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Catalog entry

inv. 103
Gloucester Beach from the Cut
1850s
Graphite on paper (2 sheets)
9 1/2 x 22 1/4 in. (24.1 x 56.5 cm)
Inscribed lower center (in pencil): Gloucester Beach from the Cut / F.H. Lane del.
Inscribed verso (in pencil): S.H.M. [Samuel H. Mansfield]

Commentary

Lane drew this scene from the west side of the Cut, where the Annisquam River enters Gloucester Harbor. Looking due east, he placed the Pavilion Hotel just to the north of center, with the ropewalk to the hotel’s left and the houses of Canal Street extending to the left margin. The right half shows Pavilion Beach leading out to Fort Point and its rocky southwestern extension jutting into the Western Harbor. There is great depth to this drawing, making the schooner at far right and the masts rising in Harbor Cove essential for the viewer to grasp the distances involved; yet for all this distance, Lane’s drawing is detailed and precise.

The narrow angle of view makes for the absence of many familiar buildings in Gloucester, the churches in particular. As seen in the viewpoint map, all churches with prominent steeples are outside the left margin – some barely so. The same happens at the right margin, leaving out Ten Pound Island and much of Rocky Neck, while giving unexpected prominence to Fort Point’s southwest end. The resulting visual effect is strikingly different from Lane’s other depictions of Gloucester’s Outer Harbor, which have much wider angles of view, resulting in the panoramic scenes to which we are so accustomed.

–Erik Ronnberg

  1. Housing lining Canal Street
  2. Buildings of ropewalk
  3. Pavilion Hotel
  4. Ignatius Webber's windmill- relocated on George H. Rogers's wharf
  5. Warehouse and offices of George H. Rogers
  6. Remains of the Fort (Fort Defiance)
  7. Rocks on south-west side of Fort Point
  8. Western edge of Rocky Neck

[+] See More

Supplementary Images

 

Explore catalog entries by keywords view all keywords »

Subject Types:   Townscape »
Landscape Types:   Beach »
Cape Ann Locales:   Fort (The) / Fort Point / Watch House Point »   //   Pavilion Beach & Hotel »
Objects:   American Flag / Ensign »
Building Types:   Hotel »   //   Rope Walk »

Historical Materials
Below is historical information related to the Lane work above. To see complete information on a subject on the Historical Materials page, click on the subject name (in bold and underlined).

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The Pavilion, built in 1849 for Sidney Mason, was Gloucester's first summer resort hotel. Mason was a patron of Lane, and he commissioned him to paint three views of scenes of his mercantile successes: New York Harbor, San Juan [Saint John] Harbor, and Gloucester Harbor, 1852 (inv. 38), in which the hotel, with all its porches, towers and tracery, is a prominent feature. Mason himself helped the architect S. Charles Bugbee design the building, that was then constructed by White and Winchester. A grist windmill, originally owned by Ignatius Webber and then by Sidney Mason's father, John Mason, had stood on the hill since 1814, but, in preparation for the Pavilion Hotel, was moved to the inner-harbor side of the old Fort and eventually burned in 1877. Both the windmill and the Fort can be seen in several Lane harbor paintings and drawings.

Sidney Mason lived in New York City at this time but was closely connected to his home town of Gloucester and owned another, traveler's hotel, the Gloucester House. But the Pavilion brought in an entirely new and different type of visitor to the fishing and trading town of Gloucester. The railroad from Boston had reached Salem in 1839 and Gloucester in November 1847. This not only led to Lane's return to Gloucester after his fifteen year residence in Boston,  it also facilitated an influx of summer people. Before this time, a combination of stagecoaches, ferries, steamers and trains was needed to make the trip. Now, the wealthy from New York and Philadelphia could travel easily to Gloucester, as well as to other North Shore communities.  

The hotel was not isolated from the business of the town. Next door to the west was one of the several long ropewalks in town. It was built by Ignatius Webber in 1803 and produced many of the miles of hemp rope and twine needed in the maritime trading and fishing trades. To the east, along the beach, were flake yards, where acres of split cod and other fish were laid out to dry in the sun. Lane did not include these in his painting. Nor is there any sign of tension between the tourist hotel and the local inhabitants and industries.

The Pavilion Hotel offered spectacular views and walks, both coastal and inland, and bathing was available all along the public beach that stretched to the Fort. The hotel itself was advertised as elegant, with luxurious sitting rooms, gas lighting and modern conveniences. Its first years were not entirely successful under the management of Dr. H.T. Haughey, once manager of Delaware's Brandywine Springs. But in 1852, Col. Abijah Peabody, manager of Mason's other hotel, the Gloucester House, took over the Pavilion and it flourished.

The Pavilion Hotel grounds were used during the Civil War as a recruiting office. It became the Surfside Hotel, and burned on Saturday, October 17, 1914. It was soon replaced by the Tavern, and that building still exists although no longer as a hotel and without the elegance and architectural flare of the original Pavilion.

Current address: 28–30 Western Avenue, The Tavern.

 – Sarah Dunlap (September, 2013)

Pavilion Hotel and Beach from the Fort
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Pavilion Hotel and the beach looking west from the Fort, Beach Court and Western Avenue. 

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Hotel, view with guests on beach
Proctor Brothers
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Stereo view from Western Avenue
Heywood
c.1864
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Pavilion Hotel from top of Western Avenue, small storefront on left has a sign saying "Beer." 

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illustration
Architectural plans for Pavilion Hotel, front elevation
1840s
Architectural drawing
Cape Ann Museum Library & Museum, Gloucester, Mass.

Architectural drawings of Pavilion for Sidney Mason.

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map
1834-35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 4)
John Mason
1834–35
Lithograph
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–1835."

This section of the map shows the location of the Pavilion Hotel and ropewalk along the beach.

Also filed under: Maps »   //  Mason, John »   //  Pavilion (Publick) Beach »   //  Ropewalk »   //  Windmill »

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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Gloucester Harbor)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Printer. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

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publication
1852 Gloucester Telegraph 6.16.1852
Gloucester Telegraph
6.26.1852
Newspaper
Gloucester Telegraph p. 2 col. 2
Boston Public Library
Accession # G587

"Charlotte Cushman leaves for Europe today in steamship Asia, from New York,– She takes with her two of Lane's finest marine paintings, which she purchased on Monday."

