The Discovery of Gloucester, Massachusetts
The first Europeans to land on Cape Ann were the French. Samuel de Champlain led an expedition in 1605 and anchored briefly here within this area. The next year, Champlain led a second expedition, entering Gloucester harbor and calling it “le beau port,” or “beautiful harbor.” The party stayed about two weeks, making maps of the area. When they ran into 200 Indians and thought of them to be hostile, quickly the explorers departed the area. Captain John Smith sailed by Cape Ann in 1614, but did little more than give the Cape names like “Cape Tragabigzanda” . The name however did not stay for very long. Prince Charles of England finally coined the name “Cape Ann” in 1684 for his mother Queen Anne.
Capt. Andres Robinson was the designer and builder of the first schooner, launched in Gloucester in 1713. A bystander remarked, “See how she schoons!” (as a stone skips on water). Robinson said, “Then, a schooner let her be,” and broke a bottle of rum on her bow. Before long, most of Gloucester and Essex shipbuilding was confined to schooners. Schooners are defined as vessels with two or more masts with the mainmast the same height or taller than the foremast. The age of sailing as a means of industry began to end (until the Lannon) when gasoline-burning engines were introduced here in the area in the year 1909.
The Schooner Thomas E. Lannon
63 rear Rogers St., Gloucester, MA 01930, USA
In Gloucester, MA, one can find many boats of varying sizes. There are excursions a plenty for any budding pirate or pirata. The Thomas E. Lannon, was my destination to feel the wind, see the harbor of this quaint small town. The Lannon was built with the design from the sword fishing vessel the ” Nokomis”, that was built-in 1903. One had a dream and a vision to recreate a vessel that linked his past to the present within the frame of his grandfather within of his mind.
The adventure of Tom Ellis began with the reality of bringing a dream to fruition. From a trip to Newfoundland, Tom Ellis heard stories of his grandfather as well as learning of his grandfather being awarded a medal for heroism in 1908. One of his grandfather’s brothers was still alive and running a sawmill in Newfoundland. He shared with Tom of a story he had heard of his brother’s heroism while fishing in Gloucester in 1908. He went into the house and after rummaging around inside for a while, returned with a handwritten account of the brave rescue that Tom Lannon had been part of. He gave that handwritten account to Tom and told him that his grandfather had been awarded a medal by the Massachusetts Humane Society.
When Tom got back to Gloucester, he mentioned the story to his first cousin, Ed Lannon. Ed replied that he had never heard the story behind it, but that he in fact, had the medal. It had been handed down to him by his father, Eddie Lannon, Tom Lannon’s only son. When the schooner idea started to become reality, there was no doubt in Tom’s mind what to name the schooner. And so, the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon was named to keep a small part of Gloucester’s history alive.
Tom, did bring his dream to reality and had his dream built with success. For several years the Thomas E. Lannon has been offering tours around Gloucester harbor. The crew of the Thomas E.Lannon are friendly, safety minded, will answer any questions that you may have as well as invite you to participate in raising the sails. The venture is well worth the time if you love the water, have a desire to sail, want to feel moments of freedom. Many special events as well occur on the Lannon from weddings, special events, and private charters. Several times of sailing are set daily.
Can you imagine an evening of Celtic music as you sail or even fire works displayed at night? Observing the setting sun glimmering on the water, observing other vessels and friendly pirates yelling, ” Hello”. If so, The Thomas E. Lannon is an adventure to be had with age not a barrier to living life to the fullest.
Beyond are photos, I took on my personal adventure. I was greeted by a friendly onboard welcome and could not wait to feel the wind. Excitement stirred once underway with the raising of the sails. This schooner has four sails that were raised with guests participating in the raising. Learning the fore and aft was helpful as well as other sea vessels sailing terms.
My eyes lingered over the ladders, rigging and sails as I awaited the feel of the wind take hold and strum, the Lannon forthward. There was excitement within of the children’s faces as well as adults of all ages. Conversation flowed with oohs, and ahhs, aplenty. I was happy to see the realization of one whom really had a vision of a dream and a pure passion for the sea. As well as others, I was able to share within ones dream for a briefness, to be enlightened within moments. My gratitude goes out to the dreamer, Tom for his strivation and following of his path so well. A hearty “Cheer”, to him.
The Thomas E. Lannon
Eastern Point Light:
The first lighthouse was built on the current site in 1831 and began shining on January 1, 1832. President Andrew Jackson authorized the construction of this 30 foot lighthouse. The combined cost of the lighthouse and a small keeper’s quarters was $2,450. In 1848, the original lighthouse was torn down and rebuilt. The new lighthouse was 34 feet high and had a steady red light that sailors fondly referred to as “ruby light.” An automatic foghorn was installed in 1857. In 1890, the current lighthouse was built for an outrageous $4,300. In 1897, a two-ton steam operated fog bell was installed: the only one in the world. The keeper’s house was one of the first to have all of the modern conveniences: telephone-1896, electricity-1897, running water-1901. The lighthouse became automated in 1986 and no longer needs a keeper for either the tower or the light at the end of the breakwater.
Winslow Homer: was one of the lighthouse’s most famous occupants. Homer spent a summer there, renting a room from the lighthouse keeper and painting harbor scenes.
Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
Where did the name come for Ten Pound Lighthouse come from? In the early days, the settlers let sheep graze on the island. There was room for 10 paddocks or ‘pounds’ on the island. Nobody knows the real story for sure,
In 1881. Once a center of Coast Guard activity and known as “Base 7,” there were seaplanes based on the island that were used for search and rescue operations. Most of the missions flown by the Coast Guard were actually in search of the notorious and elusive “rum-runners” during the days of Prohibition. One such boat, known as the “Black Duck” was known for its rum-running. Often the Coast Guard planes would follow the “Black Duck” continuously, circling overhead until it pulled into port where police had been notified to make arrests and confiscate the liquor. After the Coast Guard vacated the island, it was used for a fish hatchery.
From the harbor I viewed before this trip on another excursion that of two what appeared castles. Curious was I to locate information concerning the origins of these structures. Seek and thee shall find, I have been told. I did finally find some information concerning these jewels of the past.
John Hays Hammond Sr. was a mining engineer who made his fortune in the diamond mines of Africa. He used this estate, located overlooking Gloucester Harbor on the Magnolia coast, as a summer mansion. When he died, he willed it to the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Boston. Known as Cardinal Cushing Villa, it became a retirement home for priests. When Cardinal Cushing died, the property was put up for auction and purchased by a second party for the Reverend Moon and his “Moonies,” a religious group from Korea. They continue to own the property today. From the water, the stone tower of the mansion is often mistaken for Hammond Castle.
John Hays Hammond Jr. was a prolific inventor who worked for the U.S. military. Probably the most famous of his inventions was remote control, a technology he tested by operating “ghost ships” in the harbor and scaring local fishermen. Hammond also worked with a British scientist on the invention of radar. Rumor has it that his parents did not approve of his wife-to-be so he felt he had to build an even bigger castle than his parents owned just down the road. Hammond Jr. and his wife moved into the castle on their wedding day. Hammond traveled throughout Europe collecting artifacts. The castle is filled with 13th, 15th, and 17th century furnishings with an amazing collection of Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance art. Hammond died in 1965. A bit of an eccentric, Hammond and his cat are buried together. He stipulated in his will that his entire burial site be surrounded by poison ivy so that no one would go near him. He did not invent the Hammond organ. The Hammond Castle today is operated as a museum and is open to the public.