American Legion Post 3 and Our Lady of Good Voyage #GloucesterMA should be fixed up for the 400+ Anniversary

Both buildings require immediate facade care. Preservation goals have been outlined for the Legion that will be necessary, too.

They’re heritage landmarks of cultural significance then and now.

Captain Lester S. Wass Post 3 of the American Legion is located at 8 Washington Street, Gloucester, MA.

Our Lady of Good Voyage is located at 142 Prospect Street, Gloucester, MA.

Private-public partnership projects for incremental studies, phases, projects and initiatives greenlit in Gloucester have been awarded funding support with big price tags: $400,000, 1 million, 4-5 million, 29 million, 56 -90+ million, and incentives. Perhaps **new** endeavors could include care of irreplaceable cultural mainstays as part of their ventures.

video clip above – spring 2021

Read more about the Legion then|now here

Legion organizing its own fundraiser – read the Gloucester Daily Times article here

Our Lady of Good Voyage Church – blue domes sustained damage. Read more about it here

On this day in 1921, Boston Globe in #GloucesterMA with crowd of 10,000 for a double dedication | American Legion memorial building and the base for the delayed replica of Anna Vaughn Hyatt Joan of Arc statue  


“The first day’s ceremonies in connection with the dedication of the American Legion memorial building, in Old Town Hall Square and the dedication of the base on which will stand a replica of Anna Vaughn Hyatt’s statue of Joan of Arc, were of an impressive nature.

To dream the impossible dream.

A feature of the day was an address by Major Gen. Clarence R. Edwards in which he characterized peace by disarmament an impossible dream.

Speaking this evening from the balcony of the new Legion Building, Gen. Edwards said that the importance of the National defense in the World War was realized more deeply than ever, and that Cape Ann played a major part with other important strategic points. Alluding to pacifist propaganda, he characterized the realization of peace by disarmament as an impossible dream. Place two children 9 months old together and a toy between them, he said, and a struggle ensues. This basic principle is ingrained in every person and animal. Alluding to Americanism, immigration and melting pot problems, he said that the association of the youth of the immigrant with those of native stock will settle those questions.

“Why,” he said, “a foreign born youth who will face a nest of machine guns in the defense of this country is a good enough American for me.” He referred to the case of Sergt. Casagranda of Bay View, a suburb of this city. Twenty of his comrades petitioned for his advancement over them to rank of sergeant.

A regrettable incident of the day was an accident to Vice Commander Eugene Lord of the local Legion post. He drove an auto against a rope across a street that was barred off. The glass of the windshield was broken, cutting him across the face and destroying the sight of an eye.

Services in the Morning.

The Legion Post attended services at the Independent Christian Universalist Church this morning. A special program had been arranged by Prof. George B. Stevens, the organist of the church.

As the Legion filed down the elm shaded churchyard, the bugler played “The Marsellaise.” This theme was taken up on the organ as the Legion filed into the church.

The pastor, Rev. Dr. John Clarence Lee, preached. Dr. Lee reminded his auditors that the first pastor of the church. Rev. John Murray, was commissioned a chaplain by Gen. George Washington.

Capt. Lester S. Wass, for whom the Legion Post is named, was an attendant at the church. He pleaded for justice to disabled and needy war veterans.

Names on Tablets.

The exercises tonight at the dedication of the base of the monument were deeply impressive. Owing to causes beyond the Legion post’s control the statue could not be delivered in time for the dedication. The Cape Ann granite base, designed by Frederick G. Hall, a Boston artist, a summer resident of East Gloucester, had been placed in position with the bronze tablets bearing the names of the 57 youths who went from Gloucester to the World War never to return. The base was draped with the Stars and Stripes. At each corner of the base was a column. On each of these four columns, in black and white, were Romanesque braziers. These braziers were lighted, also four incense urns. The faces of the thousands who stood with bared heads were illuminated.

All sensed the solemnity of the moment.

Battery Fires Salute.

A battery fired 57 rounds for the boys* who did not return from war. At the same time all the church bells in the city tolled.

