When Swampscott was a resort ● The hero behind Blocksidge Field
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A publication of Essex Media Group
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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
My name is Edward Michael and I am a chocoholic.
I don’t drink to excess, do drugs, or gamble. My vices are buying clothes and eating.
Those two things don’t mesh particularly well, because if (OK, when) I eat too much,
my clothes don’t fit. I have one fat suit so, when I eat myself out of Brioni and Kiton
and Ralph Lauren and Zegna, I have something to wear. Eventually I get sick of the
fat suit and it prompts me to stop eating for a while.
A woman at work preaches the Keto diet. She ate several pounds of bacon a day for
a few weeks and actually lost weight. It didn’t work for me. She neglected to tell me I
couldn’t put cheeseburgers under the bacon (no, I’m not foregoing the bun).
Another woman keeps a jar of miniature Snickers bars on her desk (why the little
ones, I don’t know; if some is good, isn’t more better?). And then there’s Bridget
Turcotte, another Ketophile. She seems so sweet, but it’s a veneer. She has to know
she’s torturing me with her cover story about C.B. Stuffer's works of chocolate art.
I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate? Of course, there are varying degrees of love,
and when it comes to chocolate, I fall into the head-over-heels-can’t-live-without-it
(except for Lent) category. Oversized peanut butter cups? Solid chocolate pizza? I ate
up Bridget’s tastefully written story.
Then Mark Sutherland takes a Spenser Hasak photo and designs a mouth-watering
cover. I’m gaining weight writing about it.
If gluttony isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other stories in this edition of 01907 to
whet your appetite. Our three senior writers forked over some good ones.
Billy Brotherton writes about what was once “one of the northeast’s premier
resort areas,” with more than a handful of five-star hotels and guests flocking to
Swampscott from parts near and far. Think the Hamptons, early-20th-century
edition. Steve Krause chronicles the man for whom the town’s football field is named.
And Thor Jourgensen traces the birth of Christian Science to Paradise Road.
And, finally, Gayla Cawley takes us to the top of Greenwood Avenue, where, at
long last, the property that once served as home to the high school and middle school
is being redeveloped into housing. Not everyone’s thrilled, but that’s not breaking
news. And it’s probably not a bad thing to have a property with its value on the tax
rolls, so I’m rooting for Tom Groom.
Hungry for more? Dig in.
02 | 01907
ESSEX MEDIA GROUP
110 Munroe St.,
Lynn, MA 01901
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04 What's up
06 An Inn thing
08 A hero's legacy
10 Fashion-forward fall
12 House money
15 Chocolate covered
18 A real kick
22 Cider House Rules
24 Carving a legacy
25 Groomed for success
30 Religion lives here
Anatomy of a chocolate
peanut butter cup
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04 | 01907
Serving up sleuthing
What: Dinner Detectives is the library’s mystery
book group. We discuss mysteries related to
a different topic each month. Bring your book
and dinner – we provide the coffee, dessert and
discussion. New members welcome. This month's
topic is scary mysteries.
Where: Swampscott library meeting room, 61
When: Tuesday Oct. 2, 6-7 p.m.
Contact: 781-596-8867, email@example.com
Serve humanity with Rotary
What: The Rotary Club of Swampscott meets
regularly to build goodwill and friendships and
embark on a variety of projects.
Where: Mission On The Bay, 141 Humphrey St.
When: Wednesdays, 12:15 p.m.
It's alive! Mary Shelley and
What: This year is the bicentennial of Mary
Shelley’s classic book, “Frankenstein,” and to
celebrate, reference librarian Janina Majeran
will give a lecture on the life of the author and
the events that led up to her writing this oncecontroversial
Mission on the Bay Restaurant
PHOTO: OWEN O'ROURKE
Where: Swampscott Public Library meeting
room, 61 Burrill St.
When: Thursday, Oct. 4, 7-8:15 p.m.
Contact: Janina Majeran, 413-626-2723, majeran@
noblenet.org. Please call or register online.
How to stay young at heart
What: The Young at Heart book club is for adults
who read Young Adult novels and wish they
had other adults with whom to talk about them
without shame. This month's book is “Simon v.
The Homosapien Agenda” by Becky Albertalli.
There will be snacks and beverages.
Where: Swampscott Public Library meeting
room, 61 Burrill St.