Image: Boston Public Library
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publication
1854 The Independent 9.7.1854
Clarence Cook
1854
Newspaper
"Letters on Art. - No. IV"

"In that space [four years] the town has grown greatly . . . a great ugly, yellow "Pavilion" suns itself on the rocks . . . I said there are only two stone buildings in this town of Gloucester: one is "the Bank," the other belongs to Mr. F. H. Lane, whose name ought to be known from Maine to Georgia as the best marine painter in the country.

If Mr. Lane is not as well known as he ought to be, he has at least no reason to complain of neglect or want of appreciation. He has been painting only fifteen years, and his pictures are in great demand; hitherto chiefly among sea-faring men, but now winning way in other circles. In former times I used to be often in Mr. Lane's painting-room, and it was with real pleasure that I found my way to his new house, built from his own design, of native granite, as I mentioned, handsome, peculiar, stable, and commanding a wide sweep of land and ocean from its ample windows. The house is the best that has been built in Gloucester for fifty years. . .

Mr. Lane has put few pictures in his studio at present; for he is very industrious, and sends his canvases off as fast as they are filled. If you were to meet him in the street, you would hardly take him for an artist. A man apparently of forty years, walking with difficulty, supported by crutches, hard-handed, browned by the sun and exposure, with a nose indicating less the artist sensibility than the artist resolution . . .

His early pictures had something in them too hard and practical to permit enthusiastic admiration; the water was salt, the ships sailed, the waves moved, but it was the sea before the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep.

His pictures early delighted sailors by their perfect truth. Lane knows the name and place of every rope on a vessel; he knows the construction, the anatomy, the expression – and to a seaman every thing that sails has expression and individuality . . . [Lane] has earned his money thus far mostly by painting "portraits" of vessels for sailors and ship-owners. It is owing to this necessity, perhaps, that he has fallen into the fault of too great literalness of treatment, which I have mentioned as characterizing some of his earlier works; but with the rapid advance he has made in the past four years, there is no longer any fear that he is incapable of treating a subject with genuine imagination . . .

He has indulged in no tricks and no vagaries; he has slighted nothing, despised nothing. If I appear to think less of his early pictures than they deserve, it is not because they are carefully even painfully studied, and because no detail has escaped his eye or brush; it is not that he has too much conscience; but simply because I missed in them the creative imagination of the artist. But it may well be a question whether at this day, when slight and untruthful work prevails, when artists will not paint with conscience, and the public does not strenuously demand it, conscience and love are not higher needs than imagination, and whether Mr. Lane's early pictures, the landmarks on his toilsome, earnest journey to his present place, have not a great value of their own. There is not one of them that I have seen, without some valuable passage, showing acute observation and careful, studious execution.

A sea-piece, "Off the coast of Maine, with Desert-Island in the distance," is the finest picture that Mr. Lane has yet painted. The time is sunset after a storm. The dun and purple clouds roll away to the south-west, the sun sinks in a glory of yellow light, flooding the sea with transparent splendor. Far away in the offing, hiding the sun, sails a brig fully rigged . . . I urged Mr. Lane to send this picture to New-York for exhibition . . ."

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publication
1863 Gloucester Telegraph 12.26.1863
12.26.1863
Newsprint
Gloucester Telegraph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

At a Sanitary Fair held at the Pavilion "obtained through the favor and generosity of the owner, Mr. SIDNEY MASON, of New York, and to whom many thanks are due."  "... hangs a fine picture, the generous gift of our own Artist, Mr. Lane.  The Subject is "Coffin's Beach," as seen from the "Loaf."  This is the most costly article on sale in the rooms, and is valued at $100. It will be disposed of by tickets $1 each."

Two paintings by Lane, Little Good Harbor Beach and View from the Loaf were on sale at the Fair.

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illustration
Architectural plans for Pavilion Hotel, 1st and 2nd floor plans
1840s
Architectural drawing
Cape Ann Museum Library & Museum, Gloucester, Mass.
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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 20 The Pavilion
John S. E. Rogers, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereo view of the Pavilion from the southern or sea side.

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 52 Pavilion
Heywood
Stereograph card
Hervey Friend, Gloucester, Mass., Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereo view of the Pavilion Hotel from the street side.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 89 The Town from Stage Fort
John S.E. Rogers, Publisher
c.1890
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"In the foreground is a clear sheet of water which washes upon the beach beyond. The Pavilion is quite prominent, while upon the rising background can be seen the steeples of the several churchs, the tower of the first Town House, and the Collins School House."

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 940 Bird's Eye View of Gloucester from Bond's Hill, looking Eastward
John S.E. Rogers, Publisher
c.1880
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Bond's Hill is a high eminence on the west side of Gloucester Harbor. The foreground is very rocky and shows a portion of the old road to West Gloucester and Essex, used before the road was built across the marsh, which is to be seen in the center of the picture. Beyond the marsh road is the canal with its dyke. Then the ground rises and dwelling houses appear, till Lookout Hill (or Mount Vernon Street.) can be seen on the left of the background. On the right of the picture is the 'Cut' road, the only carriage entrance into the main part of the town. Beyond it is to be seen 'Crescent Beach,' with the Pavilion and 'old Fort' and a portion of East Gloucester in the background. In the centre of the picture can be seen the unfinished tower of the Town House, and in the distance is the open sea, with Thatcher's Island and its lighthouses just discernible."

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: Unique Series No. 19 Pavilion and Beach, from Old Fort
Procter Brothers, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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map
Locator map showing Pavilion Hotel
H.F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 inches
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach
James Cremer, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
c.1870
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Taken from Fort Point looking west. Ropewalk just to west of hotel.

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
From Gloucester Picturesque, published by Charles D. Brown
c.1900.
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Pavilion Hotel, woodcut, view from west
n.d.
Photograph of engraving (copy)
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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Surfside Hotel, formerly Pavilion
photographer unknown
August 1909
12 x 14 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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George H. Rogers was one of Gloucester's most enterprising citizens of the mid-nineteenth century. In the early 1830s, he ventured into the Surinam trade with great success, leading him to acquire a wharf at the foot of Sea Street. Due to Harbor Cove's shallow bottom at low tide, berthings at wharves had to be done at high tide, leaving the ships grounded at other times. Many deep-loaded vessels had to anchor outside Harbor cove and be partially off-loaded by "lighters" (shallow-draft vessels that could transfer cargo to the wharves) before final unloading at wharfside. To lessen this problem, Rogers had an unattached extension built out from his wharf into deeper water (see The Fort and Ten Pound Island, Gloucester (Harbor Scene), 1848 (inv. 58), right middle ground). The space between the old wharf and the extension may have been a way to evade harbor regulations limiting how far a pier head could extend into the harbor. Stricter rules were not long in coming after this happened!

