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02 | 01907
A publication of Essex Media Group
Edward M. Grant
Chief Executive Officer
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Edward M. Grant
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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
04 What's Up
06 The doctor is in
10 Faith's-eye view
12 House Money
14 Welcome home
18 COVID cohorts
20 Life saver
22 Labor of love
24 Standing tall
26 A fresh start
28 Quite a lady
30 Municipal marvels
'At the crossroads of history,
literature and religion'
In the face of the ever-worsening COVID-19 pandemic, the town was able to celebrate something
positive in October — the return of students to school. Even if it was only part of the time.
Superintendent Pam Angelakis in August outlined her plan to start the year with remote learning, and transition
to hybrid on Oct. 26. Even though the news kept getting worse with regards to another coronavirus spike, Angelakis
stuck to her schedule. And she was ecstatic once the day came and students were back at their desks.
“I saw happy students, happy parents, and happy teachers,” she said as she cheerfully greeted students
outside Swampscott Middle School with principal Jason Calichman. Elyse Carmosino has the story.
Bishop Robert P. Reed is a jack-of-all trades. The Swampscott native is an author; is CEO of
ICatholic Media, which includes the massive CatholicTV network; is a television talk-show host; serves
approximately 68 parishes and schools as Vicar General Regional Bishop (West region); and is pastor at
St. Patrick and Sacred Heart parishes in Watertown.
It all began at the St. John's School, originally part of St. John the Evangelist parish on Humphrey Street.
"I think I knew I wanted to go into the priesthood when I was about eight years old," Bishop Reed
said. "I was impressed by the parish priests and that's where I first dreamed of being a priest." Anne
Marie Tobin has the story.
In 2019, "The Green Book," a movie written by Lynn native Brian Hayes Currie, won an Oscar for best
picture. One of Currie's friends is Nancy Schultz of Swampscott, Schultz who has written extensively on
historical matters, and about everything from the Salem Witch Trials to the "Green Book" to Harriet
Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and how she found connections between that book and the
Holocaust when she went to Poland to lecture.
Says Schultz, "I work at the crossroads of history, literature and religion."
Schultz is up this month with an essay about the Boynton Street home that was mentioned in the "Green
Book" for 15 years from 1939 through 1954. And Steve Krause takes a turn profiling Schultz in a second story.
This issue of 01907 hits the issue of diversity head on, with two other stories that touch on the subject.
First, Guthrie Scrimgeour has a story on Keli Khalib, co-founder of Swampscott Unites Respects
and Embraces (SURE), an organization founded in 2016 to celebrate all aspects of human diversity.
"Diversity doesn't just mean color," said Khalib. “People look at Swampscott and see mostly white faces.
And they often say there’s no diversity. And that isn’t true. Diversity means age, abilities, where you’re
from, socio-economic status.”
We also have Natasha Soolkin, regional director of the New American Center in Lynn, who emigrated
from the old Soviet Union 30 years ago. So she knows how difficult it can be for the immigrants and
refugees she works with to adjust to their new home in the United States. Gayla Cawley profiles her.
Deb Bogardus wanted to use Andrews Memorial Chapel 20 years ago for a service honoring her
late sister. What she saw when she opened the doors sparked a labor of love by more than a dozen
townspeople that endures today. Thor Jourgensen has the story.
Our 01907 also covers 01908. And for many, the thought of Nahant brings to mind hot days on the
beach, but for Calantha Sears the town means much more — everything in fact. Sears has spent nearly
a century in Nahant, calling it her home and leaving her imprint on the state's smallest municipality.
Daniel Kane has the story.
Finally, the Nahant Life Saving Station on Nahant Road has seen a lot in its 120 years of existence.
Now, the station is finding new life as an event venue. Mike Alongi has the story.
Schultz stands in
front of a local home
that welcomed Black
Americans 70 years ago.
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04 | 01907
Build something tasty
What: Swampscott Recreation
sponsors a gingerbread house contest -
Where: Go to swampscottma.myrec.com
When: Send in a photo of your
gingerbread house with the person
entering the contest's name and age
printed on paper in the photo to
Dstrauss@swampscottrec.com by Dec. 15.