When: Thursday, Oct. 18, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Contact: Janina Majeran, 781-596-8867, majeran@
Yard Waste Collection Week
What: Please put your yard waste in paper bags
or barrels labelled as "Yard Waste." Acceptable
yard waste includes grass, leaves, and tree and
brush trimmings up to one inch thick.
Not Acceptable: soil, stumps, rocks, and
trimmings more than one inch thick.
Yard waste put in plastic bags will not be collected.
When: Monday, Oct. 22 to Friday, Oct. 26.
Have your yard waste out on your normal
trash collection day. "Yard Waste" sticker labels
for barrels can be picked up at the Health
Department in Town Hall.
REPRESENTING FINE COMPANIES SUCH AS
Tel: 978-745-3300 | Fax: 978-745-9557
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town was a
BY BILL BROTHERTON
Once upon a time, Swampscott was
one of the Northeast's premier resort
areas. The "old money" crowd would
escape the sweltering big city and relax
in one of the town's many seaside grand
hotels for an entire summer.
The train would depart from Boston,
stopping at Swampscott station where
Mr. Washburn's horse-drawn carriage
service would be waiting to transport
visitors to the hotels and estates. There
were three stations in Swampscott alone,
and the train would later be extended all
the way to downtown Marblehead.
Summer residents would arrive
Memorial Day weekend and stay right
through Labor Day, said unofficial town
historian Lou Gallo.
"If you had four or five rooms to rent,
you could call yourself a hotel," Gallo
said. "There were a lot of hotels, some
grand, some not so grand. Over 500
rooms were available in Swampscott."
The New Ocean House was
indisputably the grandest of them all.
In 1895, it was purchased by Edward
Grabow and Allen Ainslie, who added
a telephone, an elevator, and service
"call bells" in all 175 rooms. Cottages
and a multi-story, fireproof Puritan
Hall boosted the room total to about
300. New Ocean's property covered 22
acres, which ran from Puritan Road to
Humphrey Street. It was also one of
the first resorts in America to go after
Concerts, vaudeville entertainment,
and dancing were soon offered. Golf and
tennis tournaments were held. Horse
stables were onsite.
"The New Ocean House was like a
city unto itself," said Gallo, who grew
up behind the hotel in his grandparents'
home. "On the first floor alone, there
was a butcher shop, fish market, bakery,
barber, drug store, tailor, laundry …
anything you needed to get done. A daily
newspaper was even printed there."
There were strict rules for guests,
according to Gallo, who worked at the 9-hole
pitch-and-putt golf course as a youngster.
Good manners, exemplary etiquette, and
certain protocols had to be followed.
"You could not wear a bathing suit
in the hotel lobby. The bathhouse at the
beach was where you changed," Gallo
said. "Dogs were not allowed in the hotel.
Children were not allowed in the main
dining room. They had their own dining
area. Exceptions would be made for
dessert if the kids were well-behaved."
A who's-who of prominent people
stayed at the hotel during its heyday,
including John F. Kennedy, Lucille Ball,
Harpo Marx, Helen Keller, Babe Ruth,
Guy Lombardo, and Lynn-born actor
Rudy Vallée gave one of his early
performances there, before he found
worldwide success as a pop crooner. A
young Rev. Billy Graham led a meeting
there in 1925. In 1941, when Winston
Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met
at sea to discuss the Atlantic Charter,
staffers for both men stayed at the New
In the 1930s, Col. Clem Kennedy
bought the hotel and property. By then,
business had started to falter. The end
came on May 8, 1969, when the 81-yearold
New Ocean House burned to the
ground. By the time firefighters arrived,
the five-story wooden structure was fully
engulfed. No one was killed or injured,
06 | 01907
The Lincoln House,
at the western end of
The Lincoln House
PHOTOS / POSTCARDS COURTESY LOU GALLO
A postcard of the New Ocean
House pool area.
Hotel Preston at 441 Atlantic
Ave. was built in 1872.
and the cause of the fire was never
determined. The 50th anniversary of the
disaster is next year.
"When it burned down, I sat on the
roof of the bathhouse across the street
and watched," said Gallo. "Puritan
Hall was fireproofed. It didn't burn, but
everything in it did."
Today the site features townhouse
condominiums, a playground, and an
assisted living center.
An earlier Ocean House was built
by William Fenno in 1835. Situated on
what is now Galloupes Point, it was the
North Shore's first mainland summer
hotel. A few moves and two fires later,
it reopened as the New Ocean House in
1884. That, too, burned down, leading
to Grabow and Ainslie's purchase and
massive renovation and expansion.
