Friday, July 20, 2012

Essex Happenings…July 20, 2012


Essex Heritage Photo Safaris
Just case you want to attend an Essex Heritage Photo Safari, there are still two more this summer.  On this Saturday, July 21 there is one at the historic House of Seven Gables featuring Nikon and another on August 4 at The Trustees of Reservations gardens at the Long Hill Estate in Beverly featuring Cannon camera equipment.  In the last blog on July 13, there is information on how to register for these safaris.

Essex Coastal Byway Newsletter
Essex Heritage has just launched the Essex Coastal Byway Newsletter.  If you would like to receive an electronic copy, it is easy to sign up at or Google Coastal

Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence
The Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence is a new film shown daily at the National Park Service’s Visitor Center, New Liberty Street, Salem.  The 38 minute film features authentic dialogue and the latest research by renowned Salem Witch Trial scholars. Scenes depicted in the film were shot at actual locations associated with the Witch Trials of 1692, and many of the places can still be visited today.   The National Park Service has information and a bulletin on these 17th century sites available for free at the Visitor Center. This film is a must view for anyone who wants to gain a more complete understanding of the witch trial hysteria in Salem and the most current theories on the cause and effect of these terrible events.
Featured scholars are: Margo Burns, Director of the Language Center, St. Paul’s School; Dr. Mary Beth Norton, Professor of American History, Cornell University; Dr. Emerson “Tad” Baker, Professor of History, Salem State University; Dr. Benjamin Ray, Professor of Religious StudiesUniversity of Virginia; and Richard B. Trask, Historian and Archivist, Danvers Archival Center.  And special thanks go to the National Park Service’s Park Historian Dr. Emily Murphy.  The film was produced by Essex Heritage and directed by Tom Phillips.

Trails and Sails, Two Weekends of Walks and Water September 21-23 & September 28-30
219 events have been registered for Trails & Sails 2012!  For more information or to sign up to receive your own ‘hard copy’ event guide, go to Trails&  or

Join Essex Heritage’s Membership Program and enjoy Trails & Sails all year long.  Can’t wait until September?  You can make Trails & Sails happen all year long by joining Essex Heritage where you will get information and opportunities to enjoy the wonderful sites and resources that are featured in Trails & Sails weekends.  If you appreciate the unique historical, natural and cultural events offered during Trails & Sails, you will enjoy being an Essex Heritage Member.

Salem Historic Site Maritime Festival - August 3 through 5th 2012
Come join the National Park Service at Derby Wharf in Salem on Friday August 3rd and Saturday, August 4th for their annual Salem Maritime Festival, celebrating "Ships, Sawdust, Sailors & Song."  The festival is taking place at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on the water at 193 Derby StreetSalem, MA.
The Salem Maritime Festival is a community-sponsored celebration of four centuries of Salem's maritime history and tradition. Enjoy lots of free, family fun with activities and music. Find out more and see the 2012 Festival schedule online at

Parson Capen House in Topsfield Open for Tours This Summer
The Capen historic house can be visited this summer between 1 and 4 on three days per week -Wednesdays. Fridays, and Saturdays - until September 16th.  It will also be open again during Essex Heritage’s Trails & Sails weekends.  Go to Trails & for more information on this annual event.

Special Place - Special Feature:  Once every few weeks, we will feature one of the special places and organizations in the region.  This week, we would like to tell you more about the Green Meadows Farm located at 656 Asbury Street, South Hamilton. 
Green Meadows is a regular feature of Essex Heritage’s Trails & Sails weekends when they give tours of their farm yard and fields.  The llamas and baby piglets are especially appealing to many families, although I find the challenges of growing organic vegetables and the techniques for keeping destructive insects away is the most interesting part of the visit.  Whether you visit the farm as part of Trails & Sails or just go on your own, there is always much to do and enjoy during a visit regardless of your age and interests.    To quote directly from the Farm’s webpage:  Green Meadows Farm is a certified organic farm raising vegetables and fruits and also specializing in heritage livestock breeds. The farm operates a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program) and the farm stand is open daily from 8am - 6pm April through December.
It does not seem appropriate to write about Green Meadows Farm without providing some background on the history of property:  The farm has a long history as a private estate.  Portions of the main house were built in 1786 and the house was added on to by a succession of other owners.  In 1928 then Major and Mrs. George Patton, Jr. bought the property while he was an active member of the Army.  They lived in the house only occasionally until World War II at which time Mrs. Patton took up permanent residency.   Mrs. Patton expected to welcome her hero husband, General Patton Jr., home to this house at the end of the war but the general was killed in a freak vehicle accident in 1945 and so he never occupied the property.  Mrs. Patton lived at Green Meadows until her death in 1953.
It was their son, the next George Patton, and his family who transformed the property from a gentleman’s estate to a working farm.   Major General George S. Patton and his family made the property their permanent home upon his retirement from the US Army after thirty-four years of service including the Berlin Airlift and the Vietnam War.   Major General Patton decided that he wanted to make the property something more than “leisure land” – so he sought the help and advice of local farmers and agricultural and environmental experts and began to seriously farm the land.  Starting with a small blueberry operation, the produce expanded to include more fruits and then vegetables.  We are told that he named some of the farm’s fields for brave soldiers who lost their lives in service with him in Vietnam.  In 1999, when his health started to fail, his wife, Joanne, left her career as a non-profit consultant to tend to both her ailing husband and to the farm.  
The farm has matured into a full multi-crop business with organically produced and certified fruits and vegetables.   In addition to the agricultural products, there are organically raised livestock and poultry.  Green Meadows has a farm stand operation and also a CSA program which offers individuals the opportunity to purchase shares in the farm’s produce.   They also allow pick-your-own from a homegrown crop of strawberries. Birthday parties for children ages three to thirteen can be arranged and the children can tour the farm, interact with the animals, and take a hayride.   
As of this date, Joanne is still active with the farm, although she has a professional management team who run the daily operation of the farm.   Joanne Holbrook Patton is the daughter and granddaughter of a general and is a well-known for her work.   She includes in her tasks the maintenance of the artifacts from the careers of the General Pattons, and she is also a respected philanthropist to many in this region.          
To learn more about the farm, or its farm stand products go to or contact the farm directly at 978 468-3720 (office) or 978 468-2277 (farm stand)

