Farmhouse Fixer Concord Street House: The Story Behind the Story

As you probably heard, the HGTV show Farmhouse Fixer visited Gloucester to “fix” an old farmhouse on Concord Street. It is Episode 4: “A Farmhouse for a Chef”. I recently watching this episode with special interest to hear what stories were told about the house and property.

In early 2020, GMG was contacted by Heidi Gemer, a producer at High Noon Entertainment about researching the properties HGTV was interested in. Joey forwarded it to me, and off I went! I love this kind of assignment and I dove in head first with great enthusiasm. I found all kinds of cool stories about both properties but the pandemic brought all my communication with Heidi to an abrupt halt. I had wondered what had become of the project, which obviously moved forward without my able assistance.

So I was very intrigued by what might be presented in these episodes. They told a wonderful warm story with all the usual Fixer-show drama and flair. BUT here’s one story they missed and I think it’s a pretty good one.

One longtime resident at this home on Concord Street was Harold Maddocks, who trained as an artist but became associated with his father’s drug store in Gloucester. This is perhaps how the story that a doctor lived there came to the attention of the current owners. It is unclear when Harold’s father lived there, but Harold lived there for a good chunk of the 1930s and 1940s.

Not only did he become a renowned local artist with a studio in Rockport, he was also president of the Addison Gilbert Hospital 1941-47 guiding it through the war years. A portion of his Dec 30 1963 obituary in the Gloucester Daily Times:

I went to Addison Gilbert to see if I could get more information but they were understandably busier with other things last spring. This is an example of his art work as seen at Images of a New England Seacoast 1900-1950 website and it is called Gertrude Thibeaud & Bluenose, Schooner Race, 1938 (when he lived on Concord Street).

I found a great deal of information about him at the Cape Ann Museum in their artists folders. Lucky me I snuck in there right before the shutdown. Here’s a picture that was included in that file along with a profile which included:

“A Sunday painter who had art training as a graduate of the old Massachusetts Normal Art School and very easily could have qualified as a professional painter if he had not gone into his father’s drug business.” I believe the profile prose and the writing seen on the photograph may be his own.

I was so sure HGTV would find this story as fascinating as I did, but alas I went down the wrong rabbit hole of research. Not all is lost though because I get to share this story of Gloucester with you! The lovely home today:

3 thoughts on “Farmhouse Fixer Concord Street House: The Story Behind the Story

  1. I enjoy the story of the farm house. I started watching the new show on HGTV and looked it up when they mentioned Ipswich. I thought to myself , is this Massachusetts. So I googled it and I’m glad I did. I love farm homes the best than any other homes. Thanks for the story

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  2. I have watched all 6 of the episodes of this show and I really like it! I love Cape Ann and I hope they make some more episodes in the future!

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  3. The Maddocks summer cottage was right next door to my great grandmother’s cottage on Bearskin Neck at the end of Thurston Place. As I recall, the scuttlebutt was that one of Harold’s ancestors had come up with the formulation for Angostura Bitters…Harold would get a percentage of the profits on every bottle sold. Since they did not have any children, they provided the funds to send two kids to college every year. Whether that story is apocryphal or not, I do not know but it’s a nice story anyway!

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