The Hotel Preston was equally
elegant, according to Gallo. Located at
441 Atlantic Ave. and built in 1872, it
featured an expansive beach, changing
rooms on the seawall, and several piazzas
from which splendid views of Beach
Bluff were offered. Members of the
Boston Symphony Orchestra would
perform daily. Ripping games of croquet
were played on the lawn. When it burned
down in 1957, the hotel was demolished
and the soil was used as fill for a Logan
The Lincoln House, at the western
end of Phillips Point, was also popular.
Built in 1864, it too offered excellent
water views from every room and direct
access to the beach, which, in the 1780s,
became known as Shakers Cove for the
Shakers who came from Canterbury,
HOTELS, page 28
FALL 2018 | 07
Blocksidge: more than a field
Town observes 100th anniversary of war hero's death
BY STEVE KRAUSE
Swampscott Chief of Police Ron Madigan and Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald with the
World War I memorial.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
Last fall, when a $2 million renovation project
culminated with the unveiling of a refurbished
Blocksidge Field, with state-of-the-art turf
filled in with coconut huskings rather than groundup
tires, Gov. Charlie Baker spoke of the facility's
“I wonder how (Cpl. John Enos Blocksidge) would
feel about this,” said Baker, a Swampscott resident
whose two sons played football on the field in its
previous iteration. “Isn't it great we have given this
field a facelift that that person who fought and died
for his country could appreciate?”
Last month, when sports activities for the 2018-19
season began in Swampscott, it's doubtful many of
the athletes participating were aware that the opening
days were juxtaposed around the 100th anniversary of
Blocksidge's death in the waning days of World War I.
In April 1918, Blocksidge enlisted in the U.S. Army, and
by July he was shipped overseas as part of the American
Expeditionary Force, Company G, as an infantryman.
That’s three months between the time of enlistment
and the time he went to France to fight. Two months
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later he died as the result of shell fire at the
Battle of Juvigny, north of Soissons.
Many of the area's most prominent edifices
and intersections are named for politicians and
other community movers and shakers. But a
great deal of them are also named in memory of
fallen soldiers. In neighboring Marblehead, the
high school football field is named for a soldier
who died in Afghanistan, Sgt. Christopher J.
Piper, who was a casualty of the War on Terror.
Hoey Square in downtown Lynn was named
for Thomas Yee Hoey, who gave his life in
World War II. Its location, at the intersection of
Broad and Silsbee Streets, is in close proximity
to the laundry service his family ran for years.
The centennial anniversary of John
Blocksidge's death gives us an opportunity to
delve into the circumstances of at least one of the
names on the signs.
The United States was not anxious to get
involved in World War I. In fact, President
Woodrow Wilson, campaigning for his second
term in 1916, used the slogan "He kept us out
of war" as a battle cry in reverse. The "war to
end all wars" was particularly grisly, with the
use of chemicals having been introduced.
By 1917, Germany began sinking U.S. ships
in the Atlantic, and Wilson had no choice but
to declare war. Once the country was placed in
harm's way, men such as Blocksidge enlisted —
and ultimately died.
Blocksidge’s body was buried in an
American cemetery at Aisne, France. Three
years later, his remains were returned to the
United States, arriving home in Swampscott
Jan. 13, 1921. He was buried with full military
honors in Swampscott Cemetery three days
In 1935, Town Meeting voted to build a
football field at Phillips Park, and a year later,
bleachers were constructed. That field became
known as Blocksidge Field, and soon became the
nexus of as much athletic history as any venue on
the North Shore.
By 2010, Blocksidge was starting to
show its age and the first of many efforts to
modernize the facility got underway. It would
prove to be a frustrating effort. Even watching
part of the visitors’ side bleachers collapse
during the annual Swampscott-Marblehead
Powderpuff football game in 2013 didn't
hasten the process, though, as Selectman Peter
Spellios said last fall, “it may have a lot to do
with the fact that this finally got done.”
Spellios was the liaison between the town
and the All-Blue Committee, the last of many
boards that were established to see the project
It took seven years of planning, pleading
and perseverance before the ribbon
(blue, naturally) could be cut to open the
refurbished Blocksidge Field.
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BY BELLA diGRAZIA
PHOTOS BY SPENSER HASAK
With the brown palette
leaves beginning to form, it's
time to darken up your wardrobe.
