Main Street, Rockport, Mass., circa 1907


This view shows Main Street in Rockport around 1907. The card was postmarked in Gloucester on July 23, 1907. It is a divided-back postcard, a type of postcard that was first produced in 1907.

MainStreetViewTodayTo the right is a screen capture from Google Streetview showing the same scene today. The larger building to the left, originally built in the 1860s as the Haskins Building, appears to be the same today. In fact, however, it has been replaced by the all-new Shalin Liu Performance Center, completed in 2010 and designed to resemble the former building as closely as possible.

The building in the foreground to the left, which now houses Butler’s Haberdashery, was then the location of Smith’s Hardware, I believe. The building across the street, to the right of the picture, housed the Post Office and the Granite Shore Hotel. Note the trolley tracks running along the road.

For other views of Main St., see the posts here.

This postcard was printed by The Robbins Bros. Co, Boston, and distributed through the Metropolitan News Company, a larger Boston postcard publisher. Robbins was in business from 1907 to 1912.

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Two Views of the Hospital, Rockport, Mass., both c. 1907



Here are two views of the former Leander M. Haskins Hospital, which stood at the top of Summit Ave., on what is now known as Hospital Hill. As I’ve previously noted in posts here and here, Haskins was a prominent Rockport businessman and civic leader and this was his home. When he died in 1905, his will left the house to the town to be used as a hospital and park. The hospital opened in 1906 and operated until 1918.

The top postcard was published by The Robbins Bros. Company of Boston, which also published a postcard showing the view of Rockport from Hospital Hill. The company was in business from 1907 to 1912.

The botton postcard was published by Charles H. Andrews of Pigeon Cove. I have one other postcard published by him, showing fishing boats in Pigeon Cove. It is fitting that Andrews published postcards, because from at least 1901 to 1917 (and maybe longer) he was the postmaster in Pigeon Cove.

It appears he also carried on various other activities. Various sources list him as also being an insurance agent in the early 1900s and a sales agent for the Lanesville Granite Company.

On January 24, 1903, the Pigeon Cove Hotel, originally built in 1871, was destroyed by fire, and the fire also destroyed Andrews’ residence, which was adjacent to it. At that time, the hotel was so well known that the story was reported in newspapers throughout the United States, including The New York Times.

According to these reports, Mabel Woolford, who had just purchased the hotel on Dec. 23, 1902, threw a masquerade ball for residents of Pigeon Cove. It is believed that flames from an open fire at the ball spread and caused the fire.

Andrews graduated from Rockport High School in 1882. In 1886, he was a charter member of a fraternal society known as Wonasquam Tribe, No. 23, Improved Order of Red Men. In 1887, he was secretary of the Pigeon Cove chapter of the Agassiz Association, an international association devoted to the study of nature and science.

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The Witch House, Pigeon Cove, Mass., c. 1915


This is a real-photo postcard of the house that still stands at 188 Granite Street in Pigeon Cove. The house — which is listed on The National Register of Historic Places — is often called the Witch House thanks to a popular story that it was built in 1692 by two brothers from Salem to protect their mother, who suspected of being a witch.

The house is also called the Garrison House and some believe it to be the earliest surviving building in Rockport. According to this story, the original part of the structure was built in 1676 as a defense garrison during King Philip’s War.

We know for certain that, starting in 1704, Joshua Norwood and his family lived here for some 30 years, until they moved to Gap Cove near Straitsmouth Point. In the mid-1800s, the house was run as a boarding house by John Wheeler. A prominent guest who often stayed there was Richard Henry Dana, the poet and lawyer and father of Richard Henry Data, the antislavery activist and author of Two Years Before the Mast.

For two years beginning in 1870, the house was occupied by Dr. Augustus M. Tupper, a popular physician in Rockport for 50 years. In 1925, the house was purchased by Oliver Williams and remains owned by the Williams family.

For more about the history of the house, see my prior posts here, here and here.

The postcard was postmarked in Rockport on Aug. 30, 1915. The sender’s note on the reverse says, “Rockport exceeds my dreams — it is wonderful.”


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Engine House No. 1, Rockport, Mass., c. 1912


This engine house on Front Beach in Rockport was home to the Sandy Bay fire company until 1939, when a new combined fire and police station was built on Broadway. The core of this building was originally constructed as a fire house in Dock Square in 1830 and then moved to Beach St. in 1855. The tower was for drying the cotton hoses they then used.

(Another source I found said that the building was constructed in 1827 in Dock Square and moved in 1829.)

