Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, message about the superpower of art & culture

December 2018 looking ahead:

“We are on the front lines of a war on poverty. Not necessarily a shortage of material wealth, although its distribution in America is both a consequence and contributor to the current distress.

The poverty our field confronts every day is that which Robert Kennedy confronted while running for President in 1968. He contrasted the wealth represented in the nation’s gross national product with the wealth necessary to sustain a democracy and make life worth living. 

He¬†said, ‚Äú‚Ķthe gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.‚ÄĚ

We are currently in one of the best economies in a generation, but studies show record declines in our sense of well-being. Worse yet, life expectancy in the U.S. has declined for the third straight year. Major newspapers are sounding the alarm. In the Washington Post, George Will writes that loneliness, a major public health problem, is in ‚Äúepidemic proportions‚ÄĚ and that people are unhappier, more isolated and less fulfilled. David Brooks claims, in the New York Times, the biggest factor is the crisis of connection. We are ‚Äúin a straight-up social catastrophe,‚ÄĚ he writes.¬†
 
For nearly the last 20 years, those of us who advocate for the arts and culture have made the economy the centerpiece of our argument. We’ve collected economic impact data, counted the jobs we create and the taxes we generate, and touted our centrality to the tourism industry. We became the poster child of the creative economy. In an environment of it’s the economy stupid, these arguments won over state legislators and delivered budget increases to state arts agencies.

Five years ago, I wrote a column for a national arts blog suggesting that it was time to dial back the economic argument, even suggesting that there is something powerful about the intrinsic value of the arts. That the transforming power of culture is the power of creative expression, human engagement, and empathy. 

This is the poverty of our time. When Kennedy spoke of joy, beauty, intelligence, integrity, wit, wisdom, courage, compassion, and devotion he spoke of the ideals that are inherent in art and culture.

The arts and culture are the antidote to what ails us as a nation. In fact, they can both prevent and cure. Studies show that creative and cultural participation enhances human health and well-being leading to: reduced social isolation; opportunities for learning; calming experiences and decreased anxiety; more optimism, hope and enjoyment; increased self-esteem and sense of identity; increased inspiration and ‚Äúmeaning-making;‚ÄĚ and better communication.

I can write about the studies and outcomes, but the heart is more articulate:
‚ÄúIt is a remarkable experience to witness a high school student watching a young adult with down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy offer a sonnet, and think to himself, ‚ÄėI want to do that. I want to have that kind of courage, that kind of conviction.‚Äô Or to be a man or a woman of any age and watch someone you have typecast in your heart of hearts as somehow less than, stand in the center of a crowd and speak a truth about what it is like to dream of being seen for all of what you offer and know that a wall has just fallen…and through that kind of honest performance, know that you have been changed for the better,‚Ä̬†writes Maria Sirois about Community Access to the Arts in Great Barrington, an organization that unleashes the arts in people with disabilities.

Music can help stroke victims regain their speech. You’re never too old to sing, or dance, or paint. Victims of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia find calm and clarity through the arts. Art is a universal language that bridges race, ethnicity, and culture Рin a neighborhood, or across continents. The arts help explain the complexity of physics or climate change. Science and art are close cousins, sharing the bloodlines of creativity, risk taking, and problem solving.
 
Massachusetts cultural organizations are committed to serving everybody in the Commonwealth. They joined a new program this year to offer the benefits only the arts and culture can provide to people who have fallen on hard times and are receiving assistance through the state EBT card, a card that provides help to families living near the poverty level. Our organizations agreed to offer free or greatly reduced admission prices to EBT cardholders. In our first year, we tracked 220,000 EBT admissions. 

Nearly a quarter of a million doses of arts and culture to people in need. Again, the heart is in the stories. One concertgoer, who had not been able to attend a concert in years said, ‚ÄúIt was nice to have a slice of my old life back.‚ÄĚ Another said ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs hard to describe the feeling of being able to do something ‚Äėnormal‚Äô when everything else isn‚Äôt.‚ÄĚ

The Mass Cultural Council is not an economic development agency, but when we do arts well, tourists visit and spend money, communities become destinations and better places to live, jobs are supported and created, innovators want to live here, and build new businesses.
 