Tips and tricks for this fall
season: Spice up your blacks and
browns with a touch of red, add
some layers, and dive in on
the fanny pack comeback!
GET THE LOOK
A) Endless freshwater pearl
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B) Black pleated fringe palazzo
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C) Brown mid-racer striped crop
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D) Red Italian leather fanny pack.
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10 | 01907
GET THE LOOK
A) Devinto black ruffled long sleeve top. $99. Available at Kat's Boutique, 212 Humphrey St. B) Black fringe long pocket vest. $125. Available at
Infinity Boutique, 427 Paradise Road C) Iridescent long-beaded knot necklace. $35. Yellow beaded cord necklace. $25. Available at Infinity Boutique,
427 Paradise Road D) Ace of Hearts box bag with gold link chain. $65. Available at Infinity Boutique, 427 Paradise Road. E) Black-and-white
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12 | 01907
A peek inside
25 Rockyledge Road
SALE PRICE: $7,700,000
SALE DATE: April 10, 2018
LIST PRICE: $7,995,000
TIME ON MARKET: 960 days
LISTING BROKER: Bill Willis
Jr. with Coldwell Banker Residential
Brokerage - Marblehead
SELLING BROKER: Bill Willis
Jr. with Coldwell Banker Residential
Brokerage - Marblehead
PREVIOUS SALE PRICE:
$1.2 million (1999)
PROPERTY TAXES: $114,876
YEAR BUILT: 1999
LOT SIZE: 0.96 acres
LIVING AREA: 14,657 square feet
BATHROOMS: 5 plus 3 half
Waterfront estate with sweeping
ocean views, designed with a
floor-to-ceiling curved wall of
glass to the second floor, black
walnut floors, expansive master
suite, an elevator, four fireplaces,
a wine cellar, five-car garage,
heated driveway, and infinity pool.
Source: MLS Property Information Network.
FALL 2018 | 13
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BY BRIDGET TURCOTTE
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
FALL 2018 | 15
You don't need a
golden ticket to visit
a chocolate factory
nestled in the heart
of Swampscott. You
won't be greeted by
a man in a purple
jacket and top hat, wielding a cane as he
walks seemingly weak and feeble down a
red carpet towards a looming gate at the
strike of a clock tower.
The chocolatiers, Carlo Bacci and
Erin Calvo-Bacci, won't bring you into a
world with chocolate rivers, Everlasting
Gobstoppers, and oompa loompas
But they will bring you to a place
where something almost as magical
C.B. Stuffer, located at 17 Columbia
St., got its start more than a decade
ago in the retail world with a recipe
for oversized peanut butter cups. It has
transitioned into mostly manufacturing
and online sales, adding solid chocolate
pizza, slices, and bars, but peanut butter
cups have remained the top seller,
maintaining about 90 percent of sales.
"What sets us apart — aside from
(selling) the largest peanut butter cup
in the industry — is our flavor profiles,"
The saucer-sized cups weigh in at 5.5
ounces each and the minis are just under
an ounce each.
Some stick with the tried-and-true
milk- and dark-chocolate peanut butter
cups, while others branch out and try the
peanut butter and jelly, s'mores, espresso,
maple walnut, or Cookie Monstah.
The most popular flavors are dark
chocolate with sea salt caramel and
bacon, said Calvo-Bacci.
The newest creation, a salted pretzel
peanut butter cup, was a family creation
crafted at the Bacci family table by the
couple and their three daughters Abigail,
Sarah, and Sofia.
From start to finish, the girls crafted
the idea for a sweet-and-salty treat and
Peanut butter filling for mini peanut-butter cups sit on a tra
Carlo Bacci and Erin Palvo-Bacci, who run CB Stuffer, show off their classic giant peanut butter cups
with seasonal decorations.
sketched a design for the marketing
"They were able to see all the stages
of bringing a product through," said
Calvo-Bacci, who stressed that a family
business becomes a part of family life.
Being located at an industrial site
in Swampscott, hidden between auto
body shops and painters, has its perks,
including privacy, accessibility by train,
and lower rent than most locations, said
Calvo-Bacci. But the couple also tries
to give back to the community in which
"We're a chocolate company, but
really, we are more," said Calvo-Bacci,
a Reading resident who is running
for state senate in the 5th Middlesex
District. "It's the social issues we care
The staff at C.B. Stuffer is small.
It averages about five employees, with
approximately 10 additional seasonal
hires. Calvo-Bacci said it's important
to her to hire locally and diversely.