Sandy Bay fire company2

Undated photo showing the steamer and firefighters Michael Slevin, William K. Evans, Frank Fears and Andrew Robb. (Probably c. 1900, when Robb was the captain of the Steamer No. 1 company.)

After it went out of service as a firehouse in 1939, it was used for many years as a facility for tourists. It was demolished less than a decade ago and replaced with new tourist restrooms.

The first fire department in Sandy Bay was organized in January 1807. The first fire engine was purchased in 1827. The second fire engine was purchased by Gloucester and located in the building pictured here. Around 1885, the town bought the steamer “Sandy Bay” and this building became its home.

This postcard was postmarked on July 30, 1912. There is no information about its publisher.

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The Bowling Alley on Bearskin Neck, c. 1938

Rockport Harbor Scene

A recent posting here show a view across T-Wharf towards Bearskin Neck and the building that once was adjacent to (or part of) Waddell’s boat yard. Someone posted a comment asking if it was true that the building once housed a bowling alley.

It is true, and in the photo above you can see the word “Bowling” painted along the side of the building, which stands near the foot of Bearskin Neck. This photo is from the Boston Public Library collection and is estimated to be from around 1938.

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The James Babson Shop, Built in 1658


The earliest grant of land in what is now Rockport was to James Babson in 1658. It consisted of 32 acres in the area long known as Beaver Dam. After Babson acquired it, the property became known as the James Babson Farm. Here, Babson built this cooperage shop, where he built barrels that were used to ship fish from Good Harbor Beach to England and the West Indies. The building still stands and is maintained as a museum by the Babson Historical Society.

Babson was born in England in 1622 and came to Salem in 1637 with his mother and brother. By 1642, he had moved to Gloucester. He died in 1683 at the age of 61. He was a forbear of Roger W. Babson, the founder of Babson College and the man responsible for the Babson Boulders in Dogtown. James Babson’s son, Ebenezer, was the man who supposedly killed a bear on what is now known — thanks to him — as Bearskin Neck.

Nugent FarmhouseIn the mid 1800s, the property was occupied by the Manning family, who built the house you see in the picture to the right. According to a Manning family genealogy, William N. Manning was born here at Beaver Dam Farm in 1834. I’ve written before about Manning, who at one point owned an organ factory located in Millbrook Meadow. He also wrote the song, “Our Cape Ann Home.”

In the late 1800s, the property was owned by Patrick Nugent — the namesake of Nugent Stretch, the name for the stretch of road where the property sits. I believe that is Nugent and is family in the photo above. At the time of his death in 1900 at age 51, Nugent had been restoring the property “to its old time appearance,” according to a report in the Gloucester Times.

At some point, Nugent operated a fertilizer plant on the property. I found one news report saying that, after he died, an East Boston fertilizer company planned to move its operations to the Beaver Dam site, although I cannot confirm that ever happened.

In 1913, one of Nugent’s sons, John, died a tragic death when a frightened horse caused him to be thrown from a wagon. Just three months later, another of Nugent’s sons, Robert, died on the Beaver Dam property when he was thrown from a motorcycle.

In 1925, the then-vacant house was set on fire by two boys looking for some excitement. Fire fighters were able to save it without much loss, according to a news report.

This postcard was published by Artvue Post Card Co., New York. There is no date on the card, but Artvue started publishing in 1936 and continued through the mid-1960s.

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Two Views of 11 Long Branch Ave., 1909 and 1913



Here are two real-photo postcards, both showing the cottage that still stands at 11 Long Branch Avenue in Pigeon Cove. The second card identifies the cottage by the name Sans Souci. According to an online realty site, the house was originally built in 1875.

1918 magazine ad for the cottage

The first card was postmarked in Pigeon Cove on Sept. 1, 1909. The sender of the card was a summer visitor to Rockport who was staying in a room on the top floor. On the front porch are two women, a boy and a dog.

The second card is postmarked Aug. 2, 1913. Note that the second-floor balcony has been extended to wrap around the side of the house. In this picture, a man and a woman are seated at the top of the entry stairs. A car is parked beside the house.

I found a reference to this cottage in the 1919 edition of Who’s Who Along the North Shore, indicating the cottage was occupied that summer by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Shorey of Los Angeles and their daughter-in-law Emily J. Shorey.

2014-02-17 11.09.40

At right is a picture of the house at it looks today. As you can see, it has been added on to. However, certain features remain distinctive, such as the three-framed window at the top of the house’s front, the slight bow below it, just above the second-floor windows, the dormer jutting out from the roof, and the chimney above it.

In the undated picture below, which is from the Andrews Woods website, you can see the house on the right side of picture, to the left of the barn-like building closest to the water.

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