Essex Heritage held its first photo safari of 2012 at Maritime Gloucester on Saturday, June 16. Sigma cameras and lenses were featured at the safari and Davis Fitzsimmons of Sigma helped the eighteen participants try out the equipment and take some great photos. If you would like to take a look at some of their shots go to: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151826329420099.860892.99731915098&type=1
The Executive Director of the Wenham Museum, Lindsey Diehl, will retire on July 13, after six years at the helm. Prior to this, Ms. Diehl served as Director of Marketing and interim Director. During her leadership at the Wenham Museum, new children’s programs and exhibits successfully increased the museum’s annual attendance helping the organization engage more families from across the region and also helping the museum’s ‘bottom line.” Ms. Diehl, who is originally from New York, used to visit the museum as a child when her family spent summers in Gloucester. Ms. Diehl and the Wenham Museum have partnered with Essex Heritage on several projects including the annual Trails & Sails: two weekends of walks and water!
HERITAGE AREA COMMUNITIES AND ORGANIZATIONAL HAPPENINGS
Some of the most pleasant annual occurrences in this region are the weeklong community festivals - celebrated throughout the summer season in many of the communities with this national heritage area. Each community has its own unique name for this celebration such as “homecoming”, “heritage days” or “festival”. These celebrations are scheduled in the various communities that make up the fabric of the Essex National Heritage Area. From time to time we will bring you some information about these celebrations and will try to direct you to where detailed information can be found. The first of these regional festivals started a couple of nights ago in the Town of Danvers with the gala celebration at Glen Magna Farms where the Baron Mayer Award was presented. This year the award was presented to Anna Bertini for her work in that community. The Danvers Family Festival continues for the next two weeks and culminates with what some say is the best fireworks display on the North Shore on July 4th. The festival has events for all ages including concerts, lectures, road races, bean supers and more. For a complete listing of the events, their times and costs, if any, see the schedule in local newspapers or visit the Danvers Family Festival web site at www.danversfamilyfestival.com From June 27 – July 1, the annual St. Peter’s Fiesta is occurring in Gloucester including a parade, music, rides, the Blessing of the Fishing Fleet, and the famous greasy pole contest in which contestants try to walk atop a greased pole without falling into the ocean below.
Like the rest of us, City of Beverly residents will head to the polls in November to vote for the US President and also for other national and state representatives, but one of the most important local matters they will be asked to vote on is the Community Preservation Act (CPA). The CPA is helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable work force housing, and develop recreational facilities by creating a local Community Preservation Fund. Funding for this community fund comes from levying a local real estate tax surcharge of between 1%-3% and the fund raised in this manner are match in part by the Commonwealth of MA. Communities, such as the City of Peabody, that have passed this local legislation have greatly benefited. This year, the CPA is on the ballot in Beverly, and the residents will get to decide if they want to participate by voting for a 1% surcharge. Essex Heritage sees this initiative as very positive for the preservation of the quality of life and historic character of our local communities.
The voters in the community of Newburyport voted in favor of three referendums to rehabilitate two schools and to build the first community senior center in the city. The vote was a major victory for Mayor Donna Holaday and her team who made an excellent case for the importance of the three projects and that nearly half of the school construction costs will be reimbursed by the Commonwealth – over $31m. The work will begin in the near term on all three sites.
The Methuen based foundation founded to raise and distribute preservation funds recently announced that they will be providing grant funds to groups in Methuen, Newburyport, Amesbury, Haverhill and Sandown, New Hampshire to help with these communities’ local preservation efforts. The foundation raises funds during its annual Festival of Trees held during the month of December. To date the Foundation has provided over one million dollars to help more than one hundred preservation projects in the Merrimack Valley.
Selectmen in Marblehead approved renovation funds of over $30,000 to restore the Maritime Museum at Abbot Hall. This iconic building which defines the skyline in Marblehead was the site of an Essex Heritage annual meeting a few years ago.
The Boston Globe recently carried a story about a famous local lighthouse and an artifact that can be traced to 1719. Boston Light is being recognized as a valuable site for the National Park Service and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. The story revolves around a historic cannon that was purchased by the US Lighthouse Service (which later became part of the US Coast Guard). The cannon is the oldest artifact owned by the Coast Guard and was shot off periodically on fog bound nights when it was not possible to see the powerful light at the Boston Light. The light is now automated and it sends an air horn sound when the weather is bad. Boston Light and its cannon are a popular NPS destination. Since the island and the light opened for visitation in 1999, almost 25,000 visitors have made the trek to the Island.
The Boston Globe one week ago on Sunday produced what might be described as a “must see bucker list” on travel spots that are important to visit. Their list was focused on all of New England, and included many cultural, historic and natural resources but focused most on special beaches, bike paths, amusement parks, and National Park sites. One can debate the choices they made, but that is why we have vanilla and chocolate ice cream to pick between. The Globe identified three sites in the Essex National Heritage Area (aka Essex County) for their “must see” list. They named the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Motif #1 in Rockport and Whale Watch Cruises in Gloucester. I agree that these three are very valuable to the region and are obvious excellent choices – but there are many more “must see” sites too. This is why you should mark the Trails & Sails event on your calendar (September 21, 22 & 23 and 28, 29 & 30) because you can visit more than 100 “must see” places for FREE during these six days at the end of September. Trails & Sails is the annual ‘signature’ event for Essex Heritage – so you don’t want to miss it!
On June 27th the Salem News will hold an OPEN HOUSE at the Danversport Yacht Club in Danvers to say goodbye and thank you to their long time employee and Editorial Page Editor Nelson Benton upon his Retirement. Nelson worked for the Salem News for 40 years! All are invited and there is no charge.
Congratulations to Roberta Crosbie who has been appointed to the position of Town Manager in the Town of Ipswich. That position has been vacant since last winter when the incumbent Town Manager resigned to take a similar position in Maine. Ms. Crosbie has been the Town Manager of Longmeadow for the last eight years, a community that is similar to Ipswich in many aspects including geographic size and population. Essex Heritage stands ready to assist the manager as she begins her new assignment as we have always done with other community officials