Land's End and Long Beach

The name Turk's Head strictly applies to these islands, and while sometimes applied in a general way to this end of Rockport, Land's End is the particular term by which this district is more familiarly known. If we go on to the end of the road we will find it veritably to be land's end. The end of the road brings us to Long Beach, which extends clear into Gloucester, and which provides sufficient beach for

Rockport's needs so that Gloucester is allowed to retain a few feet of it within her boundaries. Rockport is no: generally known as a beach resort. This is not because of the absence of a beach. In fact, it is perhaps because Rockport has so many beaches that the merits of all have been overlooked for want of one dis-

tinguishirig beach. Rockport has Back Beach, Front Beach, Old Garden Beach, Popple Beach, Long Beach, and several smaller beaches bearing local names strictly for neighborhood use.

Some of these beaches are but short in length, but since when has length been the chief requirement in a beach? Length in a beach simply means more people and more people means less desirable people, and there you are! Like many other things in this world, beaches sometimes make up in quality what they lack in quantity, which is surely the case with Rockport beaches.


Another Land's End residence, near Turk's Head Inn


Land's End is a land of summer homes where real comfort abounds

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Beaches are also famous for many reasons. There are sporty beaches, carnival beaches, crowded beaches, dirty beaches and, occasionally, bathing beaches. Rockport beaches are unsurpassed for sand and bathing, two qualities sought by many in a beach. Rockport beaches are unsurpassed for quietness and room, two qualities sought by some in a beach.

Long Beach is the longest of Rockport beaches, thus exemplifying simplicity in nomenclature. It required the slaying of no Turks or the skinning of no bears to name this beach. The beach is long Long Beach. Could anything be more simple? Main Street and Long Beach — did we say Rockport is distinctive?

Never mind, the beach is the thing, and not the name. And Long Beach is a glorious beach. Go see them all, from Atlantic City to Old Orchard — and find a better beach, if you can. Oh, there are some few just as good but find a better one, if you can.

Place a board walk beside Long Beach, a board walk, with two merry-go-rounds and a roller coaster, bring on the bath house and the hot frankforts and Long Beach would be famous. But, thank goodness, Long Beach is not famous. Thank goodness, Long Beach is not even popular. There is plenty of room for all, plenty of sand for all, plenty


Straitsmouth Inn is continuously swept by ocean breezes

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Where will you find a more restful spot than here at Loblolly Cove?

of pebbles, plenty of ocean. A beach unspoiled by man. A bathing beach. A restful beach. Long Beach. Long may it be!

Loblolly Cove

A ledge separates Long Beach from Popple Beach or Pebblestone Beach. Facing back towards Rockport, we shall take the first road on our right, skirting the edge of the beach and following the shore for several miles, occasionally cutting inland for a short way only to return to the ocean front again. We are still in a land of summer homes, most of them beautiful from an architectural standpoint, to say nothing of the charm of the surroundings amid which they stand. Eventually (for this is not a trip to be taken hurriedly) we shall come to a sharp turn in the road, where is the shack of the Loblolly man, who will serve you anything from a chowder to the most complete fish dinner with all the " fixins."

Loblolly Cove, a spot as delightful in prospect as it is unique in name. None seem to know whence came the name " Loblolly." There is a tree of that name, but it is not one which grows in

E32

New England. An obsolete use of the word denotes a man of all work. Still another is " a clownish fellow a lout." It is most likely a name fastened by some of the early fishermen visiting these parts.

Across the cove is Thatcher's Island, perpetual reminder of one of the most harrowing of shipwreck tragedies . The story is a familiar one to natives of Rockport, but perhaps not so with many of their summer guests. Anthony Thatcher, his cousin, Reverend Mr. Avery, and their families, twenty-three in number, including many children, set sail from Ipswich on the eleventh day of August, 1635, bound for Marblehead. A storm capsized their craft three days later and all were drowned except Thatcher and his wife. These two were cast upon an island which Thatcher named " Thatcher's Woe." Historians who have investigated the circumstances have reached the conclusion that the island upon which they were thrown was not the one so called today; but that it was instead a rock but a short distance from the western end of the present Thatcher's.

