This postcard identifies Whale’s Jaw as located in Gloucester, Mass., but several maps I’ve seen place it within Rockport. Whichever, there is no debating that Whale’s Jaw is one of the most prominent landmarks of Dogtown, an area of about five square miles that spans both Gloucester and Rockport. Originally settled around 1642, the area is now uninhabited.
Dogtown is known for large and unique rock formations, or erratics, left behind by melting glaciers thousands of years ago. Whale’s Jaw got its name for its obvious resemblance to the open-mouthed head of a breaching whale.
Unfortunately, in 1989, a campfire left burning under the rock heated it so much that the left portion cracked and broke off. Also different for visitors today is that the area around Whale’s Jaw is now overgrown with trees and brush (although still reachable thanks to well-maintained trails). Years ago, cattle roamed through Dogtown and grazed there, giving the area its close-trimmed look. With the cows no longer there, nature has reclaimed it for her own.
This is a real-photo postcard, meaning it was published directly from a photo negative, not through a commercial printing process. You can see that the image is much sharper than a typical postcard. The graffiti you see in the picture is dated 1909, and the postcard backing is from a manufacturer that started producing in 1907, so I would estimate this image to be from 1910.
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With some GPS checking it looks like Whale’s Jaw is easily within Gloucester’s chunk of Dogtown. The Rockport line is about 800 feet to the east. Most of the fastet ways to get there are from the Rockport side but Gloucester rightfully can claim it.