To the editor:
The stone house on the hill at Stage Fort Park is the home of the Gloucester Welcoming Center.
The center receives an average of 16,000 visitors during the summer season and is open from mid-May to October. The building once served as the city's community center.
Today, the park itself is the site of many and varied community happenings. On Thursdays from June to October, the park hosts the Cape Ann Farmers' Market; weddings both traditional and nontraditional take place throughout the summer at the park's gazebo.
In August, there's the Waterfront Festival, The Native American Pow-wow, and The Gloucester Blues Festival, all of which have a large presence at the park, as do the free band concerts that run all summer long on Sunday evenings. In October, the cyclo-cross races take place and, with the new dog park already under construction, our four-legged friends will also find a place to get refreshed. Of course the largest use of the park continues to be families picnicking and just enjoying our facilities.
The stone house that now hosts the Welcoming Center sits on 45 acres of public park surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. So here's a little bit of Gloucester trivia:
The stone house was constructed in 1925. The great boulder at tablet rock was the site of ancient Native American Indian rites and ceremonies. Did you know that in 1863 at the old fort — as engineers were excavating the site for cannons to be mounted — three skeletons were found? Their identity remains unknown but most likely it was the first settlers, from the Dorchester Co.
How about Gloucester's Civil War fort, do you know where that was located? (Hint: It was not at Stage Fort Park.) Or do you have any idea how many tons of granite were used to build the breakwater? Or how long it took to build?
Maybe you can't answer these. That's OK. But if you have some Gloucester knowledge or just love the city and want to learn, you can come and volunteer part-time at the Welcoming Center and help many of the tourists that visit us by answering their questions about what to do and see in our city.
At the same time, you can investigate our files of little-known facts and learn the answers to these and other interesting things about Gloucester.
You'd be amazed how enjoyable it is to share the enthusiasm everyone feels about Gloucester. All that is needed to volunteer is a general knowledge of Gloucester, a friendly disposition and three hours of your time; weekly is preferred but we will try to accommodate flexible schedules.
One more question for you, where are the best onshore fishing spots?
We have the answer at the Welcoming Center, come by and see us.
Welcome Center volunteers