The Mass Cultural Council is not an education agency, but when children have a quality experience participating in the arts, in school, and out of school, they exercise their creative minds, learn to think critically, are better observers and team players, and get a better education.

The Mass Cultural Council is not a human service agency, but when some of our most troubled youth participate in arts programs that give them a productive outlet for their fears and anger, provide a supportive community, build self-esteem and teach skills that will last a lifetime, these young people are saved from gangs, prison, drugs, even death.

In her book ‚ÄúNot for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities,‚ÄĚ philosopher Martha Nussbaum writes:

‚ÄúCitizens cannot relate well to the complex world around them by factual knowledge and logic alone. The third ability of the citizen, closely related to the first two, is what we can call the narrative imagination. This means the ability to think what it might be like to be in the shoes of a person different from oneself, to be an intelligent reader of that person‚Äôs story, and to understand the emotions and wishes and desires that someone so placed might have.‚ÄĚ

Martha Nussbaum is a close reader of Aristotle, who defined the good life as one that was authentically meaningfully rich: rich with relationships, ideas, emotion, health and vigor, recognition and contribution, passion and fulfillment, great accomplishment, and enduring achievement.

George Will writes of the crumbling of America‚Äôs social infrastructure and the need for new habits of mind and heart, new practices of neighborliness. David Brooks says, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not jobs, jobs, jobs anymore. It‚Äôs relationships, relationships, relationships.‚ÄĚ Real relationships, not virtual or transactional ones. True engagement of heart and mind.

The poverty we face is one we can defeat. Novelist Alice Walker once said, ‚ÄúThe most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.‚ÄĚ
 
Story. Imagination. Empathy.¬†This is our superpower: the power of culture.” –¬†
Anita Walker , Executive Director, Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) 

Visit the Mass Cultural Council website

Have a podcast listen –¬†Creative Minds Out Loud:¬† podcast for art and Culture –¬†¬†Informative and lively conversations with arts and cultural leaders. Creative Minds Out Loud¬†is a project of the¬†Mass Cultural Council, and is hosted by Executive Director Anita Walker.¬†https://creativemindsoutloud.org

 

 

Does the #MBTA new design for the #Annisquam River bridge look like a prison tower to you?

MBTA Gloucester bridge sim

The tower and the scale of the concrete column brought to mind the opening scenes of Dr. Zhivago with Alec Guinness looking for his niece. Here’s a TCM film clip to give you some idea of what I mean despite cutting off right before the pan up to the guard tower.

Dr Z still

 

Here’s how the Annisquam bridge looks today.

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Mostly great gorgeous marsh.

Its scale suits the site and often disappears. American artist Edward Hopper painted a close up in 1923.

landscape-with-bridge-watercolor-whitney1

There are four significant Edward Hopper artworks that are related to the commuter train he took from NYC to Gloucester, MA. I sent the images to Fay Spofford & Thorndike for their reference as in my professional experience any architects and engineers that I’ve worked with were keen on historic links. They couldn’t have known this one.¬†Until I corrected the records in 2011, the Hopper watercolor was misattributed as an unidentified landscape, likely Maine or Massachusetts. It’s definitely Massachusetts–the Annisquam River train bridge in Gloucester, MA, to be precise. If you live here, you know that scene by heart. Hopper captured most every gateway to Gloucester.¬†A 2012 photograph by Allegra Boverman reporting on bridge damage for the Gloucester Daily Times, zoomed in just so, helped me illustrate the match.

Catherine Ryan identifying Edward Hopper Annisquam River Bridge

I also shared the exciting Hopper news and connections with then Mayor Kirk, community development, Senator Tarr, the Gloucester Daily Times, and the Boston Globe. I wasn’t speaking to them about the design as I felt the state and the architects and engineers would be on that.

I have no idea when that distinct yellow shack–a mini me Cape Ann motif– was no longer there: perhaps it could be recreated, or a nod to the A Piatt Andrew bridge could be referenced with some planning? Maybe some of the diagonals of the old structure, or some other New England elements at the abutment sides could be incorporated into the design?

A couple of years later, I found an old Good Morning Gloucester post by Fredrik D. Bodin. There’s no mistaking that two level shack! I wish I could have spoken with him about the Curtis photograph.

a8767_017wm FRED BODIN little yellow house motif like and new england building on right

I don’t suggest that the treacherous bridge needs to be “preserved” or want to impede progress. ¬†However, if there is a small way that the design can tip its hat to Hopper, Gloucester, New England…why not? It is a landmark, a beacon for Cape Ann. ¬†It’s very exciting that the project is going out to bid. I hope the winning firm mitigates the design to temper any possible prison comparison. Leave the pier-column design but adjust the tower? Can it be both structurally sound and inspiring?

Long Beach shifting sands and seawall: Rockport DPW targets nature and infrastructure

The other Singing Beach

As with Manchester Singing and other North Shore beaches, the white or “dry” ¬†sand of Long Beach sings a musical sound as you scuff ahead. Lately though it’s whistling a shorter tune because there’s an astonishing loss of the dry grains.

Over the last 10 years, ¬†so much sand has been washed away from Long Beach most every high tide hits the seawall. Boogie boarders need to truncate their wave rides else risk landing on the rip-rap. ¬†It’s become a competitive sport to lay claim to some beach chair and towel real estate if you want a dry seat. On the plus side, low tide is great for beach soccer and tennis, long walks and runs. Bocce ball has replaced can jam and spikeball as the beach games of summer 2017.

Seasoned locals recall having to ‘trudge ¬†a mile’ across dry sand before hitting wet sand and water. In my research I’ve seen historic visuals that support their claims.

Vista: Entrance from the Gloucester side of Long Beach

Historic photos and contemporary images –from 10 years ago– show a stretch of white sand like this one looking out from the Gloucester side of Long Beach to the Rockport side.

Long Beach

photocard showing the pedestrian walkway prior to the concrete boardwalk. Historic prints from ©Fredrik D. Bodin (1950-2015) show the damage after storm, 1931. See his GMG post and rodeo (ca. 1950)

fred bodin long beach after the storm

After the Storm, Long Beach, 1931 ¬† Alice M. Curtis/¬©Fredrik D. Bodin (1950-2015) “Printed from the original 5√ó7 inch film negative in my darkroom.¬†Image #88657-134 (Long Beach looking toward Rockport)”

Fredrik D. Bodin Long Beach

Vista: Facing the Gloucester side of Long Beach

This next vintage postcard flips the view: facing the Gloucester side of Long Beach –looking back to glacial rocks we can match out today, a tide line that shows wet and dry sands, and the monumental Edgecliffe Hotel which welcomed thousands of summer visitors thanks to a hopping casino.¬†The white sand evident in front of ¬†the Edgecliffe bath houses (what is now Cape Ann Motor Inn) has plummeted since a 2012 February storm and vanished it seems, perhaps temporarily, perhaps not. It’s most evident where several feet of sand was cleaved off from the approach to the boardwalk.

EdgeCliffe Hotel and surf Long Beach Gloucester Mass postcard

 

Seasons of sand

I find the annual sand migration on Long Beach a fascinating natural mystery. It’s dramatic every year. Here are photos from this last year: fall (late Sept 2016), winter (December- ¬†sand covers rip-rap), spring (April -after winter storms with alarming loss), and summer (today)

FALL

September 2016

 

WINTER

december 2016

 

SPRING April rip-rap uncovered, exposed. Climbing to the boardwalk is an exciting challenge for two boys I know (when the sand is filled in like the December photo it’s a short drop)

April Long Beach

IMG_20170410_150906 (1)

 

SUMMER July 14 sand is coming back though all boulders are not entirely submerged

IMG_20170714_103533

IMG_20170714_103222

 

Storms (namely February) strip the silky soft top sand away and expose the boulders strengthening the seawall. It’s easy to feel alarmed that the beach is disappearing. By summer, the sand fills back, though not always in the same spot or same quantity. Some rip-rap expanses remain exposed. Most is re-buried beneath feet of returning sand. New summer landmarks are revealed. One year it was a ribbon of nuisance pebbles the entire length of beach. The past two years we’ve loved “the August Shelf”. (Will it come again?)