Hamilton’s Patton Park to Conduct Effort to Rehabilitate the Community Park
A Friends of Patton Park Committee has been formed to raise funds to rehabilitate the park named in the honor of the two renowned generals.   The Town of Hamilton has already committed some funds to the effort, and this committee is now charged with raising the balance.  For more information or to make a contribution go to

Tall Ship Festival in Boston Brought Value to the City and the Region
I have heard several reports that the tall ship event held in Boston during the July 4th Independence Day Celebration brought a substantial amount of both personal business and tax revenue to the host City of Boston and the surrounding region.  In Salem we know full well that having a tall ship on the city’s waterfront is a big magnet for visitors.
Swampscott Memorial US Flag Disappears … and Reappears!
A recently donated American flag was stolen.  The flag was a gift to the Town of Swampscott from the Raymond Family whose son Jared died in the Iraq War.  It replaced a very tattered flag that flew in Monument Square.    The new flag was twenty by thirty feet, weighted 50 pounds and cost $1,000.   It was great to learn that the memorial flag that went missing showed up on the front stairs of a local Swampscott church.    We are pleased that whoever took the flag had a change of heart and returned it so that it could be flown again to commemorate the memory of this Swampscott hero.

Town of Danvers Announces Concert Schedule
The Town of Danvers recently announced a summer concert schedule being offered at the Rotary Pavilion next to the Peabody Institute Library by the Mill Pond.  The outdoor concerts will be held on certain evenings in July and August at 6 PM.   For specific information visit the Danvers Recreation web site at

City of Newburyport Hosted Tall Ship to Benefit Local Cause
Earlier this month the famous replica sailing ship HMS Bounty paid a visit to the waterfront of the City of Newburyport.  The visit was sponsored by a local insurance agency and the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce.   During its stay, the boat hosted tours of the 160-foot long replica and had other activities including an outdoor showing of the film Mutiny on the Bounty made in the 1960s.  A gala cocktail reception was held on the ship to help raise funds for a project being undertaken at Lowell’s Boat Shop. 
Lowell’s Boat Shop, Amesbury
With the help of several local High School apprentices, the boat shop is planning to build a 28 foot whale boat that will then be donated to the whaling ship Morgan.  She is the last sailing ship to venture around the world searching for whales.  She is berthed as part of the wonderful display of ships and boats at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT.  They are looking to raise $100,000 to construct this whale boat.  If you are interested in helping, contact Lowell’s Boat Shop at 978--834-0050 or at
Special note:  Lowell’s Boat Shop is the oldest continuously operating dory building facility in the nation and it is a wonderful place to visit.  It is a regular feature of Essex Heritage’s Trails & Sails Weekends.  

Call for Nominations from the North Shore Elder Services
You are invited to submit nominations for North Shore Elder Services’ 2012 “We Give Thanks” Awards. These awards will bring to light examples of the care and service others provide to older persons on the North Shore and will publicly thank those whose accomplishments and contributions best exemplify and advance the mission.

North Shore Elder Services - Life. Made Easier for elders.
Call for Nominations

As you consider the award categories, please keep in mind the following guidelines in preparing your nomination:
1. the criteria for the award
2. how the nominee fits the criteria
3. what measureable impact the nominee has had on the community
4. how the nominee enhances the mission of service to elders.

Nominations must be received in the North Shore Elder Services’ office no later than August 10, 2012. The preferred method of delivery is email to:

Award Recipients will be announced on September 14, 2012.
For more information, please contact: Rhonda GauthierNorth Shore Elder Services 152 Sylvan Street Danvers, MA 01923 978-624-2220 TTY 978-624-2244

City of Peabody Dedicates Memorial to Holocaust Survivors Memory
A number of Peabody residents and city officials recently gathered to dedicate a Memorial to Holocaust Survivors. The community built the memorial to honor and keep the memory of holocaust survivor Sonia Weitz alive.   She was a great spokesperson for that disaster and did much to keep the event in the minds of many. She prepared a presentation each year that she provided to the St. John’s Prep student body to build their awareness of the terrible events perpetrated during that period.
Congratulations to Danvers America Little league in their District Win
The Danvers American Little League team beat a group from Gloucester for the second time in two days to claim the district championship.  They will now face Saugus in the next round on the road to Williamsport.   Both communities should be proud of the achievements of their teams, and the youth that represented the two communities. 

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