The complete account of the wreck, told in great detail in the quaint phraseology of Thatcher himself, may be read in Young's Chronicles of Massachusetts, as well as in the History of the Town of Rockport published in 1888. The " Swan Song of Parson Avery " by the poet Whittier also treats of this tragedy.

The twin lights on Thatcher's are known far and wide. To the European traveler sailing from Boston these lights are the last beacons seen on the American shore. The original towers and dwelling house were built by the Colonial Government of Massachusetts and were later ceded to the United States. They were first lighted on December 21, 1771. The original towers were but forty-five feet high. This, of course, was before the introduction of modern apparatus for giving lights definite characteristics, and so this expensive method of building two towers was adopted in order that the two fixed lights might be readily distinguished from other nearby stations with a single fixed light.

These towers were torn down and replaced by the present granite towers in 1861. The present lights were first used in October of that year. The towers are one hundred and twenty-four feet high and are about three hundred yards apart.

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Paradise Cliffs

Of all the beauty spots in Rockport, Paradise Cliffs will be pronounced the favorite by many. Here are rocks. Rocks to sit upon. Rocks to walk, climb or run upon, only let none but the adventurous attempt the latter. Rocks to visit with a pillow and a book upon a mid-summer afternoon. Rocks to

visit when a February nor'easter rages in all its terrible fury.

Rocks to visit with a pillow and a book but let him read who will. There is more for the imaginative in the view from Paradise Cliffs than is contained within the covers of any book. The wide ocean is at your feet and beckons you afar. The lighthouses on Thatcher's recall to mind the dangers of the sea. You can dream of romance on Paradise Cliffs. You can sail away from bookkeeping or household cares or bonds. You can weave stories of the ships which glide along the horizon. (That one in the distance is probably a rum runner, so do not wax too romantic. We are of the earth earthy, even on Paradise Cliffs.)

But never mind. The view is one which the most prosaic may understand. Thatcher's on the one hand, Straitsmouth on the other, Gap Head between Straitsmouth and the mainland forming as perfect a marine picture as ever you will see.

And rocks! Who has ever had enough of browsing among the rocks? With a step here and a jump there, risking an ankle in making that last one, climbing that big one just for the sake of looking back, peering among the crevices for things we never find, wondering how it looks when the waves break up here, wondering how many years have worn this stone glass-smooth.


Near the water's edge at the very tip of Land's End


An attractive summer place located on a knoll overlooking Loblolly Cove

If341

Rocks. Who has ever had . enough of browsing among the rocks? Then let him stay away from Rockport!

Marmion Way

But if we are to see the rest of Rockport we must tear away from Paradise Cliffs. We shall leave the shore and turning left find ourselves again on Eden Road. Paradise Cliffs Eden Road then back to everyday pursuits? No, let us have more of Rockport. We may yet find other celestial spots, even though they be so but in name. Again approaching the Country.Club, we may take the very next road to the right and find ourselves once more skirting the shore, but let us go down as far as Marmion Way before turning to the right.

Marmion Way is the direct approach to Straitsmouth and Old Garden Beach A beautiful street, with some of the most handsome homes in Rockport. On the left, just before the bend in the road, Old Garden Beach. A quiet little, cozy little beach. Just the place for the children. A homey little beach. Lots of pebbles. Lots of sand. Who said Rockport has no beaches?

At the foot of Marmion Way we come upon another of those around the corner" vistas. So many seashore towns have one main street and one straight line of shore, with nothing to disturb the two.


Looking towards Straitsmouth Island from Paradise Cliffs

1351

How different in Rockport ! We go to the end of Atlantic Avenue and come upon the Headlands, down Eden Road and come upon Loblolly Cove. We go to the tip of Land's End and find Long

Beach. We follow the shore and discover Paradise Cliffs. At the end of each road is a separate and distinct attraction. And now we go down Marmion Way to find, around the bend of the road, a little beauty spot all by

itself. One may become weary in Rockport, but not for the want of variety in scenery.