About 1848, Rogers acquired land on the east end of Fort Point, first putting up a large three-story building adjacent to Fort Defiance, then a very large wharf jutting out into Harbor Cove. Lane's depictions of Harbor Cove and Fort Point show progress of this construction in 1848 (The Fort and Ten Pound Island, Gloucester (Harbor Scene), 1848 (inv. 58)), 1850 (Gloucester Inner Harbor, 1850 (inv. 240)), and c.1851 (Gloucester Harbor, c.1852 (inv. 563)). A corner of the new wharf under construction can also be seen more closely in Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, 1850s (inv. 17) and Ten Pound Island in Gloucester Harbor, 1864 (inv. 104) (foregrounds). This new wharf provided better frontage for large ships to load and unload, as well as larger warehouses and lofts for storage of goods and vessel gear.

By 1860, Rogers was unloading his Surinam cargos at Boston, as ever-larger ships and barks were more easily berthed there. His  Gloucester wharves continued to be used for deliveries of trade goods by smaller vessels. In the late 1860s, Rogers' wharf at Fort Point (called "Fort Wharf" in Gloucester directories) was acquired by (Charles D.) Pettingill & (Nehemiah) Cunningham for use in "the fisheries" as listed by the directory. in 1876, it was sold to (John J.) Stanwood & Company, also for use in "the fisheries." (1)

Lowe's Wharf, adjacent to Fort Wharf, was acquired by (Sylvester) Cunningham & (William) Thompson, c.1877 and used in "the fisheries" as well. That wharf and its buildings were enlarged considerably as the business grew. By this time, Harbor Cove was completely occupied by businesses in the fisheries or providing services and equipment to the fishing fleet. In photographs of Fort Point from this period, it is difficult to distinguish one business from another, so closely are they adjoined.

– Erik Ronnberg

Reference:

1. A city atlas, dated 1899, indicates that Rogers's wharf at Fort Point was still listed as part of his estate. If so, then Stanwood & Co. would have been leasing that facility from the Rogers's estate. 

map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Harbor Cove)
H.F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

Segment of Harbor Village portion of map showing Low's, Rogers', and other wharves in the Inner Harbor.

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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Harbor Parish)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

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1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail showing wharves)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

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map
1865 Commissioners' Map of Gloucester Harbor Massachusetts
A. Boschke
1865
41 x 29 inches
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Archives
Maps and Plans, Third Series Maps, v.66:p.1, no. 2352, SC1/series 50X

.

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photo (historical)
View from Belmont House, of a fishing wharf, with the Old Fort of 1812 opposite
William A. Elwell
1876
Photograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Ignatius Weber's windmill (now defunct) is shown.

Image: Cape Ann Museum
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Essay to come.

photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
c.1870
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Taken from Fort Point looking west. Ropewalk just to west of hotel.

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map
1834-35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 4)
John Mason
1834–35
Lithograph
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–1835."

This section of the map shows the location of the Pavilion Hotel and ropewalk along the beach.

Also filed under: Maps »   //  Mason, John »   //  Pavilion (Publick) Beach »   //  Pavilion Hotel »   //  Windmill »

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publication
The Germ 2.1848
John Piper, ed.
1848
Newsprint
D14-7
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

A short article entitled "The Cut," and signed "Little Fellow" describes the southwestern part of Gloucester and the beach between the Canal and the Old Fort. 

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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Gloucester Harbor)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Printer. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

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map
1830 Mason Map
John Mason
1830
Series Maps. v. 13: p. 17
SC1 / series 48X
Massachusetts Archives, Boston
Image: Courtesy of the Massachusetts Archives
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map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 1)
John Mason
1834–35
Lithograph
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35." 

This map shows the location of F. E. Low's wharf and the ropewalk. Duncan's Point, the site where Lane would eventually build his studio, is also marked.

The later notes on the map are believed to be by Mason.

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map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 2)
John Mason
1834–35
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35."

This map is especially helpful in showing the wharves of the inner harbor at the foot of Washington Street. 

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A grist windmill, originally owned by Ignatius Webber and then by Sidney Mason's father, John Mason, had stood on the hill since 1814, but, in preparation for the Pavilion Hotel, was moved to the inner-harbor side of the old Fort and eventually burned in 1877. Lot on which it stood by the water was sold to Sidney Mason in 1846. The windmill can be seen in several Lane harbor paintings and drawings.

Ignatius Webber’s windmill in its original location appears in View of the Town of Gloucester, Mass., 1836 (inv. 437) (far left, very small, with vanes), and View of Gloucester, (From Rocky Neck), 1846 (inv. 92) (also far left, a bit larger, but without vanes).  After its move to Fort Point, it appears in the drawing of Gloucester Inner Harbor, (sitting on George H. Rogers’ Wharf), just behind the foremast of the two-masted New England boat), View in Gloucester Harbor, 1850s (inv. 143). In the derivative painting owned by the Mariners’ Museum Gloucester Inner Harbor, 1850 (inv. 240), this time it shows up just abaft the same boat’s main mast. The drawing and painting just show the building without vanes.

Related tables: Pavilion Hotel »
illustration
Governor's Hill
Fitz Henry Lane
1830–31
Watercolor on paper
9 x 32 in.

Detail of windmill.

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illustration
View of the Town of Gloucester
Fitz Henry Lane
1836
Lithograph
13 x 19 3/4 in.

Detail of ???

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illustration
View of Gloucester from Rocky Neck
Fitz Henry Lane
1846
Colored lithograph
21 1/2 x 35 1/2 in.

Detail of Ignatius Webber's windmill, without vanes. 

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map
1834-35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 4)
John Mason
1834–35
Lithograph
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–1835."

This section of the map shows the location of the Pavilion Hotel and ropewalk along the beach.

Also filed under: Maps »   //  Mason, John »   //  Pavilion (Publick) Beach »   //  Pavilion Hotel »   //  Ropewalk »

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1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail showing wharves)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

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photo (historical)
View from Belmont House, of a fishing wharf, with the Old Fort of 1812 opposite
William A. Elwell
1876
Photograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Ignatius Weber's windmill (now defunct) is shown.