This year there’s a wishbone river.

IMG_20170714_105940

 

“Apparently you do bring sand to the beach, according to the selectmen appointed committee ascribed with repairing the Long Beach seawall, which could cost up to $25 million.”¬†

In case you missed the¬†Gloucester Daily Times article “Rockport Looks to Fix Long Beach Sea Wall” by Mary Markos, I’ve added the link here. They hope to finish by 2025. I look forward to learning more and reading about it.¬†If extra sand is brought back will high tide continue to hit the seawall? (In the past it could hit the wall or blast over in storms, but dry sand remained lining the wall.) Will the new wall occupy the same general footprint? Will it be higher? Thicker?

IMG_20170711_102547

 

Legion then Legion now including photograph printed by Fred Bodin and shared by Sarah Dunlap from the Gloucester Archives

Captain Lester S. Wass American Legion Post 3 8 Washington Street, Gloucester, MA

Gloucester’s Historical Commission and the Legion are working together to plan for the building’s restoration. Sarah Dunlap, City Archivist, shared a historic image that predates the vintage postcard.

img_20170107_070829-1

 

forbes-schol

townhouse-1844-18710000-1

20160827_165655

In the Pit ~ Lanesville

Quarrymen, Lanesville, circa 1890 Anonymous/©Fredrik D. Bodin
I have fifteen quarry photographs in my collection, yet only this one¬†shows quarry workers. The negative is from a house in Lanesville, and came to me four years ago. These men stopped in the midst of their labor for a picture. Three granite cutters on top are¬†double jacking¬†vertical drill holes into the granite with heavy sledge hammers, which means they are alternately pounding on a narrow star bit, held by the brave cutter sitting down. As you can imagine, his was a dangerous job. Below,¬†two quarrymen score a horizontal seam with hand hammers into the granite bed, where it will (hopefully) break cleanly. I haven’t been able to identify this quarry. If you recognize it, please let me know. Thanks.
Printed archivally from the original 5×7 inch glass negative in my darkroom.¬†Image #A9957-007
Fred


Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Motif No. 1 and the Fish Boat, 1934

Motif No. 1, Rockport, 1934 Alice M. Curtis/©/Fredrik D. Bodin
Motif No. 1 is the most famous fish shack in the world, constructed around the time of the American Civil War (exact year uncertain). Initially used for storing fishing gear, it is located on Bradley Wharf, in the middle of Rockport Harbor¬†(MA). The building soon became a popular subject for painters, including students of renowned artist Lester Horby (1882‚Äď1956), who coined the term “Motif No. 1.” Motif became an art studio in the 1930’s and was sold to the Town of Rockport in 1945, dedicated to the Rockport men and women who served in the armed forces. In this photograph, a 17′ Montgomery Fish Boat glides by. The Fish Boat class was designed in 1921 by Nick Montgomery. Six to eight hundred were made at the Montgomery Boatyard in Gloucester, and still are at the historic yard on the Annisquam River. This one probably sailed from the Sandy Bay Yacht Club. They were also raced at the Annisquam and Eastern Point Yacht Clubs. You can read more about the boatyard and fish boats in a GMG post by E.J. Lefavour¬†here.¬†Coincidentally, when I was traveling through the southwestern U.S., I visited Rockport, Texas ‚Äď a small fishing town (mainly shrimp). In the restaurant where I stopped for lunch, there was a laminated placemat on my table with a photo of ‚Ķ guess what?
Printed archivally from the original 4×5 inch film negative in my darkroom.¬†Image #A8345-196
Fred


Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Saint Anthony’s-by-the-Sea

Saint Anthony’s Chapel, 1930 Alice M. Curtis/¬©Fredrik D. Bodin
Saint Anthony’s Chapel was consecrated in 1925¬†and designed by renowned architect Edward T. P. Graham (1872‚Äď1964). Graham was considered the “dean of Boston architects,” and recognized for his mediaeval style Roman Catholic churches. This church, constructed of fieldstone in the¬†English parish gothic¬†style, sits¬†at the foot of Eastern Point at¬†Farrington and Saint Louis Avenues. Mrs. Margaret Brady Farrell had Saint Anthony’s built and donated to the Archdiocese of Boston in memory of her father, Anthony Nicholas Brady (1841-1913). Notice the Saint Anthony statue in the niche below the cross, the observation tower on the right, and vintage autos in front. The interior is equally beautiful. I’ve been in there to photograph a few weddings, notably that of George and Ellen Sibley. Because so many local couples have married in the chapel, and continue to do so, this photo is a popular present for weddings and anniversaries. I always try to have it available in the gallery, especially in the spring. Saint Anthony’s Chapel is now part of Gloucester’s Holy Family Parish, and open in the summer.
Printed archivally from the original 5×7 inch film negative in my darkroom.¬†Image #A8557-011
Fred


Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Heyday of East Gloucester Square, 1930

East Gloucester Square, 1930 Anonymous/©Fredrik D. Bodin

I’ve been saving this photograph for a blizzard. Nary a snow storm’s come along, so I’m posting it now as a reminder of what winter could have been. The camera lens is pointing down East Main Street, with Highland Street in the center left, and the curve on the right at the telephone pole leads to the current laundromat and Duckworth’s Bistro on East Main. The store on the extreme left is J.C. Dade’s Hardware. The view is remarkably similar today. At one time the Square had three markets (Dutch’s, Powler’s, and First National); Wishnick’s barroom, Kirby’s pharmacy, Mrs. Fine’s seamstress shop with pants pressing, Jensen’s Shoe Repair, and two physicians (Doc Quimby, with Doctor Torrey next door). I’d like to thank Paula Parsons and Deb Callahan for this negative, and the East Gloucester fisherman who shared his childhood memories of East Gloucester Square. Please comment with your own remembrances.
Printed archivally from the original 6×7 centimeter film negative in my darkroom. Image # A9267-056.
Fred
Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

The Stone Sloop Albert Baldwin

Stone Sloop Albert Baldwin, 1934 Alice M. Curtis/©Fredrik D. Bodin
I’ve been waiting fruitlessly for a Nor’easter snowstorm to post a winter photograph. It looks like tomorrow’s little storm could be my last opportunity, so I’m taking it. This is the¬†Sloop Albert Baldwin,¬†iced in off Rocky Neck. The 90 foot long¬†Baldwin¬†was built in 1890 at the James and Tarr shipyard in Essex. She was designed with extra reinforcement for transporting granite along the New England coast. The pilings in the photo are remnants of the Rocky Neck ferry pier, which was at the present public parking lot. Abandoned and derelict, the sloop was still rotting away when I came to Gloucester in 1980. About ten years later, the¬†Sloop Albert Baldwin¬†was cut up and hauled away.
Printed from the original 5×7 inch film negative in my darkroom.¬†Image #A8857-149
Fred
Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

The Hotel on Pavilion Beach from Fred Bodin

The Pavilion Hotel, Gloucester, circa 1880 Alice M. Curtis/©Fredrik D. Bodin
The Pavilion Hotel, built in 1849, was Gloucester’s first true resort hotel. It was located between Stacy Boulevard and Fort Square, on the edge of downtown. The Gloucester Telegraph called it “the first specimen of architectural good taste ever seen here.” The Pavilion featured a two level veranda with dramatic harbor views, fine dining, a saltwater pool, bowling, and accommodated 150 guests. The beachfront of the hotel, called Crescent Beach at the time, is now called Pavilion Beach. On a foggy night in October of 1914, the 65 year old Pavilion Hotel, then named the Surfside Hotel, was consumed by fire. The building which we call the Tavern¬†now sits where the Pavillion once was.
Printed archivally from the original 8×10 inch glass negative in my darkroom. Image #A88810-003.
Fred
Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