Share your life
What: Contribute your stories,
photographs, videos, music and art to
"Swampscott: Life in quarantine," the
public library's digital diary chronicling
life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where: Email submissions to
When: This is an ongoing project and
more than one submission is welcome.
Keep the music playing
What: Donations are being accepted
to support the Swampscott by the Sea
summer concert series.
Where: Go to swampscottma.myrec.com
for donation information.
When: Donations are currently being
accepted through Dec. 1.
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BEVERLY | NORTH READING | PLAISTOW, N.H.
What: The Senior Center is closed but
offering a limited transportation program.
Where: Call 781-596-8866 for information.
When: Center staff is on-site Monday-
Friday, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
A musical morning
What: Musical morning with Ms.
MaryBeth is a chance for kids to
sing and dance along with a virtual
performance by acclaimed musician
Where: Swampscott Library YouTube
When: Fridays, 10:30 a.m.
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06 | 01907
Standing at History's
BY STEVE KRAUSE
Nancy Lusignan Schultz defines her work thusly: "I work at the intersection of
history, literature and religion."
The history and literature part of that equation is easy enough to understand. She
loves history and is considered Swampscott's pre-eminent female historian.
Schultz has written several books on history and was an English professor at Salem
State until her retirement last year. Also, one of her essays — a study of the Harriet
Beecher Stowe novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and how it relates to the Holocaust in
Europe during World War II — won an EXTRA! Award presented by the Honor
Society of Phi Kappa Phi, which is the nation's oldest and most selective honor society
for all academic disciplines.
Nancy Lusignan Schultz,
Ph.D, dug into the history
of 3 Boynton St., a local
home included in the
20th-century travel guide
for Black Americans called
The Green Book.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
08 | 01907
"I don't think you can study the
history of the United States without
looking at religion," said Schultz, whose
essay on how a house in Swampscott
made it into The Green Book of literary
and cinema fame accompanies this
article. "One of the more important
components of our history, starting
about 400 years ago, was fleeing religious
She notes the irony of early settlers
coming in from the Mayflower (the
400th anniversary of the landing on
Plymouth Rock is Dec. 18) and setting
up their own restrictive, Puritanical
The Green Book was an annual
directory of homes in the U.S. that
welcomed traveling Black Americans. It
flourished during the Jim Crow era.
The movie, written by Lynn native
Brian Hayes Currie, was named best
picture in 2018 and almost immediately,
there were rumblings about how
historically accurate it really was. That
makes Schultz bristle a little.
First, of all, Currie is a friend of hers.
And second, she's fully aware that the
primary purpose of film is to entertain,
except when it is clearly presented as
"I was aware of the development of
the movie," said Schultz. "Regardless
of what people thought about the
movie, and the controversy around it,
it succeeded in bringing awareness of
the situation. We know about this era
because of the movie.
"I don't know why Hollywood
movies that are declaring themselves as
Hollywood movies have to be accurate
history," she said. "A Hollywood movie
is based on what's going to make a good
movie. I would distinguish between that
and a documentary. A movie is designed
to tell a good story."
Schultz's official capacity with the
town is as the secretary of the historical
society. And the commission was behind
the research project on the Boynton
Street house. She just wrote the essay.
She said she began hearing about
Boynton Street when a friend of hers
sent her information. Currie had spoken
at Salem State, which sponsored several
events around his appearance there.
At the same time, Jay Duffy, owner of
3 Boynton Street now, got in touch
with Justina Oliver, chairwoman of the
"He said he had seen the listing of the
Three Boynton Street was a mid-20th century stayover spot for Black Americans.
house in an exhibition about The Green
Book at the Smithsonian," Schultz said.
"He was in touch with Justina to discuss
it. It's really sort of synchronicity in a lot
of ways how this all came together."
Beyond the usual research the
historical commission might do on a
subject such as this, "we went further and
did a little deep digging into a couple of
What the commission's research
found was that there was a Black couple
who lived at the address for 30 years
toward the turn of the 20th century. The
next owners were interracial, she said.
