Chapin’s Gully, Pigeon Cove, Cape Ann, Mass., circa 1910

Chapin’s Gully was named for Edwin Hubbell Chapin, an internationally prominent 19th Century preacher, author and editor of the influential newspaper, the Christian Leader. Chapin spent some 30 summers in Pigeon Cove. He died at his cottage there in 1880, a few days before his 66th birthday.

Chapin's cottage circa 1880.

Chapin’s cottage was just south of the gully, at 57 Phillips Ave., almost exactly at the intersection of Phillips Ave. and Point De Chene Ave. From there, he loved to swim in the gully. A biography, Life of Edwin H. Chapin, published in 1883, described it this way:

Outside of the Cove, stretching along the rugged bluffs which rise from the sea to the west, is a rambling street of spacious summer homes, and among these stands the picturesque cottage built by Dr. Chapin, and occupied, for a decade of summers at least, by the Chapin family. It is located on a site which was a great favorite with its builder, commanding an unobstructed sea view, and having a gradually sloping ledge, six or eight rods deep, from its waterside to the ocean, serving as a pleasant promenade. A few rods to the west is “Chapin’s Gully, a great notch cut into the shore of solid granite where it is highest and boldest.” The notch may be forty or more feet wide, and at its entrance from the land side is a broad rock, “at low tide half in the water,” known as Chapin’s Rock. This rocky enclosure seems made for a private bath, and here for nearly thirty summers was Dr. Chapin accustomed to go, with a chosen friend or two, to take his sport with the salt sea-water.

An 1876 issue of The Nation includes a classified advertisement for the Pigeon Cove and Ocean View hotels. The ad features this quote from Rev. Chapin:

I have spent my vacations for nearly thirty years at Pigeon Cove. I consider it one of the most healthy and delightful places for a summer residence on the New England Coast. There are ample facilities for bathing, boating, sailing, and fishing. The drives in the vicinity are very pleasant, and the ocean view is one of the grandest I have ever seen.

This postcard was published by E.C. McIntire of Gloucester and printed in Germany. Although it is undated, its reverse side is similar to other McIntire postcards I have from around 1910.

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