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These are some of the sites you will see during your trip on the Lannon:
Ten Pound Island: Once a center of Coast Guard activity and known as “Base 7,” there were seaplanes based on the island that were used for search and rescue operations. Most of the missions flown by the Coast Guard were actually in search of the notorious and elusive rumrunners during the days of Prohibition. At one time there was also a fish hatchery on the island. Where did the name come from? Option 1: Early settlers bought the island from the Indians for ten British pounds. Option 2: In the early days, the settlers let sheep graze on the island. There was room for 10 paddocks or ‘pounds’ on the island. Nobody knows the real story for sure, but Option 2 seems the more likely
Ten Pound Island Lighthouse: 1881. Winslow Homer was one of the lighthouse’s most famous occupants. Homer spent the summer there in 1880, renting a room from the lighthouse keeper and painting numerous harbor scenes.
Five Pound Island: This island is no longer visible, as the water around it has been filled in by what is now the site of the State Fish Pier.
The Fort: Original name: Watch House Point. Built 1743 to protect ships in the inner harbor from enemy warships and pirates. Not to be confused with Stage Fort Park.
Unitarian Universalist Church: Rev. John Murray started the faith here in Gloucester and built the first church in 1807. Its landmark steeple is still visible from afar.
Stacy Boulevard: “The Boulevard” was completed in 1923, for Gloucester’s 300th anniversary. Before work was started on the new boulevard, there were houses on the water side of the street. Some of them were moved across the street and put onto land that was formerly neighbors’ yards. If you take a stroll on the boulevard, take a look at the houses and notice how close together they are.
Fisherman at the Wheel: Gloucester’s most famous landmark, this bronze statue was sculpted by Leonard Craske in 1923. It is located on Stacy Boulevard, overlooking Gloucester Harbor. The statue of a Gloucester fisherman, dressed in oilskins and standing at the wheel of his schooner was designed in heroic size: 1 ½ scale. It is dedicated to the over 10,000 Gloucester fishermen lost at sea since the early 1600’s. Captain Clayton Morrissey of the Schooner Effie Morrissey (now Ernestina Morrissey) was the sculptor’s model. The base of the statue quotes Psalm 107, “They that go down to the sea in ships.”
In September of 2000, the Wall of Remembrance was added to the Fishermen’s Memorial. It consists of bronze tablets on granite slabs with the names of approximately 5400 Gloucestermen who were lost at sea and whose remains were not found.
Fisherman’s Wives Memorial: Another statue has been erected along Stacy Boulevard. This one is of a fisherman’s wife and children. The woman is looking to sea in hopes of seeing the masts of her husband’s ship coming into port. The statue was created by local sculptor Morgan Faulds Pike and dedicated in August, 2001, after years of fundraising efforts by the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association.
The Cut: The Blynman Bridge, or the “Cut Bridge” is named for Reverend Blynman, the political and religious leader of early Gloucester. Rev. Blynman supervised the cutting of the first canal at the harbor end of the Annisquam River. The first bridge was built on this location so that fishing boats would have a safer passage home if they fished north of Gloucester. Now it is the source of long delays to summertime motorists who must wait for boat traffic to pass under the draw bridge. So, yes, Gloucester is the island you can drive to. Annisquam is the Indian word for “river with two mouths.”
Stage Fort Park: The Dorchester Company of Merchant Adventurers sent out a company of fishermen from England in 1623. They founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Here, near Half Moon Beach, they set up stages to dry the fish before it was sent back to England. The same location was later a fort. Cannons were set up in the hills to protect Gloucester’s fishing fleet from invading pirates and enemy warships during the war of 1812. The cannons remain. Today visitors will find Gloucester’s Visitor Welcoming Center, a playground, two public beaches, picnicing, volleyball court, baseball fields, and beautiful views of Gloucester Harbor.
Hammond Estate: John Hays Hammond Sr. was a mining engineer who made his fortune in the diamond mines of Africa. He used this estate, located overlooking Gloucester Harbor on the Magnolia coast, as a summer mansion. When he died, he willed it to the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Boston. Known as Cardinal Cushing Villa, it became a retirement home for priests. When Cardinal Cushing died, the property was put up for auction and purchased by a second party for the Reverend Moon and his “Moonies,” a religious group from Korea. They continue to own the property today. From the water, the stone tower of the mansion is often mistaken for Hammond Castle.
Hammond Castle: John Hays Hammond Jr. was a prolific inventor who worked for the U.S. military. Probably the most famous of his inventions was remote control, a technology he tested by operating his “ghost ship” in the harbor and scaring local fishermen. Hammond also worked with a British scientist on the invention of radar. Hammond Jr. and his wife moved into the castle on their wedding day. Hammond traveled throughout Europe collecting artifacts. The castle is filled with 13th, 15th, and 17th century furnishings with an amazing collection of Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance art. Hammond died in 1965. A bit of an eccentric, Hammond and his cat are buried together. He stipulated in his will that his entire burial site be surrounded by poison ivy so that no one would go near him. He did not invent the Hammond organ. The Hammond Castle today is operated as a museum and is open to the public. It is definitely worth a visit.
Eastern Point Light: The first lighthouse was built on the current site in 1831 and began shining on January 1, 1832. President Andrew Jackson authorized the construction of this 30 foot lighthouse. The combined cost of the lighthouse and a small keeper’s quarters was $2,450. In 1848, the original lighthouse was torn down and rebuilt. The new lighthouse was 34 feet high and had a steady red light that sailors fondly referred to as “ruby light.” An automatic foghorn was installed in 1857. In 1890, the current lighthouse was built for an outrageous $4,300. In 1897, a two-ton steam operated fog bell was installed: the only one in the world. The keeper’s house was one of the first to have all of the modern conveniences: telephone-1896, electricity-1897, running water-1901. The lighthouse became automated in 1986 and no longer needs a keeper for either the tower or the light at the end of the breakwater.
Dog Bar Breakwater: This granite breakwater covers a dangerous reef known as Dog Bar. The auxiliary light at the end of the wall had to be turned on nightly by the keeper by hand – often a challenging feat if seas were crashing over the breakwater. The breakwater is about ½ mile long and made up of heavy granite slabs from Rockport, each weighing 12 to 13 tons. It is a popular spot for fishing and walking. To get there, follow East Main St., through the stone pillars just past Niles Beach onto Eastern Point Blvd. to its end, where there is a small parking lot owned by the Mass Audubon Society. There is a fee for parking.
Beauport Museum: Beauport is the home of Henry David Sleeper, an interior designer and collector. Each of the 40 rooms (26 are open to the public) depicts a different era of American history with appropriate antiques. Situated on Gloucester Harbor at Eastern Point, Beauport offers a fine view of the Lannon as she sails in and out of the harbor. Open to the public Tuesday-Saturday for the summer season, it is a fascinating place to explore. Their brochure features a shot taken out a window as the Lannon sails by.
Inner harbor: The inner harbor is protected by Rocky Neck and Ten Pound Island.
Outer harbor: The outer harbor, formerly called “Southwest Harbor,” is protected by Dog Bar Breakwater built in 1904.
Did you know?