People on the Land at Halibut Point, Part 3
|Thomas Gaffield (1825-1900) 1|
Gaffield bought an Ocean View lot in 1883 adjacent to John Stowell's Meadowcliff, for a personal seaside residence.2 How far he got with building there is not clear, because he sold the premises in 1887 to John Way, who put up the most architecturally lavish cottage on Andrews Point. None of these edifices survives today.
From the George W. Stadly Atlas, 1899
|Gaffield's Halibut Point real estate for sale 3|
Later in the summer of 1885 the reporter returned to admire the progress on Sunset Hill, and to verify rumors of a hotel in the offing. The report that Mr. Gaffield is to build a hotel here, which gained circulation, is without any foundation in fact. He, however, says that he will make a gift of a reasonable amount of land to any party who will put up a hotel on the property in which he is interested.5
|A closer view of the Gaffield plan|
Thomas Gaffield himself was able to come to terms with only four house lot buyers. He planted shade trees along Gaffield Avenue. Perhaps no more than one house was actually constructed, enhanced with a tennis court.7
Mr. Gaffield's public spirit was undaunted. In 1889 he presented the Pigeon Cove Free Library with fifty or more finely bound volumes, consisting of works of Carlyle, Emerson, Goethe, Geo. Elliot, Thackeray, and the Waverly Novels. Mr. Gaffield's timely gift is highly appreciated, and heaven, for such are its decrees, shall bless the hand that blesses.8
The blessings continued on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Benevolent Fraternity of Churches, and the Perkins Institute for the Blind, which received "Sunset Hill" as a joint bequest from Gaffield upon his death. Several years later in 1907 the land passed rapidly through a straw owner, to George Rogers (an affiliate of the Rockport Granite Company), to the corporation itself. The transition of Halibut Point from agriculture to industry skipped over residential development which, even considering the drastic alterations by quarrying, would have generated greater long-term changes.
1. Arthur Wellington Brayley, Schools and Schoolboys of Old Boston, 1894.
2. These and other real estate transactions may be traced through the Salem Registry of Deeds.
3. Boston Daily Advertiser, May 6, 1886.
4. Cape Ann Evening Breeze, July 1, 1885.
5. Ibid, August 17, 1885.
6. See "Babson Farm", Notes from Halibut Point #173, January 12, 2017.
7. The Trustees of Reservations, "A Chronology Highlighting Settlement of Rockport, Massachusetts, and the Preservation of Land at Halibut Point", n.d. (courtesy of Les Bartlett).
8. Cape Ann Advertiser, May 17, 1889.