At the foot of Marmion Way is Gap Head, or Straitsmouth Point, with Straitsmouth Inn, another famous hotel, at the tip of the point. At the right is Gap Cove with the United States Life Saving Station.


A Marmion Way home near Old Garden Beach


This man built his house upon a rock— there was no sand nearby

36


Marmion Way, with Straitsmouth Inn in the distance

Straitsmouth

The name Straitsmouth prevailed previous to the year 1700, for history shows that in 1695 John Babson had three acres of land granted him at Straitsmouth for an encouragement to set up fishing, and in 1699 Straitsmouth Island was granted by the General Court to Captain James Davis of Gloucester " in consideration that he had been at much charge and expense in the late war with the French and Indian enemy, and spent much time in said service." (Thus proving that the bonus was a live issue even in those days!)

Historians say that long before the coming of Richard Tarr to Sandy Bay this coast was frequently visited by fishermen from Essex, Salem and Ipswich, who made the many coves about Cape Ann their headquarters, particularly Gap Cove, Long Cove, Pigeon Cove and Loblolly Cove. Here they built temporary shelter, and dressed and cured their fish. This practice was carried on until about 1720.

The first lighthouse and dwelling house on Straitsmouth Island was built in 1835, and the light was first used towards the close of that year. In 1851 it was replaced by the present one.

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Life Saving Station

There is no more peaceful-looking spot along the entire Rockport shore than that of the Life Saving Station at Gap Cove. One might wonder what the life savers find to do. (Most of the wondering is done on a calm July afternoon.) Come and wonder when a north-east blizzard dashes the sea over the topmost rock on Paradise Cliffs. Come and wonder when the sleet is so thick you cannot see across Gap Cove. Come and wonder when the bulb reads ten below and the wind is blowing eighty!

Of course the summer visitor realizes that during his stay in Rockport the men at the Life Saving Station take life (and life saving) pretty comfortably, only to pay up for it in the winter. But even then one must read the tales of Cape Ann shipwrecks and of Cape Ann rescues to thoroughly appreciate the work of the men of the Coast Guard.

The road past Gap Cove follows the shore but a little way, passing a few beautiful houses and bungalows, but soon turning inland to join the main road just before Eden Road. We may return to town by this road, through Marmion Way or by way of the Headlands.

The latter will prove to be the better way, for we have already traveled over much of the other two routes and we have had but a


Who would not a-life-saving go, with this pleasant spot for a home?

1381


Old Garden Beach is a cozy little beach

glimpse of the Headlands. This section is another land of summer homes (some are occupied the year round), containing many of the most attractive residences in Rockport as well as offering a splendid view of the town and surrounding country. We shall come out on Atlantic Avenue again, near the silo studio, and thence back to Main Street and Baptist Square.

And now, being close to our starting point, we may bring this " trip through Rockport with a camera " to a close. We have touched only the more prominent places of interest along our way, and our route has been limited to cover only the points of greatest interest to strangers. For every picture our camera has recorded, the casual traveler over this same territory will find a dozen of equal interest; for every stopping place along our way, the average visitor will find another equally enjoyable. The older residential part of town we have not visited at all. Broadway, School Street, Pleasant Street these and many more are lined with old homes, many of them interesting examples of colonial architecture. We have not visited the old cemetery on Mill Lane, just off Main Street across from Red Men's Hall, where lie the

39 1

remains of Richard Tarr and many other of the early settlers at Sandy Bay and which was donated as a cemetery by Richard Tarr. There is another old cemetery close by, and in one or the other rest the pioneers who blazed the trail to Sandy Bay, who made possible Rockport, town of the sea. We have not viewed the town from the top of Pool's Hill, behind the depot.

Because we started in the opposite direction, we have not visited Pigeon Cove, which in itself offers a trip as extensive as the one just concluded and one fully as enjoyable. We have not visited Pigeon Cove — which is another way of saying that we have not seen the half of Rockport !

And still, surely we have seen enough to prove the assertions that the scenery is entrancing, the ocean views glorious, the beaches ideal, the homes beautiful and that Rockport is distinctive among seashore towns.