The Cape Hedge Inn, circa 1950

The Cape Hedge Inn, Land’s End, Rockport, circa 1950 Don Felt/¬©Fredrik D. Bodin
The Cape Hedge Inn was located at the end of South Street in Rockport, between Cape Hedge and Pebble Beaches. Across the street was the over flow guest house, and the little shack to the right of it was a hot dog stand. In the later 1950s and 1960s, the inn was called the Sandpiper by its new owners. Sadly, the Sandpiper burned in 1978. All that remains is a crumbled foundation.
The Cape Hedge Inn, Land’s End, Rockport, 1954 Anonymous/Fredrik D. Bodin
Aerial printed archivally from the original 4×5 inch film negative in my darkroom. Image #a9245-578
Sandpiper Inn printed digitally from a post card.
Fred

Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

The Last Schooner

Schooner Andrew & Rosalie, Gloucester, circa 1935 Alice M. Curtis/©Fredrik D. Bodin
The¬†last¬†Gloucester-built fishing schooner was the¬†Andrew & Rosalie, which was constructed and launched¬†in 1930¬†at Burnham’s Railways (in the area now called Harbor Loop). With a 20 foot beam, her deck was 92 feet long and she carried 4,600 square feet of sail. The schooner was renamed¬†American Eagle¬†in 1941 by new owner Captain Ben Pine. In 1984, after 53 years of hard fishing with the Gloucester fleet, she was purchased and rebuilt by Captain John Foss for the passenger trade. Berthed in Rockland, Maine, Schooner¬†American Eagle¬†can be seen in Gloucester every September for the Mayor’s Cup Race, which she’s won eight times.¬†http://www.schooneramericaneagle.com/
Schooner American Eagle, Gloucester ©Fredrik D. Bodin
Images printed archivally in my darkroom from the original 6×7 centimeter negatives.
Fred
Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

The Mount Washington Hotel

Joey edit-
Here it is back in 2002 from almost the same exact perspective.  Man I miss that car.-
DSC00365The Mount Washington Hotel, 1903 N.L. Stebbins/©Fredrik D. Bodin
In 1900, wealthy Pennsylvania industrialist Joseph Stickney began construction of the Mount Washington Hotel, located in Bretton Woods, NH. Two hundred and fifty Italian artisans were hired to build the steel-framed Spanish Renaissance structure. When finished in 1902, the hotel accommodated 600 guests, with a staff of 350. It had its own railroad station, post office, electric power plant, telephone system, and 6,400 acres for golf and recreation. Look closely between the two flagged towers, and you’ll see the electrified banner: MOUNT WASHINGTON. The photograph also shows the 1903 Glidden Automobile Tour, organized by the fledgling American Automobile Association. The purpose of the tour was to foster public acceptance of the automobile and draw attention to the primitive road system, which was unpaved, unmapped, and suitable only for horse travel. This was one of the first motorized endurance races.
Early Glidden Tour
Today the grand hotel thrives as the year-round Omni Mount Washington Resort. It’s a National Historic Landmark featuring a 25,000 square foot spa, two four-diamond dining rooms, and a renovated speakeasy: the Cave. In 1902, hotelier Joseph Stickney successfully charged $10 per night "in season" ‚Äď twice the going rate at the time. You can book a room at the Mount Washington tonight for $199.
Fred

Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

The Old Freeman House

Old Freeman House, Gloucester, 1928 Alice M. Curtis/©Fredrik D. Bodin
The Davis-Freeman house, built in 1709 on 17 acres, is a first period colonial house located at 302 Essex Avenue (Route 133). It’s named after owner Charles Freeman, a descendant of eighteenth century Gloucester slaves. For many years the house served as a tavern on one of the two roads into Gloucester¬†before 1950. From the late 1930’s to the early 1950’s, the Freeman house was the Stage Coach Inn, a restaurant serving lunch, tea, and dinner: “In this old tavern ‚Äď one of the earliest ‚Äď you’ll enjoy our hospitality and delicious food in an atmosphere of the old stage coach days.” The photograph below shows owner Harriet Johnson in the doorway of the house. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the Freeman house is owned by Wellspring House, a Cape Ann organization assisting families and individuals to become financially self-sufficient.
Harriet Johnson, 1928 Alice M. Curtis/©Fredrik D. Bodin

Printed from the original 5×7 inch film negatives in my darkroom.¬†Image #A8557-063 (house), and A8557-061 (Harriet)
Fred
Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Dog Bar Breakwater

