Correction to 2012 Rocky Neck Plunge Video from Kim Smith

Wonderful to see the Douglass Family celebrating ancestor Captain Fred Douglass with a Rocky Neck Plunge of their own! And I was glad to learn the name of the beach is Flynn’s Beach, not Oak Cove Beach. The Community Heritage Map of Cape Ann, 1889, does not give a name to the beach on Oakes (note spelling of Oakes) Cove, however, many long-time residents refer to it as Flynn’s Beach. Upon close inspection of the map of 1889, several of the properties abutting Oakes Cove belong to S.W. Oakes. In the Douglass’ post of yesterday, Oakes Cove was referred to as Wonsons Cove. Wonsons Cove is the cove just south of Oakes Cove, which you see to your immediate left when crossing the Rocky Neck Avenue causeway on your way into Rocky Neck.

On the old map, we can see our home on Plum Street, which was built in 1851, and can barely make out the name of the owner of 1889–it appears as though the last name is Douglass–perhaps relatives of Captain Fred Douglass and the Douglass family? Our home is on the eastern side of the former Point Grammar School. The house on the map on the western side of the school is more clearly labeled and that too is owned by a Douglass, either S.G. or S.C. Douglass.

Click Map to See Larger Image

8 thoughts on “Correction to 2012 Rocky Neck Plunge Video from Kim Smith

  1. This post just makes my day. My father was Edward P. Flynn and he bought the house on the cove next to the Public Way in 1962. He was originally from upstate NY but found Gloucester in mid 50’s when he was stationed with the Coast Guard in Boston. He fell in love with all things Gloucester and came back to settle on Rocky Neck after his stint in the service and completing college. For my brother and I, Rocky Neck and the cove with all of Gloucester’s charm and quirkiness made for the most idyllic childhood imaginable. Despite troubled times and battling personal demons later in his life my father’s love for Gloucester never wavered. We scattered his ashes off the rocks on the cove because no other place gave him more joy or comfort. If he knew that the place he loved so well was called Flynn’s Cove by some, few things would have delighted him more.


    1. Hi Abbie- Now I remember, I used to chat with your father Ed when I lived on Wiley Street in the Old Yacht Club. And didn’t Mary Littlefield live in the cottage out on the pilings. I photographed it being moved off the pilings by crane and put onto a barge, as was the Oakes Cove cottage on the Rockaway property, all in the same day! I believe both cottages are now houseboats in Gloucester. Hope to see you in the gallery again!


      1. Hi Fred, I didn’t know you had lived on the Neck. My father loved doing walking rounds of the neighborhood after dinner. He also loved to hang out at Sailor Stans when it was called Drift In. It was Brian who suggested I come to your gallery a couple of years ago, and I’ll definitely be back. I’d love to see your photographs of the cottage. The cottage you photographed wasn’t the first cottage on those pilings. It had been re-built in the late 70’s when a huge nor’easter lifted original little red cottage off the pilings and took it out to sea. It was heartbreaking to watch. The original red cottage was the subject for many painters and my parents looked at many paintings of it over the years before choosing a beautiful watercolor of it by Bernie Gerstner, who I think is still on the Neck. I treasure it still. The pilings on the beach look so lonely, so it’s nice to know the little cottage is home to someone.


  2. A long-time resident on Oakes Cove was Mr. Flynn. His son Brian, who lives in Connecticut, visits Gloucester and my gallery every summer. After Mr. Flynn passed away (I’m thinking in the 1980’s), his house and a small cottage on pilings over the water, were torn down. A new house sits on the property, which abuts the neighborhood walkway down to the beach.


  3. Wow!! Thank you Abbie and Fred for your comments–it is wonderful to know this bit of history about Oakes Cove and Flynn’s Beach. I’ve spent many happy hours playing there with our children when they were younger and will never look at Flynn’s Beach quite the same, imagining houses and pilings that are no longer.

    This past autumn i shot some footage of two beautiful children at Flynn’s Beach-a boy and a girl– watching the sunset together perched above the water in the granite outcropping in what appeared to be the most idyllic seat naturally worn into the granite. I’ll search for that footage and try to post it in the next few days. Many thanks again for posting all this good information.


    1. I would love to see your footage, Kim. And thank you too for your original post! I can’t begin to guess how many hours I spent on those granite ledges as kid. It drove my mother crazy that I constantly ripped and wore out pants sliding down the ledges. I loved to just sit up there, watch and think. When we’re in the area, I bring my kids there too. It’s magic.


  4. Thanks, Abbie. I certainly remember you and Brian as well as you mom and dad when you lived on Wonson Street. I grew up in E. Gloucester and worked to see your dad elected to the City Council. It’s very apt that the Cove is now named for him. Prior to that the beach was was usually referred to as Oak Cove Beach, if memory serves.


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