Along the shore just beyond Gap Cove

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Pigeon Cove

There is an old Hindoo fable transposed, into verse by John Godfrey Saxe, about six blind men of Hindustan who went to observe an elephant. One grasped the trunk, another the knee, still another the tusk. Each grasped a different part of the elephant, resulting in six distinct and entirely erroneous impressions of the animal.

In like manner you may encounter many varying impressions of Rockport from people blessed with perfect sight. We once heard a lady express regret because Rockport has no beaches ! One visitor may wander merely through Main Street. Another may visit Bear-skin Neck and declare he has seen Rockport. Others may journey to Land's End by way of the main highway and come back to town the same way, seeing nothing of Paradise Cliffs and Loblolly Cove. Others may visit only Pigeon Cove. Or what is worse fail to visit Pigeon Cove.

You have not seen Rockport until you have seen Pigeon Cove.. Pigeon Cove is set apart from the other attractions of Rockport, both physically and impressibly. While part of Rockport, Pigeon Cove is

The Pigeon Cove shore. You have not seen Rockport until you have seen Pigeon Cove [41


Is this not an invitation to visit Pigeon Cove?

another world. It is a very similar world and a very beautiful world, but yet another world. You will find the ocean and the rocks and the beaches and the coves and the hotels and the summer homes and the walks, as in other parts of Rockport. You will find the same ocean — but the rocks and the beaches and everything else will be different.

It is hard to say just what it is that creates an impression different from that conveyed by other parts of Rockport. Perhaps it is the hotel environment. There are hotels at Straitsmouth, at Turk's Head and elsewhere in Rockport, but at Pigeon Cove they are grouped

five of them within a stone's throw. There is an air of the conventional summer resort about Pigeon Cove — and yet that can hardly suffice as reason for differentiating from the rest of Rockport. And assuredly the scenery is far from being conventional !

Something of the old days seems to linger about Pigeon Cove. Perhaps this is the distinguishable feature of this part of town. In witchcraft days, two young men of Salem built a home at Pigeon Cove in which to safely house their mother who was suspected of being a witch. This house is still standing. Near Halibut Point may be seen

42 11

today the old gambrel-roofed home of Samuel Gott, one of the earliest settlers at Pigeon Cove. The "Old Castle," on the ledge overlooking Pigeon Cove harbor, is yet another material relic of a century long past. And yet there are old houses

in other parts of Rockport — houses every bit as old. And has not Pigeon Cove a hotel as modern as any in all Rockport?

There are more woods at Pigeon Cove. The streets are heavily shaded. Narrow roads and walks twine through the


woods. In this, Pigeon Cove is At the meeting of Granite and Beach Streets, the gateway to Pigeon Cove

different from that other Rock-

port. From Dock Square to Land's End and around the shore you can pretty well see where you are travelling. At Pigeon Cove you stumble across a house, an abandoned quarry or an ocean view in the most unexpected manner.

Something of the old days seems to linger about Pigeon Cove. No more so than on Bearskin Neck or Cleaves Street, but amid a different setting. That is it. At Pigeon Cove, Rockport is seen with a different drop. The background of old ocean is the same — Rockport is still a " town of the sea," the entertainment is the same rocks and beach and coves, but the whole is presented on another stage. Pigeon Cove is Rockport amid another setting. You have not seen Rockport until you have seen Pigeon Cove.

The Granite Industry

The fact that it pays to advertise was not as generally recognized in 1823 as it is today. Whether or not Mr. Nehemiah Knowlton was a strong believer in advertising we do not know, but we do know that about that time he advertised some five hundred tons of stone for sale in a Boston newspaper. The stone he had cut at Pigeon Cove. A Major Bates of Quincy came to Sandy Bay in answer to the advertisement. As a result of his visit he commenced quarrying at Pigeon Cove the following year, bringing to assist him William Torrey, also of Quincy.

E 43


Two years later Major Bates gave up the business and went to assist in the construction of Fort Warren in Boston harbor. The United States Engineer in charge of that work induced Mr. Torrey to continue operations at Pigeon Cove, which he did on a site now owned by the Rockport Granite Company. This was the beginning of the granite industry at Rockport, an industry which has made Rockport granite famous all over the world.