Image: Cape Ann Museum
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The Cut is the local name given to the canal that connects the outer Gloucester harbor to the navigable Annisquam River and thence on to the waters north of Cape Ann, so that vessels can in safety avoid circling the entire exposed eastern shoreline. It provided a vantage point for Lane's drawing Gloucester Beach from the Cut, 1850s (inv. 103)  It was dug through the strip of beach separating the two bodies of water, first in the 1640s by the Reverend Richard Blynman, and is officially the Blynman Canal. This is purportedly the first canal dug in North America. For much of its history, however, the Cut has been filled in and the beach in its original state with a road laid over it, instead of cut through with a bridge over the canal (until 1950 and Route 128, the only vehicular access from the mainland to the Gloucester and Rockport peninsula). For a brief time around 1704 the canal was filled in by a storm but was soon dredged and re-opened.  Then in 1723 it was again filled in by storms and did not get dug out until after 1822. 

At this time, a consortium of Gloucester's leading men, most of them connected then and later with Lane, formed the company "Proprietors of the Gloucester Canal." They included Benjamin K. Hough, Jr.; James Mansfield; William Pearce, Jr.; John Mason; William Saville; Samuel Gilbert; and Winthrop Sargent. They managed to get the canal re-dug and a bridge in place, but the opening was too narrow to allow vessels of useful size to pass through. The bridge was also deemed unsafe. The company lost money and by 1843, the Cut was being refilled by the Town. During all the rest of Lane's life, the Cut as a canal did not exist. One could travel on a road, over sand, from the Pavilion, past the Ropewalk and the houses along the shore, to the western shores of the Harbor, Brookbank, Fresh Water Cove, and many other scenes and sites from which Lane painted. However, Lane and others continued to designate that section of their town as "The Cut."

After Lane's death, the quarrying interests on Wolf Hill (near the eastern end of the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge) were sufficiently motivated to reopen the canal in 1867.

– Sarah Dunlap (December, 2014)

map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Old First Parish)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

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publication
The Germ 2.1848
John Piper, ed.
1848
Newsprint
D14-7
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

A short article entitled "The Cut," and signed "Little Fellow" describes the southwestern part of Gloucester and the beach between the Canal and the Old Fort. 

Also filed under: Piper, John J. »   //  Ropewalk »

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manuscript
1852 Journal of John M. Stevens
John M. Stevens
September 1–November 18, 1852
Personal journal
Wilson Museum, Castine, Maine
Box 2, F1 (A00772)

John Stevens was the younger brother of Joseph Stevens, and acquainted with Lane, spending time with him in Gloucester and at the family home in Castine. His journal, quoted below, includes reference to hunting plover and teal, school, sailing, local events. Mentions Castine mill, lighthouse, and block house.

"Friday [September] 17th: Cloudy all day. Wind N. blowing quite hard. A British Rig loaded with salt from Liverpool came into port last night. She run way up by the Monument and got aground. They kedged her off this P.M. and came down. She came in with one of these old English charts as her guide. They have the town set down on the Brooksville side, two miles + three quarters from the lighthouse."

"Wednesday [September] 22. . .Went down to the Indians Camp on the Back Cove. There were five camps of them." 

Visits Gloucester from Castine:

"Wednesday [October] 27th. . .Left for Gloucester [from Boston] at 5 o'clock this P.M. arrived there safe + sound at 6 1/2 o'clock; went right down to the store and saw Joe. We then went up to his house and got supper.

"Thursday [October] 28th. At. Gloucester. Pleasant day. Went down to the "Cut" a gunning this morning before breakfast but saw no birds. Went out in the harbor this forenoon alone, had a fine sail but couldn't get a chance at any birds. Went out again this P.M. got down to East Point Light and the wind died all away, so I had to scull home."

"Friday 29th. Very pleasant day, went out in the harbor this morning with Joe. Took a walk this A.M. with "Lina", called on Mr. Lane + Doct. Hildreth. Joe + I went out in the harbor this P.M. I fired at some birds several times, but didn't get any. . . ."

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publication
1862 Gloucester Telegraph 3.8.1862
3.8.1862
Newsprint
Gloucester Telegraph

"The Reef of Norman's Woe ... is now commemorated in painting too, one of the finest pictures from Lane's easel. ... The sketch was made at the pretty spot commonly called, we believe, Master Moore's Cove.  Being some little way off the main track to Rafe's Chasm, it is seldom visited, except by the more inquisitive lovers of nature who leave the beaten road to pry out such pleasant places. ... We wish it might find a home buyer, rather than go off to enrich another community." Flowery description follows, then "There is another and larger work in the artist's studio, which, happily, is to be retained. It received much well deserved notice and commendation. The subject is a view southward from the 'Cut,' with the picturesque promontory commonly known as 'Stage Fort,' and historically interesting as the supposed spot of the 'Landing at Cape Ann' in the middle distance, and Eastern Point on the extreme left." More description follows, "Among other attractions of the studio, and particularly worthy of mention, is a cabinet picture with an effect similar to the Norman's Woe. The subject is chosen from the many sketches of the grand scenery of the Maine sea-coast with which the artist's portfolio is rich. It is a view of the Camden mountains sketches from the Graves, a jagged ledge far out in the bay, which is accessible in only the smoothest water."

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Locator map: Blynman Canal and the Cut
Based on 1851 Walling map.
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Through the years, this point and its fortifications had many names: Watch House Point, the Old Battery, Fort Defiance, Fort Head, and now just "The Fort." In 1793, Fort Defiance was turned over to the young United States government and was allowed to deteriorate. During the War of 1812 it was described as being "in ruins," and any remaining buildings burned in 1833. It was resuscitated in the Civil War and two batteries of guns were installed. The City of Gloucester did not regain ownership of the land until 1925.

The first fortifications on this point, guarding the entrance to the Inner Harbor, were put up in the 1740s, when fear of attack from the French led to the construction of a battery armed with twelve-pounder guns.  Greater breastworks were thrown up in 1775, after Capt. Lindsay and his sloop-of-war the "Falcon" attacked the unprepared town. They were small and housed only a few cannon and local soldiers.  Several other fortifications were at various times erected around the harbor: Fort Conant at what is now Stage Fort Park, another on Duncan's Point (near site of Lane's house) and the Civil War fort on Eastern Point. None of these preparations was ever called upon to actually defend the town.

Lane during his lifetime created a long series of images of the point and the condition of its fortifications. In 1832 there were still buildings standing, and the point had not yet been used for major wharves and warehouses. By the time of his painting Gloucester Harbor, 1852 (inv. 38), one can see that the earthwork foundation, but no superstructures, survived. 