The speaking took place from a balcony in the Legion building. Mayor Wheeler made a short address, followed by Maj. Gen. Clarence R. Edwards of the 26th Division. He was followed by Col. A. Piatt Andrew, commander of the Legion post. Then the concourse sang “America”.

Prayer was offered by Rev. William J. Dwyer, PR. Of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Rev. Dr. A.A. Madsen of Trinity Congregational Church and Rabbi J. Steinberg of the Jewish Synagogue.

The tablets were unveiled by Miss Abby F. Rust, a squad firing a funeral volley and “Taps” being sounded.

Council’s tribute.

The mothers and fathers and near relatives of the dead were then escorted forward, each placing a wreath of palm on the base of the monument. Mayor Wheeler and the city council then performed the same rite on behalf of the city.

The vested choir of St. Ann’s now sang the Gregorian chant, followed by the vested choir of St. John’s Episcopal Church singing ‘The Son of God Goes Forth to War”.

Representatives of the churches deposited their floral tributes. The great crowd of 10,000 persons, a great many of whom deposited floral tributes, filed reverently away. The enclosure was literally buried with flowers. In this ceremony delegations from the Mine Laying fleet, the G.A.R. Spanish War Veterans, Red Cross and all the civic and secret organizations of the city were represented.

Legion Hall Dedicated.  

Preceding the dedication of the base was the dedication of the legion hall, the old Town Hall of Colonial design, restored and enlarged, with the unveiling of an oil painting of Capt. Lester S. Wass of this city, who lost his life in the Argonne while leading a company of marines. The painting is the contribution of Eben F. Comins, a Boston artist and summer resident of Eastern Point.

The address was by Maj. James T. Duane, State commander of the American Legion. Mr. Comins presented the picture to the post and the unveiling was by Miss Elizabeth Wass Foster, a niece of Captain Wass.

The prayer and benediction was by Rev. Bertram D. Bolvin, ex-chaplain of the 15th Infantry, State Guard, and minister of the First Parish Unitarian Church of this city.

In order that Gen. and Mrs. Edwards might be present, Capt. Lackey of the U.SS San Francisco, flagship of the Mine Fleet, detailed a destroyer to go to Plymouth to bring them over.”

“Disarmament Dream, Edwards Speaks to Thousands at Gloucester Memorials to the City’s War Dead. Dedicated official of Legion Post loses eye in accident during the event. Special Dispatch to the Globe.” Boston Globe, July 3, 1921

photo credit above: interior c. ryan 2017 (installation view of Eben Comins portrait of marine Capt. Lester S. Wass. The artist gifted the painting as part of the Legion Post dedication in 1921. Legion Post Honor books to the left.) Exterior: Smithsonian collection (b&wh); c. ryan 2016

photo credit below: c. ryan, 2016 / reprint by Fred Bodin of historic photo (Town Hall before architectural additions)

Gloucester Meetinghouse UU symposium- Finding Common Ground: American Culture, Gun Violence, 2nd Amendment


press release shared with GMG:

Upcoming symposium hosted by Gloucester Meetinghouse foundation at historic Gloucester UU  Church (Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church) May 19, 2018 FINDING COMMON GROUND: A SYMPOSIUM ON AMERICAN CULTURE, GUN VIOLENCE AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT


Spurred by national concern about mass shootings, a symposium in Gloucester on Saturday, May 19, will put a fresh focus on gun violence, examining both the intent and application of the Second Amendment and the differences among us that led to an impasse in addressing the problem. The afternoon program, at the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church, is sponsored by the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation. It will include:

  • Students from Gloucester High School speaking about the growing youth movement against gun violence;
  • A presentation by former Essex County District Attorney Kevin Burke on issues surrounding the intent of the Second Amendment’s language on the right to bear arms and its application today;
  • Remarks by Mark Nestor, a Vietnam veteran who as commander of Gloucester’s American Legion Post 3 oversaw a unanimous vote by Post members favoring tighter regulation of firearms;
  • Discussion by Cape Ann clergy on the moral imperative for action with diverse approaches;
  • A panel discussion that will include John Rosenthal, a Boston businessman and Gloucester resident whose national organization, Stop Handgun Violence, campaigns to reduce firearms deaths.

