The Abbot Public Library has digitized more than 140 years of the Marblehead Reporter/Messenger – a great resource for Marblehead historians and genealogists! Read all about it here: https://marblehead.wickedlocal.com/news/20190723/abbot-public-library-digitizes-marblehead-reportermessenger
2019 is the 90th anniversary of the yachting world’s historic Marblehead Trophy. This trophy was established by the Marblehead Selectmen in 1929 in
honorof the 300th anniversary of Marblehead’s settlement. It was raced for in the International Race Week racing that year in Marblehead, could only be won by an international yacht club in the first year, and is a perpetual trophy for sailboat racing. It was intended that over the years, the Trophy would keep Marblehead’s name as Yachting Capital of the World in front of an international audience.
In 1929, the trophy was raced for in 30 Square Meter yachts, and won by the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, represented by Erik Lundberg in his yacht Bachhant. Since that time, there has been occasional awareness in Marblehead of racing for the trophy, with only a few articles in the Marblehead Messenger or the Boston Globe over the years.
That all changed in 2018, when Marbleheader Bruce Dyson went to Denmark to race for the Marblehead Trophy. The Trophy was raced for in Dragon Class boats, and won by the Yacht Club de Cannes (France), raced for by Anatoly Loginov. Although unsuccessful in returning it home, Dyson’s trip did reawaken awareness of the Trophy and an interest in finding out where the Trophy has been all these years.
This year, the 90th anniversary racing for the Trophy was held by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club (Russia), which held the event in conjunction with the Yacht Club de Cannes in late July. With assistance from the St. Petersburg Yacht Club organizing committee and especially the head of their Media Center, Andrey Petrov, much more of the Trophy’s history is now known. The means to do this was quite simple. Most years, the name of the winning yacht club, skipper and yacht were engraved on the Trophy – a massive solid silver bowl created by Daniel Low Co. of Salem. Petrov painstakingly photographed each engraving and also copied down the engraving text, summarizing them on a spreadsheet. The Trophy has no engravings for 24 years, and 3 years when the Trophy was known to not have been given out. While there is more to be learned, we now have a much better handle on where the Marblehead Trophy has been and which country and yacht clubs won it.
Sweden dominated Trophy wins until 1950, winning every trophy racing for which there are engravings on the bowl (16 times). After this, the Trophy was won by German (13 times), Italian (9 times), Greek (2 times), Danish (13 times), and French (once) yacht clubs.
This year, the Marblehead Trophy was won by “Yacht Harbour “Hercules” of St. Petersburg, Russia, represented by Dmitry Samokhin, sailed once again in a fleet of 22 Dragon Class boats. The Race Committee was able to get off 5 races over a span of 3 days, with the final outcome not known until the finish of the final race. As a result of Samokhin’s victory, next year’s racing for the Marblehead Trophy will also be in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The fact that racing for the Marblehead Trophy is still going on after 90 years is remarkable, and has, indeed, helped keep Marblehead’s name as a yachting center on the world stage.
Click here to see a video about the 2019 Marblehead Trophy racing.
The Marblehead Historical Commission exhibit, “Mapping Marblehead: From Founding to Freedom”, has reopened in the Selectmen’s Room in Abbot Hall. The innovative exhibit was on display at the Old Town House for most of June, receiving excellent reviews. Based on the first two centuries of Marblehead’s recorded history, the exhibit features highlights of the town’s early settlement, growth, and economy as it grew from fishing village to prominent port of trade and revolutionary stronghold. This location gives an opportunity to see the exhibit with the iconic painting “The Spirit of 76” as backdrop.
Funded by a grant from the Harold B. and Elizabeth L. Shattuck Memorial Trust, the exhibit will stay open until Abbot Hall construction work requires it to close. Exhibit hours are the same as Abbot Hall’s business hours, Mon, Tues. and Thu. from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, Wed. from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm, Fri. from 8:00 am until 12:30 pm. There is no charge.
Material in this exhibit includes all of all of the original exhibit’s interpretive panels, large screen video and iPad interactive maps illustrating Marblehead’s growth from Native American sites through 17th-century development, and 18th-century expansion. It also adds an MHTV video with Town Historian Don Doliber describing the Spirit of 76 painting, as well as a video tour of Abbot Hall
This exhibit is the first of three that are planned to present Marblehead’s history from its earliest beginnings through the 21st century. Chris Johnston, chair of the Marblehead Historical Commission, envisions a long-range plan to establish a permanent Museum of Marblehead History where visitors will be able to learn about the entire timeline of Marblehead’s history in one location. The second exhibit, covering Marblehead’s history from 1800 to the end of the 19th century, has been awarded a grant from the Harold B. and Elizabeth L. Shattuck Memorial Trust and is planned for 2020.
