, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

July 12, 2013

Rockport set to host Navy weekend

ROCKPORT — The Navy is once again landing in Rockport.

Celebrating a history between Rockport residents and that branch of the service, the annual Rockport Naval weekend starts today and there is plenty to do.

The modern festivities began in 2007, but the relationship between the navy and Rockport began much earlier.

Rockport was on the list of places visited by The Great White Fleet in the early 1900s, when the fleet was circumnavigating the globe at the time, said retired Rockport Police officer Roger Lesch, who is among the Navy weekend coordinators. Then, more ships visited again after World War II, with residents getting the chance to tour the ships that visited Rockport’s harbor — and Lesch was one of them.

Lesch, who later joined the Navy in the 1960s, said he fondly remembered details of the armed forces visit, they had given out sugar cookies.

“You remember things like that,” he said.

Lesch now co-chairs the Rockport Navy Committee along with Sharon Grandmaison, and is looking forward to this years festivities.

Due to security, deployment and other issues, larger ships have not visited Rockport in recent years, but Lesch said he still remembers when they came to town.

“You get that smell of what a Navy ship smells like,” he said, Lesch had been deployed on an Navy oiler. “Even Boston has a hard time getting ships.”

One of the events that is planned over weekend, however, is the annual kickball game with Rockport children and midshipmen on Evans Field. Even the field itself has historical significance tied to the navy.

In 1928, Visery Evans bequeathed the field to the town in her will. Part of the will states “It is my desire the town permit the soldiers and sailors of the United States to have the use of this field without charge, whenever the ships of the United States Navy are in our harbor,” according to a document from the Sandy Bay Historical Society.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing