As evidence that some things never change, here are two postcards, roughly 15 years apart, showing artists painting Rockport’s picturesque harbor from above it on The Headlands. One is just as likely to encounter the same scene today (in warmer weather, that is).
The top postcard bears the caption, “Rockport, Massachusetts, One of the Art Towns of America.” It was published by the Rockport Photo Bureau. There is no date, but markings on the reverse and the people who are pictured lead me to estimate that the picture was taken around 1930.
The bottom postcard is by Virginia Cleaves Little, who was the daughter of Charles Cleaves, the founder of the Rockport Photo Bureau. This image is marked with a 1945 copyright, so we know its date for certain.
The name of The Headlands is attributed to explorer John Smith, who was commissioned by King James I of England in 1614 to chart the coast of Maine and Massachusetts. He gave it the name “Ye Faire Headlands.”
In 1772, Caleb Norwood bought the land and it was often thereafter referred to as Norwood’s Head.
This undated postcard shows a view of the Twin Lights of Thacher Island as seen from the Turk’s Head Inn, which formerly stood at the location of the present-day Cape Hedge Inn. The inn was originally constructed in 1888 or 1889 and operated until 1963. Fires in 1968 and 1969 severely damaged the old hotel and a 1970 fire destroyed what remained.
Compare the view above to this circa 1918 postcard, also showing the Twin Lights as seen from Turk’s Head Inn.
My dating of this card as circa 1910 is largely a guess. You can see the tall brick chimney of the whistle house on Thacher Island, which was build in 1900, according to Paul St. Germain’s book, Twin Lights of Thacher Island, Cape Ann, so we know the image is from after 1900. Closer to the center of the photo, there appears to be little or no development along what would be a portion of Eden Road, even though cottages began to appear there by at least 1906, if not earlier. That would suggest the photo is from roughly that period.
The back of the card provides no further clues as to its date and does not identify a publisher.
I found this image on the Web. Like another I have showing Rockport harbor in winter, it was taken by photographer Arthur Griffin. The date of the photo is identified only as sometime between 1935 and 1955. Continue reading
This cottage sits at the corner of Ocean Ave. and Haven Ave. in Pigeon Cove. The caption indicates it was built in 1896. As you can see from the photo below, it is still there, now with its front porch screened in and different landscaping. Continue reading
Dave Matthews is a marketing, mergers and acquisitions consultant in Stowe, Vt., who has seen five generations of his family spend a portion of their summers on Long Beach, which straddles the Rockport/Gloucester line. Dave generously sent along these photos to share with readers of Vintage Rockport. Continue reading
Here’s one I found on the Web, showing an ice-covered Rockport harbor. In the background, you can see the old bowling alley near the foot of Bearskin Neck. The photograph was taken by photographer Arthur Griffin sometime between 1935 and 1955.
In 1918, George W. Perkins — described in news reports as a “prominent fish magnate” — constructed this freezer and cold storage building on T-Wharf in Rockport. Perkins had scouted locations along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts before settling on Rockport to build his freezing facility. He believed that freezing fresh fish would be a vital new industry for the town. Continue reading