Beyond the Exhibit
If you’ve already visited the exhibit or just want to explore on your own, visit our Mapping Marblehead – Beyond the Exhibit web page for links to the Exhibit videos on our YouTube Channel, links to the iPad Kiosk Mapping Marblehead Interactive Map Exploration, and links to high resolution scans of maps used in the exhibit: Mapping Marblehead – Beyond the Exhibit
On July 4th, 2019, members of the Orne family, including Frank Orne, Stephen Orne, Ted Peach and Standley Goodwin, gave Jonathan Orne’s original Revolutionary War cartridge box, dating to 1776, to the Marblehead Historical Commission. Bryan Ruocco and his son Andrew also gave the Commission a replica of the original cartridge box that they created. Presentation of the boxes was made on July 4th, 2019 at historic Ft. Sewall, with members of Marblehead’s Glover’s Regiment in attendance. Click on the link to see a video of the presentation.
Displayed in Abbot Hall’s auditorium is a gorgeous quilt, made in 1976 by a group of Marblehead women, celebrating the nation’s 200th anniversary. The quilt is made of 33 squares and is approximately ten feet square, depicting different scenes and places in Marblehead. Several copies of a book describing each of the squares, with calligraphy by Nancy Ferguson and illustrations by Elaine Daly, have been printed by two of the original quilters, Anne Scully and Bev Simpson. A copy of this book has been donated to the Historical Commission and placed adjacent to the quilt in Abbot Hall’s auditorium. Next time you are in Abbot Hall, be sure to head to the auditorium and check out this delightful addition to the quilt display. You can also link to the Historical Commission’s web page with a higher resolution image of the quilt and a pdf of the book by clicking on this link.
Thanks to US Navy Commander David Smith, a part of Old Ironsides is now part of America’s history that is on display in Abbot Hall. The 1,500 lb piece of the ship was moved into a custom-built cradle and is now on display in the lower floor of Abbot Hall.
Take a virtual tour of Abbot Hall with your guide, Chris Johnston, Chairman of the Marblehead Historical Commission. Learn more about Benjamin Abbot’s gift to Marblehead and some of the special features of this historic building that you may not have noticed before. Inside Abbot Hall was created by Jenna Comins-Addis and has been posted on the Marblehead Historical Commission’s new YouTube channel. Take the tour!
The Marblehead Historical Commission is leading a planning project for the future Town-wide Marblehead Archival Facility. Initiated in July 2017, the planning project will culminate in late 2019 with a Master Plan for creation of the Archival Facility. The project is being assisted by well-known archival consultant Michele Pacifico. An Archives Advisory Committee has been established by the Selectmen to provide direction to the project.
In the first phase of the project, local organizations that wished to participate in the planning project, along with Town Departments, were identified; these organizations provided Letters of Intent to verify their willingness to participate. The second phase, establishing the facility requirements, is now underway.
A draft of the Marblehead Archival Facility Requirements Document was presented to the Archival Advisory Committee on June 13th by consultant Michele Pacifico. The requirements are expected to be finalized this Fall, following completion of archival holdings size measurements at a number of Town Departments and other participating organizations in town. The Advisory Committee also will establish types of spaces to be included in the Archival Facility, number of archival workers, volunteers, and researchers to be accommodated. Outlines of many of the archive’s policies and procedures will also need to be completed by the Committee.
We are fortunate to have a Master’s Degree candidate intern from Simmons College, Ariana Fiorello, who is taking the lead, in conjunction with consultant Pacifico, on measurements and recommendations for the other needed items. She is also developing a cataloging tool for the participating organizations to use as well as a list of preferred archival storage materials.
More information is available on the Historical Commission web site at: http://marbleheadhistory.org/preservation-planning/marblehead-archive/
Shipyard Part 1 Survey documents are now complete and available for downloading. Three documents have been posted: the Shipyard Part 1 Final Report, the Shipyard Part 1 Survey Property List, and the Shipyard Part 1 Inventory Map.
This project, the first of a two-phase effort, recorded architectural, historical and photographic documentation for 68 properties in the Shipyard District for individual properties and two areas on inventory forms provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC).
The objectives of the survey were to retrieve information relevant to historic properties, their owners and builders, organize it in narratives that are accessible and informative to a variety of users, and provide assessments of significance that contribute to local and state preservation planning.
The Marblehead Recreation and Parks Commission has received a grant of $33,000 from the Shattuck Fund to restore the Oil House and various walkways at the Lighthouse. They have engaged Peter Rice to do the restoration.
According to the Inspection report of the 2nd District, Department of Commerce of February 12, 1910, who were in charge of all lighthouses at the time, the Marblehead Oil House was built in 1907. It was built of brick at a location 189” southwest of the Tower. The inside dimensions were 8’ – 8” x 10’ – 8”, and it was designed to hold about 450 gallons of oil in 5-gallon cans.
Why oil houses? The Department of Commerce, after seeing multiple lighthouses burn down or blow up, decided it was time to store the flammables elsewhere rather than in the lighthouse. It was common to store the whale oil, kerosene, gas, and hard lard (for back up if everything else fails) in the light itself. So after the turn of the century you will see oil houses at almost all lighthouses.