Dog Bar Breakwater, circa 1906 (note lack of rip rap on the ocean side on right) Alice M. Curtis/©Fredrik D. Bodin
Dog Bar Breakwater extends nearly half a mile from the tip of Eastern Point across the entrance to Gloucester Harbor. It not only shelters the harbor, but also covers the treacherous Dog Bar Reef, for which it is named. Construction by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began in 1894 and continued until December 1905. The foundation of the structure is granite rubble taken from Cape Ann quarries, and is capped by 12 ton granite blocks supplied by the Cheves Granite Company of Rockport. A total of 231,760 tons of granite were used to build the breakwater. A small tower lighthouse marks it’s outermost extremity.
Ledge Hill Trail, Ravenswood, 1919 Alice M. Curtis/©Fredrik D. Bodin
Eastern Point Light and Dog Bar Breakwater are located at the end of Eastern Point Boulevard, The adjoining ¬†parking lot and breakwater are part of Massachusetts Audubon’s 51 acre Eastern Point Wildlife Sanctuary –http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/Sanctuaries/Eastern_Point/index.php
Fred
Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

The Pier at West Beach

West Beach, circa 1920 V. Blanden/©Fredrik D. Bodin
The¬†West Beach photograph evokes¬†fond childhood memories from local¬†visitors to the gallery. The beach,¬†on Route 127 in Beverly Farms,¬†is privately owned, although open to the public for nine months during the off-season. It runs about a mile from Prides Crossing through Beverly Farms to Beverly proper. It has been administered by the West Beach Corporation since 1852, after being bequeathed to the residents of Beverly Farms and Prides Crossing by John West, who acquired it in 1666. The pier was originally built for docking boats, later evolving into a popular place for jumping into the water and swimming. The sign at the pier’s entrance reads:¬†“This Pier for the Sole use of the Members of the West Beach Corporation and Subscribers.‚ÄĚ Great Misery Island,¬†pictured in the distance, and¬†now owned by the Trustees of Reservations , had structures such as the Governor’s Cottage, the Casino hotel, and Bleak House, complete with sea plane hanger. The pier at West Beach was destroyed in the blizzard of 1978, and now has only a few pilings remaining. This beautiful beach was painted by Gloucester’s Fitz Henry Lane 1855.
Printed from the original 5×7 inch negative in my darkroom.¬†Image #¬†FS-001
Fred

Fredrik D. Bodin

Bodin Historic Photo

82 Main Street

The Historic American Sneakboat

Sneakboat and Decoys, Plum Island, circa 1885 Anonymous/©Fredrik D. Bodin
 
Basic Sneak Boat
The sneakboat is a type of duck hunting boat, dating from the early 1800’s, that was, and still is used throughout the United States in one form or another (sneak, sneak box, sculling boat, float boat, and coffin boat). This low-profile camouflaged boat allowed the hunter to lie down at water level amoung his decoys, maneuver quietly by wiggling a paddle out the stern transom, and lure flying ducks to seemingly safe waters. When the birds descend, he hunter sits up and fires away with a shotgun. Sneakboats proved to be deadly for ducks in the days of “market hunting,” when one could make a decent living killing¬†waterfowl. The Rodigrass clan migrated to Plum Island from Nova Scotia in the late 1800’s to commercially harvest ducks, clams, and fish. They were notable both as hunters and as guides.
Nathan Rodigrass, Plum Island, circa 1885 Anonymous/©Fredrik D. Bodin
The Rodigrass Camp, circa 1900 Anonymous/©Fredrik D. Bodin
Built in 1882, the Rodigrass Camp stood on Plum Island until 1989, when it was torn down.¬†The Rodigrass clan later became stewards of the National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island, protecting the animals they once hunted. I’ve met people in Gloucester who are familiar with or hunt with sneak boats. However, not many of us have seen a sneak boat, and neither have the ducks.
Fred

Howard Blackburn’s Bartender

Howard Blackburn’s Bartender, circa 1910 Anonymous/¬©Fredrik D. Bodin
Swedish immigrant Nils Lund settled in Gloucester to work as a fisherman. About 1910, he took time off from fishing to tend bar for the legendary Howard Blackburn. The Blackburn Tavern was located at 289 Main Street, where Halibut Point Restaurant is now. Chiseled into the front of the building in large letters: Blackburn 1900.