Oftentime the employees hired are in
need of job training and support.
The couple has been involved with
Girls Inc. of Lynn, providing tours and
giving talks about starting a business, the
Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce, and
16 | 01907
most recently, job training for students at
the Northshore Education Consortium.
Their young employees are learning
firsthand about what it means to own
your own business. With assigned
tasks ranging from filling the cups with
chocolate to packaging the finished
products, they get a taste for every aspect
of the way the business is run.
"From seeing Carlo and Erin do it, it
looks stressful, but good," said Azianna
Walcott, a Salem State University
student. "I could take notes from them."
Lisaury De Jesus is a junior at Lynn
Vocational Technical Institute. She
hasn't started taking classes to get her
license yet, but she has learned the value
of hard work. De Jesus said she has
watched her bosses ensure that everyone
gets involved in learning what it takes to
run a business.
"We want people to grow with us, but
we also just want to see them succeed,"
Calvo-Bacci said. "We have 300
homeless high school students in Lynn.
We need to get these people working.
We need to lift these people up and
teach them work skills. Oftentimes they
don't have support and so our employees
become like an extension of our family."
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Unique soccer program has a common goal:
North Shore Rovers
volunteer Joseph Varghese
of Swampscott gets a hug
from Joey Demakes during
a break from soccer.
BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN
For many, Sundays are a
day of rest. Not so for
Gail and Jack Steele,
who at nearly the crack
of dawn are at Salem's
McGrath Park fields,
where more than 100
youngsters with disabilities and 125
volunteers eagerly await a morning of
The North Shore Rovers program
was founded by the Steeles and their
three children — Jackson, Eliza and
Dylan — in 2011. The free fall program
offers soccer for those age 3-21 with
intellectual and physical disabilities.
"It all started when my oldest son,
Jackson, volunteered with Special
Olympics when he was in middle
school," said Gail Steele. "My husband
and I both love soccer; we both played
the game and our kids play."
The couple approached Special
Olympics about running a soccer
program, and worked through that
organization for two years before
branching out on their own as a
nonprofit organization. It's all about
having fun, Gail Steele said.
Jack Steele credits their children
for helping to get the program off and
"Jackson simply got three of his
friends to help, who then got three more
friends, and it took off from there. And
it was kind of the same with Dylan. And
Eliza was also a very good player and
she knew sign language, so she was great
working with the non-verbal kids."
Jack Steele said soccer is a natural fit
for kids with special needs.
"Soccer is a great starter sport. You
don't need a lot of equipment to play
and it's not that technical at this level,"
he said. "Everyone is capable of kicking
a ball. These kids don't fit into a regular
town program and here they can play at
their own speed, while still having the
experience of being on a team. Most of
the kids have never been on a team before,
most of them have never won a trophy, so
they are truly getting an experience that
would not otherwise be available."
Every Rovers player is paired with
the same volunteer for the entire season
to maximize the one-on-one learning
experience. Volunteers come from area
On this season's opening day,
Swampscott High School juniors Anna
Levenburg and Lola Seligson were hard
at work helping Swampscott player Lily
Simons, a sixth-grader, with her ball
Lily, a spunky player with a great
sense of humor, said, "I like to be sneaky
and make sure the girls win. Girls are
better than boys, and the most fun is
stealing the ball from them so they don't
win. We have girl power, too."
Lynette Simons said her daughter has
been playing with the Rovers for five or
Claire Fazio, top, of Marblehead goes to kick a soccer ball during North Shore Rovers practice. Rori Carson, 7, of
Beverly runs up to volunteer Terry Rhoads of Swampscott to give her a high-five during the North Shore Rovers
practice. The North Shore Rovers, age 7-10 group, let out a cheer following practice.
FALL 2018 | 19
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"This is definitely the best year so far,"
Simons said. "The first goal was to just
get Lily on the field, and now she doesn't
even come over to me at all. She loves
soccer and loves the kids, so for us, the
program has been incredible."
Levenburg decided to volunteer
after reading about the Rovers on social
"I love the Rovers. It's such an
interactive approach where we get to
help the kids one-on-one on the field,"
she said. "Without this, these kids would
not have the opportunity to play and
have a day they all look forward to. As a
volunteer, it feels so great knowing that
we are doing something to help make
"It is very rewarding and I love
coming here every Sunday," Levenburg
added. "I've been here I think since I was
11, but it's just something I look forward
to every year. The kids are just great. I
just cannot imagine not coming. I know
I feel that I get as much enjoyment as
the kids do."
