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Done Fudging

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (4) »

Done Fudging (or "Done Fudgin'" or "Dunfudgin'") refers to an area along the Annisquam River, just west of the old Meetinghouse Green. It is now the heavily trafficked site of Grant’s Circle, the first rotary in Gloucester after crossing the Route 128 bridge. It was an area central to transportation in Lane’s time, as it is now. Washington Street came to it from the harbor, traversed the Green, and headed north to Riverdale and Annisquam. The train tracks from Boston crossed the Annisquam River at this point after running along the side of the river, initially on a trestle and later on an earth embankment still in use today. There was a town landing for boats that landed all manner of goods and people moving up and down from Annisquam and Ipswich Bay or crossing onto Cape Ann from West Gloucester.

The name refers to the poling of river craft often necessary in the narrow river because of unfavorable wind or tidal flow. It’s a muddy bottom all along the Annisquam River, and poling a boat was called "fudgin'." There is a strong tidal current coming from both directions, from the south and Gloucester Harbor through the Cut and down the river from Ipswich Bay to the north. The tidal flows meet at Done Fudging. If you were “fudgin'” south against the tide draining into Ipswich Bay, when you reached the area of Done Fudging, the draining tide would change direction and carry you effortlessly out to Gloucester Harbor. Or vice versa, either way when you reached that point you were “done fudgin'." The river also broadens out at this point so at a full tide with a decent wind, sails could be raised and the fudgin’ poles put away, at least for a while.

Lane drew and painted a number of pictures from this spot. It must have been relatively easy for him to get there by carriage from the harbor. One of his early residences, Whittemore House on Washington Street, was only a half mile or so away. In contrast to the constant bustle of the harbor, Done Fudging was a peaceful and verdant place. The small farms with their trees and meadows stretched along both sides of Washington Street, while the salt marsh running along the Annisquam River went from emerald green in summer to gold in fall and brown in winter.

Lane did several views looking west upriver from Done Fudging, such as Looking up Squam River from Done Fudging, 1850s (inv. 26). The two most intriguing are nearly identical and include apparent self portraits of the artist (one with crutches, one without) sitting on a rock and drawing the river scene in the company of several large cows (see New England Inlet with Self-Portrait, 1848 (inv. 77)).

Today, the public landing at Done Fudging is one of the City of Gloucester’s most popular and heavily used public landings. It is located adjacent to Gloucester High School and has a small boat launching ramp which is accessed by a paved road.

Related tables: Town / Public Landings »

1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 4.18.1862
Procter Brothers
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Advertiser
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"LANE'S PAINTINGS were distributed on Saturday last among the subscribers, as follows: Harbor Scene, – Thaddeus Friend. View of Bear Island, – George Marsh. Good Harbor Beach, – Mrs. J. H. Stacy. Fancy Sketch, – Capt. Charles Fitz. Scene at Town Parish, – J. H. Johnson, Salem. Beach Scene, – Pattillo & Center. View near Done Fudging, – Ripley Ropes, Salem."

photo (current)
Contemporary photograph of site corresponding to Lane's painting
Martha Oaks
June 16 2016
Digital photograph
Martha Oaks
Citation: "Cape Ann Locales." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum.§ion=Done+Fudging (accessed July 24, 2024).
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