Mr. Torrey became one of the substantial citizens of the town (as befits one engaged in marketing so substantial a commodity) and was the first to engage in the business here on a large scale. For a number of years his was the only quarry of appreciable size at Pigeon Cove. Then came but we shall find ourselves in the midst of a history of the granite industry, which, one might almost say, would prove hard reading.

There has been a score of companies engaged in quarrying at Pigeon Cove in days gone past, but all have been absorbed by the Rockport Granite Company, which remains today the sole representative of the industry. The extensive quarries and wharves of this Company

Rockport granite is shipped to all parts of the country


at Pigeon Cove are a point of interest which should not be neglected by the visitor to Rock-port. Rockport granite is a true hornblende granite, resembling in composition the Egyptian granite of which the ancient obelisks and sarcophagi were built. For the better class of buildings and memorials it is available in light, medium and dark gray, in sea green

A Rockport bridge should surely be of stone and this one surely is


(a dark, olive green, spotted with

black — very beautiful when polished), and in Moose-A-Bec Red, a dark reddish gray, with a mixture of white and pink. Rockport seam face granite is produced in a mixture of light to very dark reddish, rusty brown, and is mostly used in residences and churches.

Rockport granite is shipped to all parts of the country and has been used n many famous structures, the two most prominent in Boston being Cambridge Bridge and the Custom House tower. The Boston Post Office is of Rockport granite,

The Rockport Granite Company also does a big business in sup-plying paving blocks and crushed stone and in building breakwaters.

You must see the quarries when you visit Rockport


[45]


There are twenty-six rooms in the old Hale Homestead at Pigeon Cove

Hotels

There were taverns, or, more strictly speaking, public houses at Sandy Bay as early as 1750. One of the earliest ones was the Punch Bowl Tavern, which no doubt completely describes its reason for existence. There were no summer visitors in those days, of course, and the various taverns were " punch bowl " taverns in practice if not in name.

Not until about 184o did any of these taverns cater particularly to the accommodation of summer guests. About that date Richard Dana, Sr., came to spend a summer at Pigeon Cove, stopping at a tavern kept by William Norwood. In the summer of 1842, William Cullen Bryant joined his friend Dana, but he stayed at the " Old Castle." Later came Bracket, noted sculptor, whose bust of Bryant was moulded at Pigeon Cove. They also occupied rooms in the tavern with Mr. Dana. Richard Dana spent but one or two summers here, but Bryant and Bracket came year after year and were the pioneer summer visitors at Pigeon Cove

They no doubt spread the virtues of Pigeon Cove far and wide,

j{461


Words could not add to the beauty of this picture of The Edward

for each year the number of visitors increased and among them were men eminent in the professions as well as many prominent in business. So rapidly did Pigeon Cove acquire a reputation as a vacation place that Mr. Norwood soon opened a larger house on the site of the present Mansion House, which hotel for years was known as the Pigeon Cove House.

Again we are tempted to delve into history and chronicle the story of these inns of the past, but, after all, we are surely more concerned with the attractions of the present ones. Pigeon Cove remains a hotel centre today, although there are many on the other side of Rockport, including two of the largest, Turk's Head Inn and Straitsmouth Inn. But those at Pigeon Cove, The Edward, The Mansion, the Ocean View House, Glen Acre and the New Oakdene, are grouped within a moment's walk of each other, and hence Pigeon Cove has acquired more of the hotel atmosphere.

Still, Rockport is not a hotel resort although there are plenty of hotels at Rockport. There are towns which live for (and on) their hotels, but Rockport is not among them. There are towns which close 11471

their shutters and settle down for a long winter's nap when the hotel season ends, but not so Rockport.

And there are places whose hotels live unto themselves, where the hotel is the attraction and not the place itself. Few go to Rockport to stay at this or that hotel. They go to stay at Rockport. True, many have a favorite among the hotels of Rockport, but there are not many but what love Rockport first.