The program, which runs from early
September to early November, started in
Swampscott and has grown from about
15 players, in 2011, to more than 100
the past three years. Some players come
from as far away as Andover, Haverhill,
Rockport and Medford.
Interest is so intense there is a
waiting list for volunteers.
"It's amazing how many high school
kids want to be involved, and they come
back year after year until they graduate,"
said Gail Steele. "Ninety-eight percent of
volunteers are soccer players who spread
our story to their teammates, who then
also want to get involved. The players
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obviously benefit, but the volunteers get
to see firsthand what a difference they
can make in someone's life as a single
individual, which is so empowering as
they go off to college."
As a head coach, Jack Steele
supervises the game coaches. Gail Steele
is the master organizer and planner. She
said the program has strong support.
"The Cummings Foundation gives us
incredible support and the City of Salem
donates the fields," she said. "Dick's
(Sporting Goods) Foundation, the Salem
Five Charitable Foundation, and several
other community supporters make our
Players and volunteers from 21
communities are registered for this fall's
program, which began Sept. 9. The final
day of every season is bittersweet for
"On the last day, the players and
the volunteers give speeches about
their experience," Gail Steele said. "It's
amazing to hear how this program has
made a difference to so many. It's sad
that it's over, but that last day is just so
For Lily, that final day is special for
another reason: It's trophy day. "I can't
wait for trophy day," she said. "I wish
every Sunday was trophy day."
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BY BELLA diGRAZIA
PHOTOS BY SPENSER HASAK
As autumn approaches, the leaves change
colors, then fall, and your alcoholic taste
buds change, too. The renaissance of hard cider
has come and gone in New England. These
Massachusetts breweries are taking things to the
next level and spicing up their flavors. Whether you
are into the traditional taste, or you enjoy zestful
surprises, there is a hard cider out there for you.
WHO: Stormalong Cider
WHAT: Light Of The Sun
→ A crisp, refreshingly light take on a New England cider.
It is double-dry hopped with Citra and Mosaic hops,
then citrus enhanced with blood orange and ruby red
WHERE: Vinnin Liquors, 371 Paradise Rd., Swampscott.
WHO: Bantam Cider Company
A modern American cider made from local heirloom apples,
fermented with a hearty ale yeast, then aged with sour
cherries and black peppercorns.
WHERE: Vinnin Liquors, 371 Paradise Rd., Swampscott.
or visit the Bantam Cider taproom located at 40 Merriam
WHO: Far From the Tree Cider
WHAT: Apple of My Chai
→ A seasonal dry hopped cider with chai spice
and flavored with black tea, cinnamon, cloves,
cardamom, orange peel, and Massachusetts
WHERE: Vinnin Liquors, 371 Paradise Rd.,
OR visit the Far From the Tree tasting room
located at 108 Jackson St., Salem.
22 | 01907
There is an exciting new option for child care in Swampscott
and it comes with 160 years ofexperience. The YMCA’s long
history of meeting the needs of the community and providing
everyone access to essential Y programming is in full swing
with our new Swampscott Education Center located at the
St. John the Evangelist Parochial School on Blaney Street.
Just steps away from the Hadley School, the church’s historic
building has been re-imagined to expand our quality before
and after school programming right in Swampscott. This new
initiative offers 18,000 square feet of learning, including 6 after
school enrichment areas rooted in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technolo
gy, Engineering, Art, Math) and it serves children ages 5-12. Each child receives a free Youth Membership to
the Y and discounted Family Membership options. We are providing flexible schedules, and free transportation.
In the communities our Lynch/van Otterloo Y serves there remains a shortage of affordable and flexible early
education and after school care. We recognized a unique opportunity to increase options for families and
breathe new life into the Blaney Street location.
As an additional resource to working parents, the program will also be open when school is out for early release
days, vacations, holidays and snow days. This renovated space offers all new furniture, new program materials,
outdoor play space with planned raised garden beds, indoor gross motor space and a kitchen for fun cooking
Swampscott is a large part of our Lynch van/Otterloo Y community and we aim to serve an additional 150 early
learning and after school children and their families in Swampcott over the next twenty-four months.
We are glad to call 01907 our home.