"I feel this is important to focus on,
given the history of the house," she said.
The Green Book lists the house as a
tourist home from 1939 through 1954,
and it is the only house on the North
Shore where Black tourists could be
welcome, Schultz said. During that
time, both owners were profiled in the
"That was certainly very unusual for
that particular time and place," she said.
The house was built in 1870
and "what I tried to do was draw a
connection between that era, and all the
great estates in Swampscott from 1870
"That was the town's heyday," she
said. "You had the Elihu Thomson house,
the train station, and so many others.
They all stem from the era of great
estates. Here, this history was being lived
at the same time, on the other side of
town. And it gets overlooked.
"Regular people lived here too,"
she said. "They weren't all founders of
General Electric or captains of industry."
Her mention of General Electric
brings her back to her childhood in
"It was a challenging place," she said.
"When I was younger, everyone worked
for GE, including my father. As GE got
smaller and smaller, it became difficult.
The GE employment supported a very
bustling town. But it has struggled."
Her route from west to east followed
a conventional path. Her first stop, after
graduating from Mrs. Hall's School, was
College of the Holy Cross and when
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she was done there, she kept going east,
finally achieving her doctorate at Boston
College and acquiring a professorship at
Teaching "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to a
class at Salem State, she encountered
one student to whom Harriet Beecher
Stowe's humor was lost. The student
was distressed at the book's "insensitive"
portrayal of Black people.
Then, she went to Krakow, Poland,
to lecture there, and was struck by the
similarities between the portrayal of
Blacks in the book and the way Jews
were perceived in the years leading up to
World War II and the Holocaust.
"Teaching the book in Poland
changed my perspective in ways I hadn’t
anticipated and made me rethink what it
means to know a book well," she wrote
in the award-winning essay.
In that vein, she has researched and
wrote on the Salem witch trials, another
passion of hers, which took place only 72
years after the Mayflower landing.
"That," she says, "is another story, for
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218 Beacon St.
10 | 01907
BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN
A jack-of-all trades.
That, in a nutshell, describes Bishop
Robert P. Reed. Simply put, the
Swampscott native brings multi-tasking
to a new level.
Whether it's Bishop Reed's work as
an author, as CEO of ICatholic Media
(an umbrella organization for the
massive CatholicTV network, which
he serves as president), television talk
show host, or videotaping television
messages from Cardinal Sean
O'Malley, this man does it all.
Oh, and he also serves approximately
68 parishes and schools as Vicar General
Regional Bishop (West region) and
tends to his flock every day as priest and
pastor at St. Patrick and Sacred Heart
parishes in Watertown.
It all began at the St. John's School,
originally part of St. John the Evangelist
parish on Humphrey Street.
"I think I knew I wanted to go into
the priesthood when I was about eight
years old," Bishop Reed said. "I was
impressed by the parish priests and that's
where I first dreamed of being a priest."
Born in 1959, Bishop Reed is
the youngest of five siblings. After
elementary school he moved on
to another St. John's — St. John’s
Preparatory School. He prepared for
the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary
in Brighton and the Pontifical North
American College in Rome and was
ordained a Catholic priest in 1985.
He has an advanced degree in
television management from Boston
University's School of Communications.
He was appointed president of
CatholicTV in 2005 and was ordained
an auxiliary bishop by Pope Francis in
Bishop Robert P. Reed, CEO of ICatholic Media, relaxes on the CatholicTV set in Watertown with
CatholicTV General Manager Jay Fadden.
COURTESY PHOTO: ROBERT P. REED
Bishop Reed is the head of a vast
television empire serving Catholics all
across the world. He said there are 18.6
millions households that subscribe to
the network's different systems. Over the
past six to eight years, Bishop Reed has
worked diligently to help the network
expand to other platforms, including Fire
TV, Roku TV, Amazon, Apple TV and
Samsung, among several others.
The network also has a "wellnarrated"
com and an active YouTube channel,
both of which are popular overseas with
He also works in front of the camera.
