Old Mill Pond, Rockport, Mass., c. 1912

Old Mill Pond, Rockport, Mass.

This image of Mill Pond looks from the pond’s east side across to the west side and to houses on King Street. The dam is to the right. All of the houses you see here are still standing. The house in the background with the cupola on the roof is today the Linden Tree Inn.

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The same scene today. The mansard roof house now has a deck and a small white cottage now obscures the view of the house next to it.

Mill Pond was built in 1702 by John Pool, the second settler of Sandy Bay. In 1701, he acquired the rights to build a grist mill here. To power the mill, he constructed a dam across the stream, which was then called Davison’s Run and is now called Mill Brook. Most accounts say he also built a saw mill there, from which he supplied lumber used to build Long Wharf in Boston in 1710. Continue reading

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Gott House, Pigeon Cove, Mass., c. 1905

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An 1873 view of the house, before the dormers were added.

An 1873 view of the house, before the dormers were added.

Samuel Gott, a weaver, was the first resident of the area of Pigeon Cove known today as Halibut Point. The postcard identifies his house as having been built in 1701, but most sources put it at a year later, 1702. A Massachusetts Historical Commission report says it could have been anytime between 1702 and 1730.

Whatever the exact date, there is no dispute that it was one of the earliest houses in Pigeon Cove and Sandy Bay. It still stands today and, although it directly borders Halibut Point State Park, it remains privately owned. Continue reading

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Then and Now: The Columbia and The Adventure

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The original Columbia off Gloucester in 1926.

The Adventure racing off Gloucester in 1926.

The Adventure racing off Gloucester in 1926.

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The new Columbia off Gloucester today.

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The Adventure leaving Gloucester harbor today.

The Columbia and The Adventure.

The Columbia and The Adventure preparing to race today off Gloucester.

In 1926, The Columbia and The Adventure competed in the Gloucester schooner race. Today, they competed again. It was an historic match-up in that both boats were more or less resurrected this year. Continue reading

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Best Wishes from Rockport Postmaster ‘Uncle Bill’, 1909

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Here is a highly unusual postcard that was both printed for and sent by William E. Parsons, long known around Rockport as “Uncle Bill” or “Uncle Billy.” Parsons was postmaster of Rockport between 1898 and 1914 and also gained acclaim as half the theatrical team of Parsons & Pool, who traveled widely in the late 1800s putting on performances of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Continue reading

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The Road to Bearskin Neck, Rockport, Mass., c. 1934

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In this view looking down Bearskin Neck, we can see three reminders of Rockport’s bygone days. The first can be found on the building that is slightly to the left of the picture’s center. Today, this building houses The Pewter Shop. According to the shop’s website, it was founded in 1935. I estimate this photo to be from about 1934, so the shop may have opened within a year or so of this photo. Continue reading

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Two Views Of Artists On The Headlands, c. 1930 and 1945

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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). Continue reading

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Thatchers Twin Lights, From Turks Head Inn, c. 1910

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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. Continue reading

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