Gerald MacKillop, Executive Director
Lynch/van Otterloo Y
I want to
- Reno Pisano
Left, sculptures in progress are scattered about Reno Pisano's studio. At right, Reno Pisano speaks about a sculpture in his home. PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
Sculpting a LIFE and a LEGACY
BY THOR JOURGENSEN
24 | 01907
After 96 years, Reno Pisano knows
the secret to a long life.
"Never finish anything," he said.
That maxim is on display inside his
Nahant garage studio, where works in
progress stand along the clutter of tools and
a makeshift forge fashioned from a furnace.
Among the unfinished pieces are a trio of
nudes and a sculpture of orator and onetime
Lynn resident Frederick Douglass.
Age can't keep Pisano from carving,
casting and creating art. A town
resident for more than 40 years, he
has an impressive resume of sculpting
His work, "Tectonic Eclipse," graces the
town library's lawn. Lynn is dotted with his
creations, including a Douglass monument
on the common and a carved tribute to
Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy.
His sculptures and the material
he works with reflect an inquisitive,
impatient spirit that age and time have
failed to tamp down. He switches from
plaster to marble to granite to wood
and epoxy, and his creations range from
a massive likeness of P.T. Barnum to
delicately rendered torsos.
For Pisano, art is not so much a
process of creation as it is an exploration
of the artist's abilities.
"Most artists will produce work
to impress others, but if that is
your mission, it almost immediately
compromises your objective," he said.
The son of a barber and a bridal
gown designer, Pisano grew up in Lynn's
Highlands, graduated from Classical
High School, and attended the Boston
Museum School for a semester before
joining the Army and taking part in
several World War II campaigns.
He went back to school after the war
and went to work for General Electric's
household division, creating stylistic designs
for appliances. The father of four was
married to his late wife, Mary, for 67 years.
Before channeling his energy into art,
Pisano funneled it into physical fitness to
overcome the effects of rheumatic fever.
He lifted weights at the old Lynn Market
Street YMCA and swam a mile a day.
Like many Nahant residents, he owned
a boat, but art has endured as his abiding
passion. He has forged his own tools to
create an implement capable of crafting clay
or plaster into the creation he envisions.
"I want to investigate the expressive
potential of the material," he explained.
Creative pursuits still give Pisano
time to contemplate Nahant's beauty as a
place balanced between land and sea.
"I appreciate how peaceful it is," he said.
BY GAYLA CAWLEY
Call it the long and winding road to
Greenwood Avenue: For Tom Groom, the
redevelopment of the former high school and
middle school on Greenwood Avenue into 28
luxury condominiums has been a project more
than six years in the making.
Groom, a Swampscott resident and the
owner of Salem-based Groom Construction,
originally won approval in 2012 for a 41-unit
condominium project on the site, but the
process was halted when neighbors filed suit in
The lawsuit challenged a zoning change
approved at Town Meeting, which allowed
for a multi-family unit on the parcel.That was
overturned in Massachusetts Land Court and
zoning reverted back to single-family housing.
Groom sued the town, with the town and
company working to settle the lawsuit while
the building sat vacant, having last served
as Swampscott Middle School until it was
shuttered in 2007.
Groom won approval for a smaller 28-unit
project last year, with the sale of the property
contingent upon the company dismissing its
lawsuit against the town. Neighbors during the
most recent process were still concerned that the
proposed development would be out of character
with the existing neighborhood and threatened
to again bring litigation against the town.
"It's a residential neighborhood, one- and
two-family homes," said Groom. "We did
our best to create a design that really fits as
best as you can, with similar style roofs to the
other homes (and) trying to bring the volume
down to the basis of the street. It's still the
elephant in the room, but we did our best to
Continued on next page
26 | 01907
design a building that would go in the
Despite the lengthy process, Groom,
who attended the Greenwood Avenue
school when it was the town's high
school, said he stuck with the project
because "somebody had to do it."
"If it wasn't going to be me, it was
going to be somebody else," Groom
said. "I think our goal is to build a really
nice product that at the end of the day,
everybody — the town and the people
who live there and us, of course — will
be proud of."
The condominiums will be priced
starting in the $600,000 range and will
be a mix of two- and three-bedroom
units. There will be 60 parking spaces,
with some in garages.
Construction of the new building
is expected to be completed by the
summer or fall of 2019. Town officials
estimate the project will generate at
least $325,000 annually in real estate tax
Demolition of the 1894 school marked
the loss of a piece of the town's history.
The former building served as the town's
first high school and was originally named
the Phillips School before becoming
Swampscott High School.