The keynote speaker is Colin Woodard, author of “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America.” The Washington Post described this book as “a compelling and informative attempt to make sense of the regional divides in North America in general and this country in particular.” said it “explodes the red state-blue state myth” and describes how conflicts between cultures “have shaped our country’s past and mold its future.”

This symposium is occurring as our country experiences outrage over the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting and a powerful new youth movement is taking shape with the intent to make sure it never happens again. Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation vice president Sandra Ronan describes it as “an event to help restore civic dialogue by seeking common ground on an emotional and difficult subject.” Richard Prouty, a lifelong educator and former director of Project Adventure in Beverly, will be moderator.

The program begins at 2 p.m., is separated into four segments with 15-minute breaks, and will conclude at 6 p.m. with a ceremonial ringing of the church’s Paul Revere bell, for freedom. The community is welcome to attend all, or only some, of the segments. Written questions will be welcomed and reviewed for replies from the panel in the final segment.

The program is free with voluntary donations invited. Refreshments will be available. The event is part of the Meetinghouse Foundation’s 2017-18 Concert & Lecture Series. The nonprofit, IRS-recognized Foundation was founded to help preserve and increase public use of the 212-year-old Meetinghouse. The structure is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the church founders are recognized for their role in establishing religious freedom in Massachusetts, well before that guarantee was made in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

            The Meetinghouse is located at the corner of Middle and Church Streets in downtown Gloucester and has easy access for persons with disabilities at the side entrance at 10 Church Street. Parking is available on the Meetinghouse Green, in lots nearby in the Central Gloucester Historic District, and at St. Peter’s Square.

continue to read fact sheet schedule

Continue reading “Gloucester Meetinghouse UU symposium- Finding Common Ground: American Culture, Gun Violence, 2nd Amendment”

$750,000 #NEH grant opportunity for Gloucester…so many possible ideas and projects!

Archival documentation of a federal grant awarded to Gloucester and nationally recognized for its innovation at the time: reclaiming the City dump for an atheletic field at the High School. Photographs of the project included a sweeping vista from atop Hovey Street. Innovative public works dump reclaimed as Gloucester High School track WPA Annual Bulletin

overlay-banner2_originalShared projects and working together are a focus for a new 2018 NEH grant opportunity.

Contact Mayor Romeo Theken’s arts & culture hotline  by Febraury 28 to add to a list of potential projects for Gloucester for this NEH Deadline, March 15, or to consider as other funding opportunities arise.

Mayor Romeo Theken shares the 2018 press release from the Commonwealth:

Activities supported by National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant funds include:
 capital expenditures such as the design, purchase, construction, restoration
or renovation of facilities and historic landscapes;
 the purchase of equipment and software;
 the documentation of cultural heritage materials that are lost or imperiled:
 the sustaining of digital scholarly infrastructure;
 the preservation and conservation of collections; and
 the sharing of collections.

The grant below is a new grant from NEH and could be a great opportunity to enhance your local cultural or historical organizations. Please share it far and wide. And let us know if we can provide a letter of support for an application from your community.  Regards, Rick Jakious

Good afternoon, 
The National Endowment for the Humanities has just announced a new grant program to support humanities infrastructures. Cultural institutions, such as libraries, museums, archives, colleges and universities, and historic sites, are eligible to apply for grants of up to $750,000.
These challenge grants, which require a match of nonfederal funds, may be used toward capital expenditures such as construction and renovation projects, purchase of equipment and software, sharing of humanities collections between institutions, documentation of lost or imperiled cultural heritage, sustaining digital scholarly infrastructure, and preservation and conservation of humanities collections.
The application deadline for the first NEH Infrastructure and Capacity-Building Challenge Grants is March 15, 2018. Interested applicants should direct questions about grant proposals to challenge@neh.govor 202-606-8309. 
Please consider sharing this exciting new funding opportunity with cultural institutions in your district.
Thank you,Timothy H. Robison
Director of Congressional Affairs
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 7th Street, SW  4th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20506
(202) 606-8273

Innovative and worthy contemporary Gloucester possibilities abound: shared Archives (NSAA, Rocky Neck, Sargent House, City Archives, CAM, Legion, Libraries, Wards historical societies, etc); Digitize City Archives; Digitize Gloucester Daily Times archives; building and historic landscape projects city owned (City Archives, City Hall, Legion, Fitz Henry Lane, Fire Station, Stage Fort, beaches, etc) or in partnership; DPW work; on and on.