– Sarah Dunlap

artwork
Gloucester from the Outer Harbor
Fitz Henry Lane
1852
Graphite and watercolor on paper (2 sheets)
9 1/2 x 31 1/2 in. (24.1 x 80 cm)
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass.

Detail showing fort.

Image: Cape Ann Museum
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photo (historical)
Harbor Cove and skyline from the fort
unknown
c.1870
4 x 6 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Benham Collection

George Steele sail loft, William Jones spar yard, visible across harbor. Photograph is taken from high point on the Fort, overlooking business buildings on the Harbor Cove side.

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illustration
View of the Old Fort and Harbor 1837
Fitz Henry Lane, attr.
1860
In John J. Babson, History of the Town Gloucester (Gloucester, MA: Procter Brothers, 1860)
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, Mass.

See p. 474.

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publication
1860 Gloucester Telegraph 6.30.1860
6.30.1860
Newsprint
Gloucester Telegraph

About picture of Old Fort hanging in the Gloucester Bank: "This picture is chiefly of interest on account of its preserving so accurately the features of a view so familiar to many of our citizens and which can never exist in reality."

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map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 3)
John Mason
1834–35
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35."

This map is especially useful in showing the Fort.

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1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail showing wharves)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

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publication
1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 8.22.1862
8.22.1862
Newsprint
Cape Ann Advertiser
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Fort Hill was occupied by Capt. H. C. Mackay and John Lowe, as a flake-yard, and there were but one or two old fish-houses in the vicinity. The improvements at this point during the last fifteen years have left no traces of its former appearance, almost every landmark having been obliterated. A very good idea of the place as it then appeared may be obtained from the painting of Fitz H. Lane, Esq., now on exhibition at the Reading Room under the Gloucester Bank."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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publication
1865 Gloucester Telegraph
1865
Newspaper
Gloucester Telegraph

"By the will of the late Fitz H. Lane, Esq., his handsome painting of the Old Fort, Ten Pound Island, etc., now on exhibition at the rooms of the Gloucester Maritime Insurance Co., was given to the town... It will occupy its present position until the town has a suitable place to receive it."

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publication
1867 Gloucester Telegraph, 10.23.1867
10.23.1867
Newsprint
Gloucester Telegraph

At the dedication of the Town House, speaker, "read the following letter:

To the Selectmen of Gloucester: / Gents: The will of our late Townsman, Fitz. H. Lane, contains this provision: / I give to the inhabitants of the Town of Gloucester, the picture of the Old Fort, to be kept as a memento[sic] of one of the localities of olden time; the said picture now hanging in the Reading Room under the Gloucester Bank, and to be there kept until the Town of Gloucester shall furnish a suitable and safe place to hang it. / The original sketch was taken twenty-five years ago, but the boats and vessels introduced are those of a quarter of a century earlier still. The painting was executed in 1859, six years before his decease."

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photo (historical)
Fort Point
E. G. Rollins
1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

View from top of Unitarian Church on Middle Street looking southeast, showing the Fort and Ten Pound Island. Tappan Block and Main Street buildings between Center and Hancock in foreground.

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photo (historical)
View from Belmont House, of a fishing wharf, with the Old Fort of 1812 opposite
William A. Elwell
1876
Photograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Ignatius Weber's windmill (now defunct) is shown.

Image: Cape Ann Museum
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Gloucester Outer Harbor served as a staging area for deep draft or heavily laden vessels waiting to come into the wharves in the shallow Old Harbor at high tide, or waiting to discharge cargo into smaller vessels. While Lane's paintings typically show one or two vessels in the harbor, works by other artists from the period, as well as contemporary descriptions, demonstrate that the harbor was usually crowded with vessels, especially in bad weather. The Outer Harbor could accommodate as many as three hundred vessels when they needed to shelter during a storm. 

There were two deep spots where they could wait, the "Deep Hole" between Ten Pound Island and the Fort; and the "Pancake Grounds" between Ten Pound Island and Eastern Point. The "Pancake Grounds" also served as a quarantine area for ships arriving from foreign ports. "Deep Hole" was named for the (relatively) deep water between Rocky Neck and Fort Point to the Outer Harbor. Deeply loaded vessels had to anchor there for “lightering” (partial unloading by boats called “lighters”) prior to final unloading at wharfside. "Deep Hole" was 20–25 feet deep at low tide, when Harbor Cove was only 1–6 feet deep with bare ground around some wharves. "Deep Hole" is where you see ships anchored in Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, 1844 (inv. 14), The Old Fort and Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, 1850s (inv. 30), View of Gloucester, Mass., 1859 (not published), Gloucester Inner Harbor, 1850 (inv. 240), The Fort and Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1847 (inv. 271), and Gloucester Harbor, 1857 (not published) (which is coming to anchor).

The term "Deep Hole" is apparently a post-Bellum term. Prior to that, it was known as "The Stream" and, as later, served as anchorage where deeply loaded vessels could be lightered prior to docking in Harbor Cove. Alfred Mansfield Brooks in his book Gloucester Recollected uses this term on page 53. After the Civil War, merchant shipping in Gloucester was dominated by salt ships and later coal carriers, bringing a whole new culture to the harbor, and with it new names for old places.

photo (historical)
Outer Harbor, Gloucester
John Heywood
c. late 1860s
John Heywood Photo for Hervey Friend
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive (2013.068)

Schooners anchored on the Pancake Ground, taken from from Wonson's Cove, easterly side of the Rocky Neck causeway. Eastern Point Fort and garrison in background to far left. 

Also filed under: Eastern Point »

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 114 Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck
John S. E. Rogers
c.1870
Stereograph card
Procter Brothers, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, Looking Southwest. This gives a portion of the Harbor lying between Ten Pound Island and Eastern Point. At the time of taking this picture the wind was from the northeast, and a large fleet of fishing and other vessels were in the harbor. In the range of the picture about one hundred vessels were at anchor. In the small Cove in the foreground quite a number of dories are moored. Eastern Point appears on the left in the background."

Southeast Harbor was known for being a safe harbor.

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map
1854 U.S. Coast Survey, Gloucester Harbor, Sketch
A. D. Bache, Superintendent, Preliminary Chart of Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts. (Washington, D.C.: Survey of the Coast of the United States, 1854.)
Collection of Erik Ronnberg
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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Views: No. 956 Outer Harbor from Fort Defiance
Hervey Friend
c.1870
Stereograph card
Procter Brothers, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

View from Civil War fort on Eastern Point.

