Looking up at the Sea
Mark atop Pigeon Hill, c. 1915 1|
Looking down toward
the sea from the top of Pigeon Hill, c. 1912 3|
Andrews Point juts into the ocean at left,
adjoined to Halibut Point just off the photograph.
The Pigeon Hill promontory was acquired by granite entrepreneur Ezra Eames in 1838. The Town of Rockport bought it from his heirs in 1929 to construct a standpipe for the public water supply at high elevation. Ezra Eames' name will turn up again in this story.
|Granite watering trough (1862) presently in front of the Old Castle c. 1715|
The initiatives of the VIS continually featured the names of public-spirited citizens of Pigeon Cove. Charles H. Cleaves (attorney and ubiquitous photographer) and H. Chester Story (son of Abbie) anchored a fundraising committee in 1915 to purchase as open space the 10-acre Austin W. Story estate (Pea Grove Woods) on Pigeon Hill, "containing practically all the virgin growth of hard wood trees remaining in the village. To do it all the cash in the treasury and every resource known to us was used to raise money." 6 Over time two more parcels adjoining the Pigeon Hill pastures were added.
The conservation and historical acumen of the VIS was greatly enhanced when Allen Chamberlain moved to Rockport. Among his other books he had written Beacon Hill--Its Pastures and Early Mansions in 1925. He and Chester Story collected blacksmith shop tools and paving cutter's equipment from those waning industries as permanent exhibits in the Old Castle. Chamberlain undertook a painstaking survey of ancient deeds and documents to authenticate his 1940 monograph on the evolution of Pigeon Cove's development. 2Chamberlain was also a past president of the Appalachian Mountain Club and prominent member of several New England recreational/ecological organizations. Along with Charles Cleaves he led the effort to preserve as parkland several tracts of land on Halibut Point during the 1930s.
Gott Avenue c. 1935. Cows grazing at the present-day parking lot of the State Park.
|The pasture gate beside the 1702 Gott house|
Looking across the
pasture toward the ocean,alongside the stone
wall pictured in the photograph above.|
Sources1. Postcard courtesy of Robert Ambrogi's website vintagerockport.com.
2. Allen Chamberlain, Pigeon Cove, It's Early Settlers & their Farms 1702-1840. The Sandy Bay Historical Society (SBHS) in 1999 reprinted the original publication by the Village Improvement Society of 1940.
4. Lemuel Gott, History of Rockport, 1888.
5. "VIS Historical Notes," SBHS.
6. SBHS files.
7. This and the following photographs by Charles Cleaves, courtesy of The Trustees of Reservations.