Rockport is not a hotel resort. It is a delightful place in which to spend a day, a week-end or a summer, and there are many excellent hotels in which to stay. There is a distinction here, but have we not already said that Rockport is distinctive?

 

What to See at Pigeon Cove

All of Pigeon Cove. There is no other answer. Wander over every bit of the Pigeon Cove section or you will miss something of its charm. Andrews Point (or Halibut Point) the tip of Cape Ann, pointing straight towards England — Folly Cove, Pigeon Cove, the " Old Castle," the ancient Gott House, Pigeon Hill and the road to Annisquam and Gloucester.

Whatever you do, do not miss the trip through Lanesville, Bay View, Annisquam and into Gloucester, returning by the direct


Looking over towards Andrews Point from in front of The Edward

X48


Who could not be comfortable in The Mansion?

Gloucester-Rockport road if you wish. Walk over this road if you can. Ride only if you must. It is an excellent automobile road for most of the way, but you will not think of the road. It is an hour's drive at a leisurely pace, but will probably take you half a day. If it does not, you do not care for Pigeon Cove. Old homes, old fish old taverns everything is old quaint. Nowhere else may you


Many's the tale the old Gott House could tell of Pigeon Cove

houses, old quarry pits, old coves, around Annisquam everything is find its counterpart. Nowhere else may you find its charm. Do not miss the trip to Annisquam.

And at Pigeon Cove you will find the crowning glory of all Rockport the view from the top of Pigeon Hill. You will want to visit here again and again

on a summer afternoon, when the sun casts a dreamy haze over all in sight—on a summer morn-

E4911


ing when the sky is heaven-blue

and the air crystal-clear on a

jet-black summer evening and again when the moonlight glimmers over the water.

From Pigeon Hill the shores of Maine and New Hampshire may be seen, with Agamenticus rearing her head in the distance. At night ah, you must look Straitsmouth light and the twin beacons

Full many a year has the Old Castle looked out upon Pigeon Cove

from Pigeon Hill at night

of Thatcher's on the right, Ipswich and Newburyport lights on the left,

spots of light all up the coast, each cluster a town or beach you

may identify them all if you are familiar with this coast and, from the far horizon you may just catch now — now now the gleam of the revolving light at the Isles of Shoals. Pigeon Hill at Pigeon Cove! Visit Long Beach, Paradise Cliffs, Loblolly Cove, Bearskin Neck

and, when you have fallen in love with Rockport, come to Pigeon


The Ocean View House is appropriately named

[go


In this rural setting Glen Acre is yet but two minutes from the ocean

Cove and from the top of Pigeon Hill look out upon the ocean and worship!

Restful Rockport

Not sleepy Rockport. You do not want to lie in a hammock and sleep all day. No one else at Rockport does, and besides, the air keeps you awake.

Not idle Rockport. Bless you, with a dozen or so hotels, a busy retail street, with all the activity at Bearskin Neck and with a bevy of artists always in town, do you not believe there is always enough to do in Rockport?

Nor dull. That is one thing about which you can be quite emphatic. There is not a dull house nor a dull hotel nor a dull scene anywhere. (The ocean never presents the same view twice, and even the rocks are sharp.) You might almost say there are no dull people in Rockport. What few you meet are transients. They do not stay very long. They find the place too dull !

Nor even slow. Should your taste run to extremes, you may find life more congenial elsewhere, but you would not call Rockport slow. {~51j

You will find modern hotels and modern people and modern jazz (if you care to listen) at Rockport.

Just restful. Restful to the body. Air that makes you sleep o' nights. Restful to the mind. Soothing sounds and silent scenes that carry you away from the troublous and the wearisome. Surroundings that appeal to the love of the beautiful and the appreciation of the artistic that is somewhere within you, whether you call yourself artist or squire. Restful to the heart. The beauty of nature, the joy of life, the glory of the Creator are manifest in sea and rock and cove and wood and hill. You can rest at Rockport town of the sea.


Something of the old days lingers about the Witch House

 

Rockport: A Town of the Sea
Part II

Published in 1924