Also filed under: Eastern Point »   //  Historic Photographs »

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map
1830 Mason Map
John Mason
1830
Series Maps. v. 13: p. 17
SC1 / series 48X
Massachusetts Archives, Boston
Image: Courtesy of the Massachusetts Archives
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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (Fresh Water Cove)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850: 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850: 3,213."

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publication
1861 Cape Ann Advertiser Shipping Journal 6.20.1861
6.20.1861
Newsprint
Cape Ann Advertiser
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Notice in the Cape Ann Advertiser announcing arrival of ships into the port of Gloucester, with details of their cargo.

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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publication
1864 Gloucester Telegraph 9.21.1864
9.21.1864
Newspaper

"Lane's studio seldom presents so many attractions to visitors as at the present time. With unwonted rapidity his easel has turned off pictures in answer to the numerous orders which have poured in from all quarters." 

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map
1877 Gloucester Harbor Coastal Survey Map
1877
Electrotype impression
Collection of Erik Ronnberg
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photo (historical)
Fort at Stage Fort Park
J. J. Haws
c.1870
Stereograph card
Procter Brothers, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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artwork
Gloucester Mackerel Fishing Fleet, Gloucester Harbor
Stephen Parrish
July 26, 1881
Pencil and ink on paper
15 x 22 1/8 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Mr. Donald K. Usher, in memory of Mrs. Margaret Campbell Usher, 1984 (2401.19)
Image: Cape Ann Museum
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artwork
Untitled (Ships Anchored in Gloucester Harbor)
D. Jerome Elwell
1892
Watercolor on paper
8 3/4 x 19 3/4 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Rev. and Mrs. A. A. Madsen, 1950
Accession # 1468

Fishing schooners in Gloucester's outer harbor, probably riding out bad weather.

Image: Cape Ann Museum
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Pavilion Beach is an approximately 1/5 mile long sandy beach that runs along the south side of Commercial Street from Fort Square to the public landing at the easterly end of Western Avenue. The beach faces out over Gloucester Harbor.

Pavilion Beach has long played an important role in the history of Gloucester’s Harbor Village. During Colonial times, the sandy beach was recognized as a crucial barrier between the potentially turbulent waters of Gloucester’s Outer Harbor and the tranquility of Harbor Cove, an inlet which offered a safe area for the construction of wharves and the berthing of vessels. So important was the barrier that during the 1720s town officials awarded a handful of respected merchants a land grant encompassing 80 feet of uplands with the proviso that they promptly build a wharf and maintain it in order to prevent the sea from washing over. During the 1730s, as maritime based commerce slowly took hold around Gloucester Harbor, additional grants were made designed to increase investment in the land and encourage its responsible use. Historian John J. Babson noted  that at that same time (c.1730) a group of citizens was enlisted to form a committee… to repair the beach, that the sea might not break over it ‘& spoyl the harbour…” In 1742, funds were appropriated by the General Court of the Commonwealth for the construction of a fortification at the seaward end of Pavilion Beach.  The citizens of Gloucester had been asking for protection from possible attacks by sea since the early 1700s. Once commitments were made to the project, the preservation of Pavilion Beach became even more crucial. 

For many of Fitz Henry Lane’s generation, here on Cape Ann and afar, Pavilion Beach was synonymous with sightings of the famous Gloucester sea serpent. Reports of a serpent frolicking in Gloucester Harbor were first made in August 1817. So credible were the reports that testimony was formally gathered under oath by the New England Linnaean Society and published in a small tract. The serpent returned in subsequent years generating a flood of publicity which helped jump start Cape Ann’s early summer tourist business in the decades leading up to the Civil War.  

– Martha Oaks (April, 2015)

Related tables: Pavilion Hotel »
Pavilion Hotel and Beach from the Fort
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Pavilion Hotel and the beach looking west from the Fort, Beach Court and Western Avenue. 

Also filed under: Pavilion Hotel »

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach
c.1900
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

From Gloucester Picturesque, published by Charles D. Brown.

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map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 3)
John Mason
1834–35
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35."

This map is especially useful in showing the Fort.

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach
James Cremer, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »   //  Pavilion Hotel »

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map
1830 Mason Map
John Mason
1830
Series Maps. v. 13: p. 17
SC1 / series 48X
Massachusetts Archives, Boston
Image: Courtesy of the Massachusetts Archives
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map
1834-35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 4)
John Mason
1834–35
Lithograph
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–1835."

This section of the map shows the location of the Pavilion Hotel and ropewalk along the beach.

Also filed under: Maps »   //  Mason, John »   //  Pavilion Hotel »   //  Ropewalk »   //  Windmill »

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map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 2)
John Mason
1834–35
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35."

This map is especially helpful in showing the wharves of the inner harbor at the foot of Washington Street. 

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Billet head
Unknown
1855
Carved wood with paint and gilt
12 x 22 x 8 in.
Cape Ann Museum. Gift of George W. Woodbury, 1936 (747)

This sea serpent billet head came from the schooner "Diadem" which was built in Essex, Massachusetts, in 1855 and owned by D. Elwell Woodbury and John H. Welsh of Gloucester.

Sea serpents were reportedly sighted here on Cape Ann from colonial times through the mid-nineteenth century. In 1817, more than 50 people, many of them prominent members of the community, reported seeing a serpent in the waters of Gloucester Harbor just off Pavilion Beach. So credible were the reports that the Linnaean Society of New England collected depositions from witnesses and published their findings in a small pamphlet entitled Report of a Committee of the Linnaean Society of New England relative to a Large Marine Animal Supposed to be A Serpent, seen Near Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in August 1817.

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 20 The Pavilion
John S. E. Rogers, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereo view of the Pavilion from the southern or sea side.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »   //  Pavilion Hotel »

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: Unique Series No. 19 Pavilion and Beach, from Old Fort
Procter Brothers, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »   //  Pavilion Hotel »

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
c.1870
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Taken from Fort Point looking west. Ropewalk just to west of hotel.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »   //  Pavilion Hotel »   //  Ropewalk »

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
From Gloucester Picturesque, published by Charles D. Brown
c.1900.

