Gloucester Massachusetts, 1890

GLOUCESTER, long celebrated as a fishing-port, occupies the larger part of Cape Ann, the easterly extremity of Essex County, and is about 30 miles from Boston, on a branch of the Eastern Division of the Boston and Maine Railroad. Its boundaries are Annisquam Harbor and the ocean on the north, Rockport and the ocean on the east, Massachusetts Bay upon the south, and Manchester and Essex on the west. The full area, including highways, water surfaces, and waste land, is 36 square miles about 23,000 acres; the assessed area being but 9,823 acres.

The town is quite irregular in form, being indented by inlets, creeks and harbors, and is almost divided by a broad, irregular, branch-ing inlet extending southward from Annisquam Harbor nearly to Gloucester Harbor on the south side of the peninsula, and connected with it by "The Cut." Over this the carriage road passes by a bridge some 500 feet in length; while the railroad crosses a broader part of the frith about a mile northward.

A short distance eastward, at the head of Gloucester Harbor, is the principal village, the city proper. The long peninsula of East Gloucester separates the harbor from the ocean, and has, on its southern shore, the noted summer resort of Bass Rocks and Good Harbor Beach, and, on its northern, the fishing village of East Gloucester. Midway of the township, on Mill River, an eastern arm of Squam River, is the little village of Riverside, with a quaint mill and thrifty farms. On the western side of Squam River, near the centre of the township, is West Gloucester village, with its craggy hills of sienite, and charming vales between, marked with salt inlets and sparkling brooks. A mile westward on the railroad is Magnolia station, whence a fine carriage road winds southward to the shore through a region of the southern magnolia, or sweet bay, a tree elsewhere unknown in New England. Gloucester has about 1,000 acres of forest, almost exclusively of pines, except here; though shrubs and plants are in great variety. Eastward from Magnolia, on the shore, is Rafe's Rock; and not far beyond is the little island named "Norman's Woe," marking the western side of the entrance of Gloucester harbor; while Eastern Point, with its light, marks the eastern side. Up the harbor, on "Ten Pound Island," is the inner light. Within its illumination, and west of " The Cut," is Fresh Water Cove, with its dwellings, like beads strung along the main road to the city proper. Other localities are Cambridge Avenue, Fernwood, Folly Cove Village and Joppa.

From the elevation between East Gloucester village and Bass Rocks there is a fine view of the city proper and the harbor, and of the granite hills and dense woods of the interior, with here and there a green field to brighten the picture. Rail-cut Hill, in the eastern section, 205 feet in height, overtops all others in Gloucester, and affords sea views on all sides except the western. Several pretty little ponds of fresh water are visible, Fernwood, Niles', Cape, and Dikes Meadow Pond, which is the source of water supply for the city proper. Four or five miles away at the northwest is the shining line of Annisquam Beach, 3 miles in length. Eastward are Annisquam Village, with its great bowlders and Rocking Stone, then Bayview, favorite summer resorts; and further still, at the northeastern extremity of the town, is Lanesville. In the broad space between the last two and this hill, appear here and there above the lower trees the tops of the tall derricks marking the locality of the vast granite quarries of this peninsula.

[Memorial Monument to Freedom, City Hall Grounds.]

The soil here has some clay, generally more or less deeply overlaid with sand or sandy loam; yet in some parts it is quite fertile. The greenhouse product is large proportionately; also that of berries. The crop of cranberries, in 1885, amounted to $1,216, and that of strawberries to $3,590. The aggregate product of the 86 farms was $134,981. The manufactures of Gloucester are in great variety, the establishments numbering 332, and consisting chiefly of articles connecting with shipbuilding, navigation, and the fisheries, and articles prepared from fish. The largest establishments are the net and twine factory, employing 125 persons, a hammock factory employing 50, and a shoe factory employing 75. The aggregate product of all these, in the last census year, amounted to $5,976,580. Nearly four millions of dollars were invested in the fisheries; and the product of these was $2,667,164. There were engaged in this pursuit 388 schooners and four sloops, having a tonnage of 26,123; together with 1,393 dories, 267 sail-boats, and other craft. The largest catch was of cod, amounting to $1,057,137. Haddock amounted to $155,375; halibut, to $449,192; and mackerel, $859,628. Of shellfish, clams brought $4,360, and lobsters, $4,966. There was also a large sum realized from fish products for food, fertilizers, oil, etc. The mercantile vessels were seven schooners and three steam vessels, engaged in coastwise business; but the foreign imports are not as large as formerly. The city has four national banks, whose aggregate capital is $800,000; and the savings bank, at the close of last year, held in deposits the sum of $1,943,431. The dwelling-houses number 3,065; and the population is 21,703, of whom 4,952 are voters. The valuation of the city in 1888 was $12,991,498; and the tax-rate $17.50 on $1,000.