He is a celebrant of the network's daily
Masses. He hosts the game show WOW:
The CatholicTV Challenge, as well as
House+Home; the interview series Inter
Nos; and several Blink segments. He
has traveled the world recording (and
praying) the mysteries of the rosary and
is a regular co-host of CatholicTV's
signature talk series This is the Day.
On the ministry side, Bishop Reed's
official title is Titular Bishop of Sufar,
Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, Vicar
General Regional Bishop, West Region.
He works with 68 parishes and schools
to support the work of the archdiocese.
Bishop Reed has served in 11
parishes. Among the communities
he has served are Malden, Norwood,
Dorchester, Haverhill, Whitman and
Watertown. Bishop Reed says he is
seeing an increase in need, not just in the
parishes he serves, but everywhere.
"Our TV mail and communications is
way up, so much so that we are triaging
and answering much more mail and we
are also seeing more activity through
social media and on our website,"
he said, adding, "I hear some very
heartwarming stories, but there is a lot of
anxiety and suffering out there."
Bishop Reed said that prayer
intention submissions have skyrocketed,
especially as the month of November is
dedicated to prayers for the dead.
"The number of names sent in has
tripled to 120,000," he said. "I don't ever
recall that many."
When the pandemic hit back in
March, business at the Watertown
television station hardly skipped a beat.
"We were built for virtual Masses
as TV has always been our avenue to
providing digital church services and
Masses for the elderly and sick who
couldn't get to the physical church to go
to Mass," Bishop Reed said. "We didn't
have to try that hard to adjust as we
I think I knew I wanted
to go into the priesthood
when I was about
eight years old. I was
impressed by the
parish priests and
that's where I first
dreamed of being a
—BISHOP ROBERT P. REED
were, in many ways, operating that way
What did change for this son of
Swampscott was his calendar-packed
"I always did a lot of traveling, but
now everything is virtual," he said.
On a typical day, Bishop Reed
finishes a video-recording session with
Cardinal Sean O'Malley to create short
messages for group distribution. Among
the topics discussed during the session
was the Catholic Charities organization.
"The demand on Catholic Charities
has absolutely skyrocketed as there are
so many people who are struggling in so
many ways," he said.
His favorite part of the "job?" Being
a humble parish priest for whom the
glass isn't just half full, it's overflowing
at the top.
"My heart really is in the parish work
I do," said Bishop Reed. "I love saying
daily Masses and greeting people after
church. Right now, we are working on a
life-size Disney-esque nativity. It's the
everyday things, everything else, that
supports life in the parish.
"I love my life and am fortunate to
have been able to do what I've done," he
said, "But there is so much more to do."
WINTER 2020 | 11
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WINTER 2020 | 13
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or workshop. Large backyard and patio
featuring fireplace-based grill.
Source: MLS Property Information Network.
14 | 01907
BY NANCY LUSIGNAN
Editor's note: This story by eminent
local historian Dr. Nancy Lusignan Schultz
is about a Swampscott home that, during
various times throughout its 150-year
history, has been a place of hope, a safe
haven, and a testament to the town's
deeply-rooted and varied history.
"The Green Book," a 2018 Academy
Award-winning movie told the story
of The Negro Motorist Green Book, a
guide published from the 1930s to the
1960s to advise Black travelers where to
stay. It included a stop in Swampscott.
Three Boynton Street was owned
by William and Mary Emma Allen
a century ago and the 1939 Negro
Motorist Green Book lists the house
under “Swampscott Tourist Homes”
as“Mrs. M. Home—3 Boynton Street.”
According to The Green Book, the
Allen’s home in Swampscott was one
of the few, or only, places where Black
tourists would have been welcomed to
lodge on Boston’s North Shore.
In 1936, Victor Hugo Green, a
Harlem postman, began publishing
his guide for Black American travelers
as they journeyed by automobile
throughout the United States.
An instant success, The Green Book,
as it became known, provided Black
travelers of the era with information
on hotels, restaurants, service stations,
and other facilities where they would be
In the era of Jim Crow and "sundown
towns," this knowledge, according to The
Smithsonian, was not just helpful — it
could save someone's life.