Also filed under: Pavilion Hotel »

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Schooners in Lane’s time were, with few exceptions, two-masted vessels carrying a fore-and-aft rig having one or two jibs, a fore staysail, gaff-rigged fore- and main sails, and often fore- and main topsails. One variant was the topsail schooner, which set a square topsail on the fore topmast. The hulls of both types were basically similar, their rigs having been chosen for sailing close to the wind. This was an advantage in the coastal trade, where entering confined ports required sailing into the wind and frequent tacking. The square topsail proved useful on longer coastwise voyages, the topsail providing a steadier motion in offshore swells, reducing wear and tear on canvas from the slatting of the fore-and-aft sails. (1)

Schooners of the types portrayed by Lane varied in size from 70 to 100 feet on deck. Their weight was never determined, and the term “tonnage” was a figure derived from a formula which assigned an approximation of hull volume for purposes of imposing duties (port taxes) oncargoes and other official levies. (2)

Crews of smaller schooners numbered three or four men. Larger schooners might carry four to six if a lengthy voyage was planned. The relative simplicity of the rig made sail handling much easier than on a square-rigged vessel. Schooner captains often owned shares in their vessels, but most schooners were majority-owned by land-based firms or by individuals who had the time and business connections to manage the tasks of acquiring and distributing the goods to be carried. (3)

Many schooners were informally “classified” by the nature of their work or the cargoes they carried, the terminology coined by their owners, agents, and crews—even sometimes by casual bystanders. In Lane’s lifetime, the following terms were commonly used for the schooner types he portrayed:

Fishing Schooners: While the port of Gloucester is synonymous with fishing and the schooner rig, Lane depicted only a few examples of fishing schooners in a Gloucester setting. Lane’s early years coincided with the preeminence of Gloucester’s foreign trade, which dominated the harbor while fishing was carried on from other Cape Ann communities under far less prosperous conditions than later. Only by the early 1850s was there a re-ascendency of the fishing industry in Gloucester Harbor, documented in a few of Lane’s paintings and lithographs. Depictions of fishing schooners at sea and at work are likewise few. Only A Smart Blow, c.1856 (inv. 9), showing cod fishing on Georges Bank (4), and At the Fishing Grounds, 1851 (inv. 276), showing mackerel jigging on Georges Bank, are known examples. (5)

– Erik Ronnberg 

References:

1. Howard I. Chapelle, The History of American Sailing Ships (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1935), 258. While three-masted schooners were in use in Lane’s time, none have appeared in his surviving work; and Charles S. Morgan, “New England Coasting Schooners”, The American Neptune 23, no. 1 (DATE): 5–9, from an article which deals mostly with later and larger schooner types.

2. John Lyman, “Register Tonnage and its Measurement”, The American Neptune V, nos. 3–4 (DATE). American tonnage laws in force in Lane’s lifetime are discussed in no. 3, pp. 226–27 and no. 4, p. 322.

3. Ship Registers of the District of Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1789–1875 (Salem, MA: The Essex Institute, 1944). Vessels whose shipping or fishing voyages included visits to foreign ports were required to register with the Federal Customs agent at their home port. While the vessel’s trade or work was unrecorded, their owners and master were listed, in addition to registry dimensions and place where built. Records kept by the National Archives can be consulted for information on specific voyages and ports visited.

4. Howard I. Chapelle, The National Watercraft Collection (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1960), 74–76.

5. Howard I. Chapelle, The American Fishing Schooners (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1973), 58–75, 76–101.

artwork
Gloucester Harbor
Fitz Henry Lane
Gloucester Harbor
1852
Oil on canvas
28 x 48 1/2 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Deposited by the City of Gloucester, 1952. Given to the city by Mrs. Julian James in memory of her grandfather Sidney Mason, 1913 (DEP. 200)

Detail of fishing schooner.

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 321 " Marine Study"
Heywood
c.1865
Stereograph card
Frank Rowell, Publisher
stereo image, "x " on card, "x"
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

View showing a sharpshooter fishing schooner, circa 1850. Note the stern davits for a yawl boat, which is being towed astern in this view.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

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model
Model of fishing schooner "Amy Knight"
Model and photography by Erik A.R. Ronnberg, Jr.
Wood, metal hardware, cordage, paint
Model made for marine artist Thomas M. Hoyne
scale: 3/8" = 1'
Thomas M. Hoyne Collection, Mystic Seaport, Conn.

While this model was built to represent a typical Marblehead fishing schooner of the early nineteenth century, it has the basic characteristics of other banks fishing schooners of that region and period: a sharper bow below the waterline and a generally more sea-kindly hull form, a high quarter deck, and a yawl-boat on stern davits.

The simple schooner rig could be fitted with a fore topmast and square topsail for making winter trading voyages to the West Indies. The yawl boat was often put ashore and a "moses boat" shipped on the stern davits for bringing barrels of rum and molasses from a beach to the schooner.

– Erik Ronnberg

References:

Jeffrey Bolster, Black Jacks: African American Seafarers in the Age of Sail (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997).

Howard I. Chapelle, American Small Sailing Craft (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1951), 29–31.

Image: Erik Ronnberg

Also filed under: Hand-lining »   //  Ship Models »

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illustration
Fishing Schooner sail plan, with overdrawing
Draftsman unknown; overdrawing attributed to Fitz Henry Lane
Pencil on paper in sail plan book titled William F. Davis, Gloucester 1845
20 x 14 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive, Gloucester, Mass.

The image, as originally drafted, showed only spars and sail outlines with dimensions, and an approximate deck line. The hull is a complete overdrawing, in fine pencil lines with varied shading, all agreeing closely with Lane's drawing style and depiction of water. Fishing schooners very similar to this one can be seen in his painting /entry:240/.

– Erik Ronnberg

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publication
1842 Gloucester Telegraph 8.3.1842
8.3.1842
Newspaper
"Shipping Intelligence: Port of Gloucester"

"Fishermen . . . The T. [Tasso] was considerably injured by coming in contact with brig Deposite, at Salem . . ."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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publication
1857 Cape Ann Advertiser 10.1.1857
Procter Brothers
Various dates
Newsprint
From bound volume owned by publisher Francis Procter
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"A Prize Race—We have heard it intimated that some of our fishermen intend trying the merits of their "crack" schooners this fall, after the fishing season is done. Why not! . . .Such a fleet under full press of sail, would be worth going many a mile to witness; then for the witchery of Lane's matchless pencil to fix the scene upon canvass. . ."