Additional grant opportunities, news, and deadlines: Continue reading “$750,000 #NEH grant opportunity for Gloucester…so many possible ideas and projects!”

WWII Navy ship’s bell mystery and news from Capt Lester S Wass American Legion Post 3

Commander Mark Nestor welcomed the city’s Tourism Commission to the Capt. Lester S Wass American Legion Post 3, Gloucester, MA. Gloucester Congressman A. Piatt Andrew (1873-1936) founded the American Field Service and was instrumental in forming the National American Legion at this post. It’s the third oldest in the country, and its 100th anniversary in 2019 is fast approaching.

The Legion has a new website

It was pushed along by the requests for an on line drive to support  legionnaires suffering as a result of recent hurricane Harvey/Irma.

The building and legion accommodate thousands of visitors annually. The building itself was constructed ca.1844 and is one of the greatest examples of residents crowd sourcing together to purchase a municipal building. The architecture serves an enduring patriotic role: first as a Town Hall, then school, and since WW1  the Legion Post 3.

Nestor expressed gratitude for the city. This past summer they restored the wood floors, which brightened the space from the everyday black/brown grime of the past 20 years. They’ve greatly improved the space and display. A museum mount for the handwritten contemporaneous Official City Clerk copy of the WW1 army and navy register is a high light. A writer has already relied on it for original research.


The Legion is open to the community and rented for private events. There is a private recreation room for veterans which is under renovation. Upkeep and care of the building is ongoing.


Can you help identify the WWII naval vessel? The bell belonged to Reverend John J. Sheehan who was a Navy Chaplain. “It’s believed the bell was from the vessel he served on, but the ship remains unknown.” Sheehan’s cousin donated the ship bell to the Post. From the Legion’s plaque:

“After World War I, Reverend Sheehan served as Director at Camp Stella Maris for more than 40 years. It was a summer camp for youth located in West Gloucester. Its name is inscribed on the bell. Reverend Sheehan was also the National Chaplain for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also served as Pastor in a number of Catholic parishes on the north shore. The bell was dedicated to a Stephen Chamberlin. Stephen Chamberlin was a Ret. Lieutenant General who served in the army during WWII and was the Asst. Chief of Staff,G-3 in General Douglas Macarthur’s General Headquarters in the southwest Pacific area. His relationship to Reverend Sheehan is unknown.”


20170912_172813 (2)

The commemorative coin celebrating the Capt Lester S Wass Post No. 3 100th anniversary and the Cape Ann Veterans Services coin are for sale.

Adam Curcuru, Director Cape Ann Veterans Services, attended the meeting and remarked how great it was “to see our Veterans organizations being utilized to support our great communities.”

Adam Curcuru at the Legion for the Gloucester Tourism Commission meeting

Anna Be Bela Judith Morgan





Morgan Faulds Pike Gloucester Fishermens Wives Memorial


Morgan Faulds Pike 

street art Gloucester: 21st Century Orphans by Danny Diamond graffiti writer and mural artist






There’s a monumental outdoor mural behind Prince Insurance at 3 Washington Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts, that changes every year. It’s sited on private property.

Thanks to the Greeke family who own Prince Insurance and let him have at it, artist and writer Danny Diamond has expressed his ideas and showcased his can command on this same outside wall annually since 2011.


My favorite sight line is from Middle Street heading to the Captain Lester S. Wass American Legion Post 3 and the Joan of Arc sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington. It’s in a tight spot, and so is the kid with the green, green eyes staring back from the latest mural.

