Next time you’re heading in the direction of Wolf Hill, Good Harbor Beach or Rockport thank E. Raymond Abbott when you pass Day’s Pond, a historic man made pond in Gloucester about 1 acre in size. In 1978 Abbott wrote about his family’s association with the pond:
“On reading a recent article in the Gloucester Daily Times (July 1979) which made reference to the ‘so-called’ upper Day’s Pond off Eastern Avenue it occurred to me that the people of Gloucester might be interested in a brief history of the pond.
Years ago there were two Day brothers who owned a large tract of land which extended from the beaches and marshes all the way up to the old Rockport Road. This land, including the upper Day’s Pond, was later sold to a lawyer named Webster who lived in and owned a hotel on Pleasant Street. Later on the Webster property which also included land around Cape Pond in Rockport, came up for sale at a public auction. My father, James Abbott, bought it in June of 1905 and went into business which was later known as the Cape Pond Ice Company. In 1922, my father retired and I took over the ice business.
I will always remember a young girl, Harriet Wonson, who lived just above the upper Day’s Pond, coming to me asking if she could beautify the pond by planting water lilies in and around it. Of course, I gave my consent.
In 1943, I decided to sell the Cape Pond Ice Company. However, before doing so, I gave the upper Day’s Pond to the city of Gloucester so that the children always have a place to skate in the winter, in the summertime provide a pond for fishing, as well as a beautiful subject for our local artists to paint. It was during this same period that I was able to acquire most of the land around Cape Pond and later gave my interest to the town of Rockport to be used as a water shed.
It is my sincere hope and desire that the upper Day’s Pond will continue to provide as much enjoyment for the children of the future as it has in the past.
E. Raymond Abbott, Gloucester Daily Times Letter to the Editor, July 16, 1979
Twenty years later, Gloucester dredged Day’s Pond “as part of a watershed management plan to stabilize the pond’s ecosystem.” Massachusetts Department of Environmental Mangement awarded $2500 for the project in 1998. Marilyn Myett wrote a persuasive My View column about the pond’s vital impact in the neighborhood.
Consideration of Dogtown for National Historic Register failed to pass last night 2 to 6 (and one recused). 1623 Studios (formerly Cape Ann TV) films city council meetings so if you missed the meeting you’ll be able to catch it there.
This just in from Lisa Smith: “1623 Studios recorded last night’s City Council Meeting, which had a hearing about Dogtown, and it will air on Channel 20 on Saturday at 1pm and 11:30 pm.” Once 1623 Studio edits, they’re uploaded to its youtube channel here.
Two+ centuries of naturalists in Gloucester is quite a legacy. Here’s a partiallist from Robbins to Cramer and Smith to Smith–there have been notable champions most every decade.
Mason Walton (Hermit of Gloucester)
Alpheus Hyatt, principal founder of world famous Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole– from 1880-1886 the school was on Goose Cove and later off Lobster Cove
BH VanVleck (wrote book with David Starr)- instructor at Annisquam seaside laboratory
Samuel Sawyer land conservation
Alfred G. Mayor (Hyatt’s son in law) marine zoologist- his studies on marine life led to 1905 book Sea Shore Life
Prince Mahidol of Thailand “Sanitary Survey of the City of Gloucester, Massachusetts 1921 by M. Songkla” in city archives- Includes brief history of Gloucester and description of public health activities
Roger Babson land conservation and watershed
Dr. Ralph Dexter, began his studies on marine life in 1933 (later Kent State) and chimney swifts
Ivy LeMon banded monarch butterflies to trace their migration wintering in Mexico
Sara Fraser Robbins curator of education ( the title of her classic book The Sea is All About Us was a nod to Gloucester summer resident TS Eliot’ Four Quartets)
Philip Weld, Jr
organizations such as Gloucester Civic and Garden Club, Essex County Greenbelt, Mass Audubon, Ocean Alliance, Martime Gloucester, UMASS Marine Station…
Spread The GMG Love By Sharing With These Buttons:
There are examples of land preservation, but featuring a watershed in 1931? Isn’t it wonderful! If you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s worth a close look. I believe that it has definitely inspired many in Gloucester.
THE FIRST CLEAN HARBOR SWIM
Thank you to Deborah Cramer and Dan Greenbaum for sharing this memory and finding this Gloucester Daily Times article! This trio’s swim inspired Cape Ann’s Year of the Coast led by MassAudubon the following summer.
8/10/16 Accclaimed writer, Gloucester resident, and one of the trio that inspired the Clean Harbor Swim Sarah Fraser Robbins excerpt ( the title of her classic book The Sea is All About Us was a nod to Gloucester summer resident TS Eliot’ Four Quartets)