You may have seen some new granite outcroppings around downtown lately.
Soon, some stories of Gloucester will be placed on these posts. There are 42 in all and one story will be adhered to each. Three residents of Gloucester — Catherine Ryan, David Rhinelander, and Lise Breen — sorted through hundreds of stories and had the difficult task of narrowing down the selection.
These story moments, as we've taken to calling them, are part of the design of the Harborwalk. The Harborwalk is really a path project with a 1.2-mile loop that starts at St. Peter's Square, meanders in and out along the waterfront and Rogers Street, up the hill towards the Fitz Henry Lane House, and down to Maritime Gloucester then back around to the Main Street area finishing at St. Peter's Square.
Today, I would like to share with you a preview of some of the story moments that will be installed in the coming weeks.
No. 2: T.S. Eliot. The great poet T.S. Eliot summered on Eastern Point for some 20 years. He was enamored of the language of mariners and their tales, and he evoked the coast of Cape Ann in his writing. From 1941, in the "Four Quartets," he writes, "the river is within us, the sea is about us; the sea is the land's edge also, the granite into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses."
No. 6: Salting Fish. The Cape Ann Museum has provided some amazing images of our historic working waterfront. In one, workers are seen splitting fresh cod unloaded from the schooner Evelyn M Thompson in 1912. Also seen is the salted fish left on the flakes to dry.
No. 10: Magnolia Mystery. In 1857 John Greenleaf Whittier wrote in "The Garrison of Cape Ann" "long they sat and talked together — of marvelous the valley hidden in the depths of Gloucester woods."
No. 20: Our Lady of Good Voyage. The church, with its brilliant blue domes, was modeled after one in the Azores. Inside, there are more than 25 ship models. The church holds one of the oldest sets of full carillon bells in the country.
No. 23: Dogtown and Babson Boulders. Born on Middle Street, business theorist and investor Roger Babson hired unemployed stonecutters to inscribe more than two-dozen boulders during the Depression. The photo on this story moment depicts the boulder that states, "never try never win."
No. 29: Winslow Homer. Some of the greatest American artists chose images of Gloucester for their work. Winslow Homer's "Breezing Up" oil painting, which is housed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is reproduced on this story moment with the following quote from the artist, "I work hard every afternoon from 4:30 to 4:40 that being the limit of the light I represent."
No. 35: Feast of St. Joseph. The recipe for St. Joseph Pasta represents the rich cultural tradition of this feast. Novenas for St. Joseph begin nine days before feast day and Gloucester's Sicilian women gathered afternoon and evening to sing the rosary, and pray to the saint for sick friends and family, for relatives lost at sea, and to help in times of trouble.
This is just a sampling of what has been gathered up to represent the art, culture, and history of storied Gloucester.
Once installed in the coming weeks, I know you will want to immerse yourself in the stories, linger for a while, and come back again and again to walk the walk.
Carolyn Kirk is mayor of the city of Gloucester.