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Historical Materials

Historical Materials  »  Gloucester Buildings & Businesses  »  Pavilion Hotel

Pavilion Hotel

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (7) »

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)

Related tables: Mason, Sidney »  //  Pavilion (Publick) Beach »  //  Ropewalk »  //  Tourist Industry »  //  Windmill »

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. 

photo (historical)
Pavilion Hotel, view with guests on beach
Proctor Brothers
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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." 

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.

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 »

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."

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."

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 . . ."

Also filed under: Newspaper / Journal Articles »   //  Residences »

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.

illustration
Architectural plans for Pavilion Hotel, 1st and 2nd floor plans
1840s
Architectural drawing
Cape Ann Museum Library & Museum, Gloucester, Mass.
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.

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 »

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."

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."

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
map
Locator map showing Pavilion Hotel
H.F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 inches
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach
James Cremer, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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.

photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
From Gloucester Picturesque, published by Charles D. Brown
c.1900.
Pavilion Hotel, woodcut, view from west
n.d.
Photograph of engraving (copy)
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
Surfside Hotel, formerly Pavilion
photographer unknown
August 1909
12 x 14 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
Citation: "Historical Materials." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/historical_material/index.php?section=Pavilion+Hotel (accessed August 17, 2017).
Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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