership of the Commission provided comprehensive recaps of the activities and mission of Essex Heritage. The Commission is indebted to the Trustees of Reservations for their generosity for providing the location for the meeting. The weather that day was sensational and the trip out to the Crane Estate early that morning was like passing through a video of the perfect New England fall landscape. We witnessed sunlight from the sunrise peeking through the trees, mist and fog enveloping the marshes and a generally peaceful feel of New England at the start of another day. My wife and I came upon a young deer and his mother who were feeding along the side of the road as we climbed the road to the mansion The pair of deer added to the peaceful feeling of the scene as they never moved from their task as we passed.

We certainly appreciate the generosity and the help of the Trustees of Reservations who were our host for the meeting. The meeting brought the term of the presidency of Kevin Tierney to an end and introduced our newest President Richard Yagjian to a wonderful beginning. In a later posting to Essex Happenings, I will offer additional thoughts on the issues covered at the meeting, but for now, I will only comment on the awards provided.

I was pleased that I was once again offered the opportunity to participate in the meeting and made several presentations regarding the loss of two iconic figures from this region who passed away since our last meeting in the spring. I offer my thanks to Emily Levin for the research and the compilation of the material that I was able to present and provide in this report.

Harriet Webster accomplished many deeds in her life especially in the City of Gloucester where she lived for the past 41 years. I believe that she is best remembered for her extraordinary accomplishments as the Executive Director of the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center. She started with the fledging organization in 2002 and was the moving force behind expanding the programs and facilities at the center. Harriet, along with her board of directors, guided the transformation of this old industrial site on the harbor into a vibrant hands-on learning and exhibit facility. Today more than 3,000 school students visit the Maritime Center every year to learn about the maritime heritage and science of this region.

Joseph E. Garland was a journalist, sailor, community activist, and prolific author, and was once described by John Updike as “the definitive historian of the North Shore”. Joe published 24 books – many focused on the history of Gloucester and this region. He championed many local causes including the library, the Cape Ann Museum, the public schools, building of the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon and the restoration of the Schooner Adventure, and wrote fiercely against war, concessions to commercialism and development that threatened Gloucester's uniqueness and authenticity.

Harriet Webster and Joe Garland who played a role in the development of this region, and will be greatly missed.

I was also pleased to be able to present the Essex Heritage Special Recognition Award and the Pioneers in Partnership Awards that were presented to the following.

The Essex Heritage Special Recognition Award was presented to Doug Law of the National Park Service.

Three years ago when Essex Heritage approached the National Park Service with the idea of hiring local youth to work at the park, Doug stepped up and helped us create what has become an exemplary summer jobs program.

For the past three summers, teens from Salem and Lynn have been hired by Essex Heritage and by the National Park to work at the two park units in Salem and Saugus.

Doug’s oversight and careful management provided the youth with experiences that as one of the students, Daniel said “taught me responsibility, appreciation for the city and its history, and opened up new doors to my future.”

This August, Doug received The National Park Service’s prestigious Appleman-Judd-Lewis Award, and I am very pleased to also recognize him on behalf of Essex Heritage for his commitment and leadership in developing this program.

Each year the Essex National Heritage Commission presents a number of Pioneer in Partnership awards to individuals and organizations who exemplify the Commission’s spirit of collaboration. The award recognizes those who build partnerships with others to preserve and celebrate the historic, cultural and natural resources of Essex County. This year four awards were presented to the following

Wayne Eisenhauer of Historic Danvers received an award not only for his years of volunteer work with the Danvers Historical Society but also for his newest initiative on the Life and Legacy of Governor John Endicott.

Working with Governor Endicott’s descendents, Essex Heritage and Massachusetts General/North Shore Medical Center, Wayne helped to coordinate an extraordinary evening last April at the Medical Center in Danvers. The event focused on Endicott’s legacy and the Endicott pear tree – the oldest cultivated fruit tree in North America. Wayne followed that achievement by partnering with Endicott College in Beverly to host an exhibit on Governor Endicott, presented as part of Trails & Sails 2011.

Even more significant than these accomplishments, Wayne has helped to launch a new collaborative effort between Massachusetts General/North Shore Medical Center and the historic and natural resources represented by Essex Heritage and Danvers Historical. Starting with a lecture series on health and history, this partnership will help us work together to promote healthy living through better utilization of the natural and historic resources in the Heritage Area.

Amy Glowacki is the National Park Service Park Ranger and Youth Programs Coordinator at Lowell National Historical Park. was recognized because of the remarkable job she did last summer with the “Youth Journey on the High Seas”.

Last August the National Park Service sailed the tall ship Friendship to New York City to participate in a five-day youth summit. While the idea to take the ship to NYC had been in discussion for some time, the permission and funds to make the journey came together only about 5 weeks before the departure date.

It fell to Amy to organize and prepare the college-age National Park Service interns for their journey, and it was Amy who coordinated with her counterparts from Baltimore and New York City to ensure that the hundred plus young people who met in New York City had an unforgettable (and safe) experience aboard Friendship and in the city.

Amy’s enthusiasm and energy were infectious. She passed the ultimate shipmate’s test by remaining cheerful and upbeat despite the rough waters of Buzzards Bay and the even rougher seas in Massachusetts Bay.

Amy made the experience wonderful for the youth aboard and in New York City. Thank you.

A companion award was made to the NPS Professional and Volunteer Crew of tall ship Friendship of Salem and to the ship’s acting captain Jeremy Bum gin.
The park staff and the more than 60 volunteers who help to maintain and sail this one-of-a-kind tall ship always do a remarkable job, but we especially want to bring your attention to the skill and team work they exercised in sailing Friendship for the first time to New York City last August.

Not only was this trip to the furthest port that Friendship has sailed, but they encountered some of the most challenging weather of the summer – from thunderstorms to rain and high seas. The crew, under the careful leadership of Captain Jeremy, safely sailed the ship to NYC and back.

They are now planning an even longer journey for next summer – when they hope to take Friendship to Baltimore to join in the commemoration of the War of 1812. We wish them all the best for this trip. We are always delighted when Friendship sails to other ports, as she is a wonderful ambassador for the National Park Service and the Essex National Heritage Area – and she truly makes maritime history come alive!

The final award was presented to the Committee to Save the Lower Green and Essex County Greenbelt Association. They are receiving a Pioneer in Partnership award for their work to save the historic farm land adjacent to the Lower Green in Newbury.

The Lower Green is a significant heritage landscape on the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. Three years ago, the Committee to Save the Lower Green was formed and advocated for by local preservation groups. Several acres of pastureland next to the Newbury Lower Green were slated for a housing sub-division, and the historic view – essentially unchanged since the 17th century - would be altered forever. The Committee to Save the Lower Green organized and brought together hundreds of private citizens, businesses, charitable foundations, and local, state, and federal organizations to support their case. The volunteer group also sought and gained the help of the Essex County Greenbelt Association. Together, this October, they reached their goal – an amazing $500,000 to permanently protect the 4-acre Newman Farm Meadow in Newbury.

Their successful campaign to preserve the rural character of the Newbury Lower Green is a testament to the people of this region and their dedication to preserving our historic past.

St John’s Prep Homecoming

On a beautiful fall afternoon this past weekend, the private, century old all boys school in Danvers celebrated homecoming weekend with a soccer win against Andover and a football win over Somerville. The day was completed with a luncheon with several of my former classmates. All in all, a special day and it was great to gather together again even if is only for a single day.

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