Announcing a new Meetup for Cape Ann Photography Excursion (CAPE) Group!Where: DogtownWhen:
April 19, 2009Time:
10a.m. - NoonMeeting Place:
Parking area off of Cherry Street/Dogtown RoadAdmission:
Join the CAPE Group in April as we explore Dogtown
and some of the Babson Boulders
. If you'd like to download a PDF map of Dogtown and the boulders, please click here
Hope to see you all there!About Dogtown:
Dogtown (also Dogtown Commons or Dogtown Common or Dogtown Village) is an abandoned inland settlement on Cape Ann in Massachusetts. It is divided between the city of Gloucester and the town of Rockport.
The area isn't particularly suited to agriculture, due to its poor and very rocky soil. Nevertheless it was settled, beginning in 1693, because its inland location afforded protection from pirates and from enemy natives. Another attraction was the fact that the area lay on what was originally the only direct land route between Sandy Bay (Rockport's original name) and Gloucester. The peak of population, from about 1750 to the turn of the nineteenth century, has been estimated at around one hundred families.
After new coastal roads were opened, and especially after the conclusion of the War of 1812 and its attendant risk of coastal bombardment, most farmers moved away from Dogtown. Their abandoned houses were for a few decades occupied by itinerants and vagabonds, giving the area its bad reputation. Many of the widows of sea-goers and soldiers who never returned kept dogs for protection and company. As these last inhabitants died their pets became feral and wild, roaming the moors and howling, thus the name "Dogtown" was born.
Some of the last occupants were suspected of practicing witchcraft, including Thomazine "Tammy" Younger, whom some knew as the "Queen of the Witches." Tammy lived on Fox Hill, by Alewife Brook, and would reputedly place a curse on teams of oxen carrying fish from the harbor as they crossed the bridge there, unless their driver paid her a "toll". A reputed witch often associated with Dogtown was Peg Wesson, but in fact she lived in Gloucester, not Dogtown. The last resident of Dogtown, a freedman named Cornelius "Black Neil" Finson, was found half-dead living in a cellar-hole in the winter, and was removed to the poorhouse in Gloucester in 1830; he died shortly afterward.
Most of the area of Dogtown is now a dense woodland, criss-crossed and bisected by trails and old roads. Dogtown Road off of Cherry Street in the western section (the Gloucester side) is even lined with the remains of the cellar holes of the settlers, many of which are numbered in correspondence with names from John J. Babson's book of the history of Gloucester. Babson's grandson, Roger Babson, is known for, among other things, his commissioning of unemployed stonecutters to carve inspirational inscriptions on approximately three dozen boulders in Dogtown during the Great Depression. Babson also mapped and numbered the cellar holes left from the homes of Dogtown's former residents.
Learn more here:http://www.meetup.com/CAPEGroup/calendar/9617564/