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
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PDF
view ]
publication
1865 Cape Ann Advertiser 7.7.1865
Article about new masthead, designed by Lane.
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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 114 Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck
John S. E. Rogers
c.1870
Stereograph card
Procter Brothers, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, Looking Southwest. This gives a portion of the Harbor lying between Ten Pound Island and Eastern Point. At the time of taking this picture the wind was from the northeast, and a large fleet of fishing and other vessels were in the harbor. In the range of the picture about one hundred vessels were at anchor. In the small Cove in the foreground quite a number of dories are moored. Eastern Point appears on the left in the background."

Southeast Harbor was known for being a safe harbor.

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 82 View of Sch. "E. A. Horton"
Procter Brothers, Publisher
1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Said schooner was captured about the first of September, 1871, by Capt. Torry, of the Dominion Cutter 'Sweepstakes,' for alleged violation of the Fishery Treaty. She was gallantly recaptured from the harbor of Guysboro, N.S., by Capt. Harvey Knowlton., Jr., (one of her owners,) assisted by six brave seamen, on Sunday night, Oct. 8th. The Dominion Government never asked for her return, and the United States Government very readily granted her a new set of papers."

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photo (historical)
Head of the Harbor, Gloucester
William A. Elwell
1876
Photograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
Image: Cape Ann Museum
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photo (historical)
Inner Harbor, Gloucester
c.1870
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive (2013.068)

Schooner fleet anchored in the inner harbor. Looking east from Rocky Neck, Duncan's Point wharves and Lane house (at far left), Sawyer School cupola on Friend Street.

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illustration
Precursor to Gaff Rig of Schooners
Fitz H. Lane
In John J. Babson, History of the Town Gloucester (Gloucester, MA: Procter Brothers, 1860)

See p. 254.

As Erik Ronnberg has noted, Lane's engraving follows closely the French publication, Jal's "Glossaire Nautique" of 1848.

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model
Shadow box model of Burnham Marine Railway
Erik Ronnberg
1997
Wood, cordage, acrylic paste, metal
~40 in. x 30 in.
Erik Ronnberg

Model shows mast of fishing vessel being unstepped.

Image: Erik Ronnberg
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artwork
Silhouettes of vessel types
Charles G. Davis
Book illustrations from "Shipping and Craft in Silhouette" by Charles G. Davis, Salem, Mass. Marine Research Society, 1929. Selected images
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artwork
Untitled (Ships Anchored in Gloucester Harbor)
D. Jerome Elwell
1892
Watercolor on paper
8 3/4 x 19 3/4 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Rev. and Mrs. A. A. Madsen, 1950
Accession # 1468

Fishing schooners in Gloucester's outer harbor, probably riding out bad weather.

Image: Cape Ann Museum
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photo (historical)
View from Belmont House, of a fishing wharf, with the Old Fort of 1812 opposite
William A. Elwell
1876
Photograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Ignatius Weber's windmill (now defunct) is shown.

Image: Cape Ann Museum
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photo (historical)
Vincent's Cove
William Augustus Elwell
1876
Print from bound volume of Gloucester scenes sent to the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition.
11 x 14 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives

Schooner "Grace L. Fears" at David A. Story Yard in Vincent's Cove.

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The ensign of the United States refers to the flag of the United States when used as a maritime flag to indentify nationality. As required on entering port, a vessel would fly her own ensign at the stern, but a conventional  token of respect to the host country would be to fly the flag of the host country (the United States in Boston Harbor, for example) at the foremast. See The "Britannia" Entering Boston Harbor, 1848 (inv. 49) for an example of a ship doing this. The American ensign often had the stars in the canton arranged in a circle with one large star in the center; an alternative on merchant ensigns was star-shaped constellation. In times of distress a ship would fly the ensign upside down, as can be seen in Wreck of the Roma, 1846 (inv. 250).

 The use of flags on vessels is different from the use of flags on land. The importance and history of the flagpole in Fresh Water Cove in Gloucester is still being studied.

The modern meaning of the flag was forged in December 1860, when Major Robert Anderson moved the U.S. garrison from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Adam Goodheart argues this was the opening move of the American Civil War, and the flag was used throughout northern states to symbolize American nationalism and rejection of secessionism.

Before that day, the flag had served mostly as a military ensign or a convenient marking of American territory, flown from forts, embassies, and ships, and displayed on special occasions like American Independence day. But in the weeks after Major Anderson's surprising stand, it became something different. Suddenly the Stars and Stripes flew—as it does today, and especially as it did after the September 11 attacks in 2001—from houses, from storefronts, from churches; above the village greens and college quads. For the first time American flags were mass-produced rather than individually stitched and even so, manufacturers could not keep up with demand. As the long winter of 1861 turned into spring, that old flag meant something new. The abstraction of the Union cause was transfigured into a physical thing: strips of cloth that millions of people would fight for, and many thousands die for.

– Adam Goodheart, Prologue of 1861: The Civil War Awakening (2011).

 
photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 52 Fresh Water Cove
John S. E. Rogers, Publisher
1860s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

A view of a Cove on the western side of Gloucester Harbor, with the landing at Brookbank. Houses are seen in the woods back. A boat with two men is in the foreground.

Also filed under: Brookbank »   //  Fresh Water Cove »   //  Historic Photographs »

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publication
Oak Hall Pictorial: This is Oak Hall, in North Street Boston
Friend to American Enterprise
Unpaginated booklet
Courtesy American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. (CL.F9116.011.1854 CL.F9116.011.1854)

Also filed under: Oak Hall »

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artwork
Oak Hall Pictorial: This is the flag that waves on high
Friend to American Enterprise
Unpaginated booklet
Courtesy American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. (CL.F9116.011.1854)

Also filed under: Oak Hall »

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Marks & Labels

Marks: Inscribed upper left (in red ink): 89 [numbering system used by curator A. M. Brooks upon Samuel H. Mansfield's donation of the drawings to the Cape Ann Museum]

Exhibition History

No known exhibitions.

Published References

Cape Ann 1974: Paintings and Drawings by Fitz Hugh Lane, fig. 8.
Ronnberg 2004: "Views of Fort Point: Fitz Hugh Lane's Images of a Gloucester Landmark," fig. 11. ⇒ includes text

Related historical materials

Gloucester Buildings & Businesses
Cape Ann Locales
Vessel Types
Flags, Lighthouses, & Navigation Aids
Citation: "Gloucester Beach from the Cut, 1850s (inv. 103)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=103 (accessed September 19, 2018).
Record last updated October 12, 2016. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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