Diamond is using his talents to bring awareness to homelessness and the economy. Here’s an excerpt from his statement about 21st Century Orphans: “The windfall of green-backs that flies from my letters gives way to dingy news-print and beggars’ placards–this orphaned child’s currency. It’s rarely discussed, in our scenic little fishing town, that the homeless population has increased in Massachusetts by 40% since 2007, even as the national average was in decline. This in part due to the fact that the cost of living here in Mass is among the highest in the country; the cost of housing continues to increase now that the market has come back, and there is no relief in sight… Fifteen percent (over half a million) of our children here in the Bay state live in poverty; of the over seventeen-thousand homeless people here, thirty-eight percent are children.” – Danny Diamond, 2016

A Gloucester native, Diamond is busy with commercial art and commissions on both coasts.  I had a chance to ask him more about his art and writing after I did a post about the sea monster fence he painted. He brushed off the street artist description: “I consider myself a graffiti-writer and sometimes a mural-artist, but not a “street-artist” (semantic distinction).”  I asked him about Gloucester connections and if he went to the high school. Did any teachers influence him? He wrote back swiftly:

I studied art under Jackie Underwood, who was “Jackie Kapp” at the time, as well as theatre and set-design with Krista Cowan and Kim Trigilio. I went on to earn a cum laude BA in English Lit and Creative Writing at UMass Boston, class of ’06… I spent a lot of time at Artspace on Center St. as a kid, and so Gloucester’s sub-cultural grandmaster Shep Abbott had a big effect on me by bringing punk rock and mural art into downtown. I was mentored in the world of graffiti art by the late Jed Richardson of Manhattan who was a major figure in the NYC subway-train art movement of the 1980’s; he moved to Gloucester in 2001 or so and remained here until his passing in September of ’09… ” 

Diamond created a tribute chalk mural to his mentor at Minglewood Tavern. I worked in New York and saw first hand the 1980 era kings (and not so kings) of subway and club graffiti. I didn’t know Jed Richardson’s work and wondered if Diamond had an image to share for this post.

artist Jed Richardson c.2008 (photo from artist Danny Diamond)

I also thought about the owners who turned over their wall for Diamond’s art. I learned that the building is owned by Peter Greeke who founded Prince Insurance. Aha! A creative family that understood and allows Danny Diamond the use of a large wall to practice and express his art. The Prince Insurance company is on Washington Street between Middle and Main and directly across from the Legion. It is a second generation family business that has specialized  in personal insurance for more than 35 years. It’s now co-owned by sisters, Melissa Moseley and Wendy Prendergast. A third sister, fashion designer Jennifer Greeke, operates Harpy Fashion out of the back office. The Prince Insurance storefront stands out with such original picture window displays.These windows are an entire family affair. Melissa doesn’t remember a time before the windows. Their mother creates them; Jen has made clothing, sculpted papier-mâché  creatures and mermaids. “Of course because of the community we  live in, over time artistic customers and friends joined in…like Richard Harding and the built boat. They’re just a lot of fun.”   Prince Insurance has a beautiful new website.

I hoped Danny Diamond had a record of his devoted wall mural project, which he obliterates and repaints every year. He did. Photographs below are from Diamond or his website,  His Instagram is @pyse117.  I added one showing a work in progress he is  completing for a new restaurant opening in Salem in February and other local commissions.

Continue reading “street art Gloucester: 21st Century Orphans by Danny Diamond graffiti writer and mural artist”

Happy New Year! Onward

Dusting of snow along the back of Anna Hyatt Huntington’s superb Joan of Arc WWI memorial, such a multifaceted muse and Gloucester landmark.

Whatever brings you there– artist, subject, sculpture, setting, history –its surplus of qualities alone and together reward gaze and inquiry. I took several photographs early December 30th, careful compositions against a gift of blues and vault of morning sky. For this one, I roughly edited out the telephone wires for my thoughts. Shake off 2016 and frame up a fresh start for the year ahead!


(See Joan of Arc HarborWalk story moment for more information.)