The movie starring Mahershala Ali
and Viggo Mortensen, and co-written
and produced by North Shore native
Brian Hayes Currie, centers on the story
of a working class Italian-American,
Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, who accepts a
position as the chauffeur of acclaimed
How a local house
mirrored a nation's history
Black classical pianist, Dr. Don Shirley,
as he embarks on a concert tour of the
southern United States during the 1960s.
The film depicts Tony consulting The
Green Book at various times as he drives
Dr. Shirley to the deep South. Tony’s
eyes are opened to the racist indignities
and dangers his employer must endure,
and which he as an Italian-American
also experiences to a lesser extent.
William Allen, who had previously
lived in Lynn, purchased 3 Boynton in
June 1903 and the Allens owned the
property for more than 30 years.
For its first three decades, the
property had been used as a residence
and an apothecary. Census records and
town directories provide snippets of
information about the Allens. Their race
is listed as Black and William Allen was
born in New York in September 1869
and Mary, in Maryland, in May 1873.
They married approximately in 1887,
and had no children. In 1900, the Allens
were renting in Lynn, and the census
lists William’s occupation as “actor” but
states that he had been unemployed for
three months. Mary was a “laundress.”
By 1906, William Allen had been
living at 3 Boynton for three years, and
his occupation was then “laborer.”
In both the 1910 and 1920 census,
William is listed as a gardener and
the 1920 census adds the additional
information that he worked for a private
estate. He could read and write, the poll
tells us, and he owned his house without
In 1930, William and Mary had a
lodger staying at their house, Chester
H. Allen, age 29, who worked as an
embosser in a leather shop. That year,
their home was valued at $5,000.
William Allen is listed in the 1931
Swampscott directory, but the next
available directory in 1936 indicates that
Mary had become a widow.
By the late 1930s, it appears that
Mary Allen was operating the house as a
With its 400-year history and decades
of notoriety as a seaside destination
for the wealthy, it's easy to overlook
Swampscott's less-famous residents like
the Allens and their important place in
Incorporated as a separate town from
Lynn in 1852 when it was a fishing
village, Swampscott saw its historical
heyday, according to Dorothy M.
Anderson’s "The Era of the Summer
Estates, Swampscott, Massachusetts,"
More than 60 opulent mansions
were built by late nineteenth century
owned by captains of industry who used
“summer” as a verb to mean “relaxing in
their seaside ‘cottages.’”
WINTER 2020 | 15
Built in the National Folk style in 1870, 3
Boynton St. has its original wood floors.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
By the turn of the 20th century,
these vacation homes had become even
more extravagant, and there were many
famous visitors to Swampscott, including
President Calvin A. Coolidge whose
White Court served as the “Summer
White House” in 1925.
Affluent families flocked to the town’s
exclusive hotels: the Preston, Lincoln
House, and The New Ocean House.
Many of Swampscott’s best-known
historical sites also date from this era:
the Elihu Thompson house (now the
Town Hall), the Olmsted District, the
Fish House, and Andrews Chapel.
With so much attention given to
a narrow swath of this period of town
history, it’s become too easy to overlook
the stories of the year-round and less
famous Swampscott residents who lived
here at the turn of the century.
The neighborhoods bordering East
Lynn have several homes that date back
to the era of the summer estates, and
one has recently been discovered to have
Some of the serving staff, gardeners
and handymen who worked on the
estates likely stayed or lived here. They,
too, have lives worth documenting and
lived in homes intrinsic to the town's
The Allen house was built in 1870 on
what had then been known as Boynton
Court. According to Richard Smith, an
architect and member of the Swampscott
Historical Commission, the house
at 3 Boynton is National Folk-style,
common in the United States between
1850-1930. Folk style was popularized
as large commercial lumber yards began
producing standardized materials that
could be shipped long distances by rail.
Vernacular cottages such as these
were built with “...balloon framing
rather than post and beam,” Smith notes.
The house at 3 Boynton, concludes the
architect, is of the “...gable front and
wing family where a basic gable form
has a wing at right angles. The window
proportions and simple palette of
materials fit with this style.”