The building was such a long-time
fixture on top of Greenwood Avenue that
construction crews unearthed a 124-yearold
time capsule during the demolition
process. The capsule was buried on
April 28, 1894, the day the school was
The original school building was
designed and built in the Romanesque
style at a cost of $45,000 on land
donated to the town by the Phillips
family. It was situated at the top of
Greenwood Avenue with sweeping
views of the ocean and town. The only
structure located at the top of the hill
at the time, it could be seen from miles
away, according to Planning Board
chairwoman Angela Ippolito.
"The Greenwood (Avenue) school
was a property that generations of
Swampscott families have been endeared
to and it's going to be terrific to see that
property come back to some productive
use," said Town Administrator Sean
Fitzgerald. "At this point, we've been
able to resolve some long-standing issues
and we're advancing a redevelopment of
one of the most extraordinary locations
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The Oakland, which began life as the
Big Anawan, was a family-oriented hotel.
Visitors included the mother of "Little
Women" author Louisa May Alcott, who
brought a sick young family member to
the hotel for its healing sea air. It was
located on a hill across from Tupelo Road.
The Sunbeam Hotel, a slate and stone
castle with two turrets, was located where
big-box stores now sit on Paradise Road in
Vinnin Square. "It was the only thing in
that whole area for years," Gallo said. "There
was a flower farm, a driving range, even an
archery place on the Essex Street side."
The chef was brought in from The
Plaza hotel in New York City. The
Sunbeam's 60 acres also housed a farm
that produced eggs, dairy, and poultry for
The Cliff, in a 1900 brochure, boasted
that the hotel was a short seven-minute
walk from the train station. It was on the
site of what is now St. John's Church
parking lot on Humphrey Street, and the
only way to the beach was a trip down a
steep wooden staircase and over rocks.
The Willey House at 80 Humphrey
St. started as a boarding house in 1910
and became a hotel in the 1920s. It
burned in 1975, when it was known as
the Sea Breeze Inn.
Later-day hotels and inns included
the Preston Beach Motor Inn and Cap'n
Jack's Waterfront Inn.
Some information for this article was
obtained from the book "Swampscott
Massachusetts - Celebrating 150 Years
1852-2002" released by the Swampscott
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The house where a religion was born
BY THOR JOURGENSEN
Christian Science has an estimated
1,000 congregations worldwide, but its
birthplace is a yellow clapboard house at
23 Paradise Road.
The 10-room residence, surrounded
by a spacious lawn, was home to
Christian Science founder Mary Baker
Eddy from October 1865 to March
1866. She didn't live there long, but
what happened inside the house is much
more important to Christian Science
practitioners than the length of her stay.
Eddy clung to life in the house for
four days after slipping on ice at the
corner of Market and Oxford streets in
Lynn on Feb. 1, 1866. As a doctor and
friends said their farewells to her, Eddy,
44, lay in the kitchen in her second-floor
apartment near the warmth of the stove.
An account of her spectacular Feb. 4
recuperation is included in "Science and
Health," her most noted work on her
faith. While reading a passage by Mark
in the Bible describing one of Jesus'
A view of the backyard at the Mary Baker Eddy house.
healings, "She found herself suddenly
well. She got up and got dressed."
The inspiration Eddy drew from
her remarkable recovery in the house
framed the core belief she outlined in
her biography: "I was trying to trace all
physical effects to a mental cause."
In ill health most of her life, Eddy
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
moved into the Paradise Road home
built by successful fish merchant
Armenius Newhall. The house lacked
running water but its rooms included a
mid-19th century novelty: closets. Most
people kept clothing and other items in
freestanding wardrobes. Paradise Road
at the time was a dirt road ending in
Paradise Woods, and a stream flowed
behind the house past a fish pond and
The house remained in private hands
until Mary Beecher Longyear, a friend of
Eddy's, bought it in 1920. It was opened
for tours in 1935.
Visitors tour the house individually
and in groups during its open season
from May 1 to Oct. 31, with live-in site
manager Arden Carlson guiding them
through the home's history and Eddy's
life. Some visitors are Christian Science
members tracing their faith's history.
Others are history lovers.
"We get people from all over the
world," Carlson said.
The former Chicago interior designer
has lived in the house for about a year
and guides tours Thursday through
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on
Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
An original charcoal portrait of Mary Baker Eddy
hangs in the first-floor parlor of her house.
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