Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gloucester Part 1: A Fisherman's Mecca

There are fishing towns and then there's Gloucester.  The town's proximity to the Georges Bank and other banks off the coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland helped the fishing industry thrive in Gloucester, and soon became the center for Gorton's of Gloucester, a name you can find in your neighborhood grocery store in the frozen food aisle.  Today, it's also the center for fish research.  The town also prominently displays the dangers of seafaring and fishing.  In its 350-year history, Gloucester has lost over 10,000 men to the Atlantic Ocean.  Gloucester makes a prominent appearance on the list, needing to be broken up in different parts.

One cannot visit Gloucester without seeing the famous Fisherman's Memorial.  The memorial can be spotted by the 8 foot tall statue of the "Man at the Wheel", built in 1925.  The statue was modeled after Captain Clayon Morrissey, a prominent Gloucester fisherman and the Captain of the Effie M. Morrissey.  The inscription reads "They That Go Down To The Sea In Ships 1623-1923", taken from the Bible's Psalm 107:23.  It stands looking out over the ocean, facing the Fisherman's Memorial that bears the names and years of the fisherman lost at sea. 



There are other plaques all around the railing that lists the names of those lost at sea

One of the more scenic sites on The List in Gloucester is Hammond Castle.  The castle was built between 1926 and 1929 by John Hays Hammond, Jr. who was an inventor and pioneer in remote control holding over 400 patents.  The building is also a collection of 15th, 16th and 18th century architectural elements.  It also puts on artifacts and exhibits about his own life and work.  The real treasure of the castle lies in its scenic seaside view over the Atlantic.  This site has become a popular setting for weddings and various other functions. 



The view from the castle lawn

Stage Fort Park is the historic site of the first settlers of Gloucester in 1623.  There is a huge rock with a plaque dedicated to the settlers, although it is very hard to read because apparently the designers didnt care too much for appropriate reading angles.  To get a great view of the ocean, you can climb up on top of the rock.  Great place to go for a picnic, sit by the water or play a nice game of softball.



Notice the angle of the sign which makes it hard to read

Gloucester City Hall is the creme de la creme of city halls.  Its exactly how a city hall should look like.  The building was built in 1869-1871 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.  Its quite the imposing structure when looking at it.  The bell tower is being renovated and it is in need of a paint job but it doesn't take away anything from it. 

If Gloucester had a crown jewel it would be its Downtown area.  I've always pictured small towns as if they were out of a movie, busy center of town with a variety of stores and restaurants.  Anything you could ever need in life can be found in the center of town.  But Downtown Gloucester isn't just a center of town where you can get anything you need, it has character.  With Main Street running through it, one could walk up and down on a nice sunny day, window shopping or popping in and out of stores all day.  My favorite part of the stores was how generic some are.  You can walk by a worldwide coffee chain restaurant and on the corner  you see a shoe store that simply says "SHOES!"  What more do you need to know?  For my first visit to Gloucester, the downtown area was very nice and felt tucked away.



Harold made friends


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