While The Green Book covered
locations across the country, 3 Boynton
Street was a rare Green Book listing.
“Mrs. M’s Home” was among
several sites spotlighted in a 2019
exhibition about The Green Book in the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington,
Currently, “The Negro Motorist
Green Book” is a travelling Smithsonianaffiliated
exhibition, on view at the
National Civil Rights Museum,
Memphis, Tennessee, until January 3,
2021. This exhibition is premiering at
the Lorraine Motel, a memorialized site
where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
was assassinated. The Lorraine had long
been listed in Victor Green’s guide and is
now one of a few surviving Green Book
Three Boynton was listed in the
Green Book for 11 consecutive years,
between 1939 to 1954 (the book
suspended publication from 1942-1946
because of World War II.) The charming
property has an interesting past, as
uncovered by the Swampscott Historical
Commission, and adds an important
dimension to our understanding of a
more inclusive town history.
The Essex County Registry of Deeds
records that in September 1870, James
Bryant of Swampscott sold the lot of
land to Oliver Pettigrew of Lynn for
$400. By 1873, according to the Lynn
Directory, the house was both a residence
In 1879, Oliver and his wife Mary
sold the property and moved out of state.
The 1880 U.S. Census confirms that
Oliver and Mary Pettigrew were living in
Alton, New Hampshire.
The transfer of ownership leading up
to William and Mary Allen included,
beginning in 1870, when James Bryant
sold the house to Oliver Pettigrew.
In 1879, Pettigrew sold it to George
and Sarah Bachelder. In 1889, the
GREEN BOOK, page 16
16 | 01907
GREEN BOOK, continued from page 15
Batchelders sold to William C. Stone.
In 1901, Thomas Stone (son of William)
sold to Joseph Dodge and in 1903,
Dodge sold 3 Boynton to William Allen.
The home's importance to Black
travelers is illuminated by the 1938
Green Book. It lists only two hotels
in Boston that welcomed Blacks: The
Harriet Tubman and the Melbourne.
Victor Green’s introduction to the
1938 edition states, “There are thousands
of places that the public doesn’t know
about and aren’t listed. Perhaps you
might know of some? If so send in their
names and addresses and the kind of
business, so that we might pass it along
to the rest of your fellow Motorists.”
By 1939, someone had sent in the
information to include 3 Boynton, and
the address was included in The Green
Book. It would continue as a listing
every year until 1954. Mary Emma Allen
passed away in the late 1930s or early
1940s. In July 1941, the Essex County
Registry records that Mary Emma
Allen’s heirs, Ethel Trusty, Agnes Holley,
Dorothy Trusty and Jerome Trusty, all of
Baltimore, Maryland, had sold the house
to Antonio J. Cardozo of Boston.
Cardozo immediately sold the
property to Anna Battagliese, wife of
Gaetano F. Battagliese. Anna would live
at 3 Boynton until her death in 1967;
Gaetano lived there until he died in
1974. Their marriage was an unusual
union for the time: Gaetano was Italian,
Anna was Black, and theirs was what was
called a “mixed marriage.” Anna was nine
years older than Gaetano, and both were
Catholic. They had married in 1929 and
lived for some years in Boston.
While Massachusetts had legalized
interracial marriage in 1843, during the
years between 1913-1948, thirty out of
the then forty-eight states enforced antimiscegenation
laws. It was not until 1967
that the Supreme Court ruled in Loving
versus Virginia that anti-miscegenation
laws were unconstitutional, and
interracial marriage became legal in every
Still, as late as 2015, the Pew
Research Center found that only 17
percent of newlyweds married someone
of a different race.
Given these circumstances, Gaetano
and Anna, who married in 1929, were
Gaetano had been born January
2, 1896 in Soudaspide, Italy, the son
of Francis Battagliese and Angelina
Consolomargo. At age seventeen, he
boarded the ship Canopic and sailed for
Boston, arriving June 5, 1913. He seems
to have left Italy accompanied by only a
Four years later, in June 1917, the
twenty-one-year old registered for the
World War I draft. He recorded his
status as “alien.” Gaetano had been living
in Marlboro, Massachusetts, and worked
at a shoe factory there. During the
early 1930s, after his marriage to Anna,
he worked as a shoemaker in Boston.