Albin and Nils Lund, Schooner Natalie Hammond, circa 1920 Anonymous/©Fredrik D. Bodin
In the days of sail, fishermen would sign on to schooners headed for destinations they wanted to travel to. Nils and his brother Albin fished their way to Sweden and back several times. The photo above shows the¬†mustachioed¬†Lund fishermen,¬†Albin on the left and Nils on the right.¬†The two brothers¬†found¬†brides in Gloucester, with Albin’s wife Josephine owning a boarding house on Main Street, next door to today’s Crow’s Nest¬†tavern.
Printed archivally in the darkroom from 6×7 cm copy negatives. Original prints supplied by Lillian Lund Files. Image # ¬†AC960901-03#05 (bartender Nils) and #¬†AC010129-01#07 (brothers at sea)
Fred

Fredrik D. Bodin

Bodin Historic Photo

82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Marooned on ‚Äď Eastern Point Island

Eastern Point Light, Perfect Storm, 1991 ©George B. Lenart
On October 31st, 1991, diesel mechanic and photo enthusiast George B. Lenart was caught in a historic storm on Cape Ann’s granite coast. He drove his big Mogul Motors truck out to the end of Eastern Point for a job with the Eastern Point Yacht Club. What George walked into was a hurricane strength tempest with sustained winds of 75 miles per hour and gusts up to 98 miles per hour (hurricane devastation occurs at 73+ mph). Unexpectedly,¬†George Lenart was marooned by rising water and monstrous waves. He grabbed his camera ¬†and captured this incredible scene from the 3rd floor of the Eastern Point Yacht Club. It shows¬†Eastern Point Light and Dog Bar Breakwater,¬†which guard the entrance to Gloucester Harbor. Waves built to 70 feet, one of which swept right through Mother Ann Cottage, seen on the left, and completely destroyed a house high atop Sherman Point by Good Harbor Beach.¬†George’s¬†only option was to camp out overnight at the yacht club.
I didn’t photograph the Halloween Storm. I was busy helping a Bearskin Neck artist move his paintings to safety, aided a neighbor on Rocky Neck save what she could after storm surge took most of her personal belongings out to sea, and salvaged the 150 framed photos that were damaged in my gallery on Tuna Wharf. The phrase¬†perfect storm¬†has become part of the English language, being¬†synonymous with “worst-case scenario.”
Photographed on 35mm color negative film by George B. Lenart. Scanned and printed digitally. Image #GBL-001c
And yes, we do sell this photograph in the gallery. Thank you George.
Fred
Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

 

Cape Ann ‚Äď a Farming Town

Goose Cove, circa 1890 Charle E. Dennison/ ©Fredrik D. Bodin
Gloucester and Rockport have historically produced nearly everything they needed: Ships, anchors, tools, rope, lumber, granite, fish, produce, and milk. Our first farm¬†was¬†established in 1658 by¬†James Babson, and was located at the Babson Cooperage property in Rockport. Gallery visitor Laura Kerr told me that she and her husband counted eighteen working dairies on Cape Ann. In my shop, I display bottles from Bass Rocks Farm (George C. Nugent), ¬†D.J. Spittle Dairy, Doctor Babson Farm (Washington Street in Riverdale), Kerr Farm (Riverdale), Lanes Dairy (The Best Milk ‚Äď From Our Dairy to You), Lanes Farms, and O’Neil & Newman (West Gloucester). I wish I had more information and bottles.
¬†F. Maynard Tucker’s Vegetable Truck, 1930 Alice M. Curtis/ ¬©Fredrik D. Bodin
Photographs printed from the original 5×7 inch glass negative in my darkroom.¬†Images # JW-001 (Cow) and A8457-037 (Vegetable Truck)
Dr. Babson’s milk bottle, from Fred’s collection.
Fredrik D. Bodin
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930