In the city proper the buildings are largely of brick. Perhaps the finest edifices, if not the most interesting, are the new High School house (erected at a cost of about $90,000), the old High School house, the Police Court-house and the Armory, the Old Ladies' Home, and the churches. One of these Saint Anne's is of stone, of pure Gothic architecture and of very handsome interior. This and one other in the villages are Roman Catholic. The Congregationalists have four churches; the American Episcopal Church, one; the Methodist Episcopal, four; the Unitarians, one; the Baptists, three; and the Universalists, four. There is a free library of nearly 10,000 volumes, two association, two circulating, and 14 Sunday-school libraries. The schools are completely graded, and occupy 23 buildings, valued at about $300,000. The city is well supplied with newspapers and journals, the names of which are, the " Gloucester Daily Times," " Cape Ann Evening Breeze" (daily), and the weeklies, the " Cape Ann Bulletin," " Advertiser" and " Clipper."

The Indian names of this place were Wyngaersheek and Trabagazanda; and the friendly Masconomco was the chief of the tribe which dwelt here on the arrival of the English. A fishing station and a farming station were begun here as early as 1624; and, in the ensuing year, Roger Conant came to superintend the stations. This company removed to Salem in 1626; and soon afterwards the Rev. Richard Blynman, an ejected minister of Wales, with about 50 others, made a permanent settlement.

The first vessel of the kind which bears the name of " schooner" is said to have been constructed here about the year 1714.

The town was bombarded for several hours by the British sloop-of-war "Falcon" on the 8th of August, 1775, which directed its fire principally upon the meeting-house and caused considerable damage to the building. Captain Joseph Rogers, with his company of minute-men, aided by Colonel Joseph Foster, met the enemy, captured four boats, a small tender, a prize schooner, and forty men, and compelled " The Falcon " to withdraw. Two Americans named Lurvey and Rowe, and two British seamen, were killed in the fight. On the 8th of September, 1814, the town was again assailed by the British frigate " Tenedos," which, after losing a barge and 13 men retired, without having done much damage. Gloucester furnished about 1,500 men for the army and navy during the war of the Slaveholders' Rebellion, losing about 100. Two monuments to perpetuate their fame have been erected in the town.

[Soldiers' Monument at Lanesville.]

The first meeting-house here was built in 1639; the first church was organized in 1642, and the Rev. Richard Blynman was the first pastor. The Universalist society, the first in the country, was formed here, under the preaching of the Rev. John Murray, in 1774. Gloucester was incorporated as a town May 22, 1639, being named for a city in England, whence many of the settlers had come. It was incorporated as a city April 28, 1873.

Among the eminent names of Gloucester are these: Col. Paul Dudley Sargent (1745-1828), a brave Revolutionary officer; Jonathan Haraden (1745-1803), a distinguished naval commander; Winthrop Sargent (1753-1820), a statesman and soldier; Col. Henry Sargent (1770-1845), a skilful artist; Samuel Gilman, D.D. (1791-1858), a noted clergyman, scholar and writer; John Osborne Sargent (1810), an able lawyer and journalist, author of " Improvements in Naval Warfare," and other works; Edwin Percy Whipple (1819), a noted essayist and lecturer; William Winter (1836), a popular poet; and Hons. John J. Babson, Addison Gilbert and Gorham P. Low.

pp. 330-333 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890