Neighbors recall him as a slight man
with dark eyes and thick accent.
By the 1940s, he was unemployed
and again registered for the draft for the
second World War at age 47. Gaetano
and Anna (Mabel) Battagliese had been
already living at 3 Boynton since at
least 1940, according to the Swampscott
Directory. Gaetano’s wife, Anna Eliza
Thompson Battagliese, also known as
Mabel, had been born in Plainfield, N.J.,
July 14, 1887, the daughter of David
GREEN BOOK, page 31
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Swampscott High School junior Cole
Hammernick takes notes on his laptop
during his English class.
PHOTOS: SPENSER HASAK
BY ELYSE CARMOSINO
Call it the grand scheme: Sticking to
a plan configured in August, the town's
public schools returned to in-person
learning Oct. 26.
For Superintendent Pamela
Angelakis, the delayed start from the
traditional late-summer opening only
added to the joy of having students and
teachers back in school buildings.
“I saw happy students, happy parents,
and happy teachers,” she said as she
cheerfully greeted students outside
Swampscott Middle School with
Principal Jason Calichman.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had so
many middle schoolers say that their day
was awesome when they were leaving,”
Calichman added. “They were so happy
to be there.”
The joyful moments were built on
months of hard work by Swampscott
educators designing and implementing
safety protocols throughout the district.
Students appear, for the most part,
to have adjusted to their new normal,
easing quietly into routines that include
sanitizing their hands before entering
the building, following directional arrows
on their way to class, and wearing masks.
Phrases like "social distancing" and
"cohort" have become the new normal —
at least for this academic year.
Under the town’s hybrid learning
model approved by the Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education
(DESE) earlier this year, students
are divided into Cohort A (in school
Monday and Tuesday); Cohort B
(in school Thursday and Friday), and
Cohort C, which consists of higher-need
students who are in school every day.
Swampscott High School Principal
Dennis Kohut said his students walk
single-file in the hallways and use
different doors when entering and
exiting the building to avoid clustering.
“I felt like we were in a really good
position when we started off remote, and
then hybrid I think has also gone well,”
he said. “It was really good to see the
kids in person.”
Some students were still learning at
home as of Nov. 5: 152 of Kohut’s students
chose to remain entirely remote through
the end of the semester. The remaining 539
are divided into cohorts A and B.
Senior Ryan Henry is in cohort A
and said perhaps one of the biggest
Tech Ninja Neirit Mahabub, a junior, runs
through repair tickets for computers.
adjustments to the hybrid model has
been the dramatic reduction in day-today
interactions with peers.
Henry explained that with at least
half the student population learning
remotely on any given day, the building
often feels unnaturally quiet — not at all
like a bustling high school.
“You miss out on seeing probably half
of the people you’d normally see in school,
which is really strange, and even then you
don’t really get to talk with them because
class time now is so much more valuable
for teachers than it was before,” he said.
“It definitely feels half-full.”
For educators on the other side of
things, the learning curve has been
WINTER 2020 | 19
I feel like students are
benefiting in the way
that I’ve had to step
up my game a lot.
— LISA GREEN
Veteran history teacher Lisa Green
said she’s been forced to re-examine the
ways she engages her students now that
a more hands-on approach is no longer
an option, adding that figuring out a
way to give all of her students equal
opportunities while juggling a number
of different platforms has been an
exhausting experience for all involved.
“I try to give everybody equal access to
education, but some of my kids are totally
remote and I want to make sure I pay
attention to them,” she said, explaining
that it can be much harder to make a
connection with students who are entirely
online. “As a history teacher, personal
connections are everything, and for
some of the kids who are more outgoing
personalities, it is such a difference for
them to even see me once a week.”
She added: “The pedagogy is probably
almost better remote at this point, but
the human connection is still nice for
hybrid … As bad as it all is, I forgot
how much I love the kids. That’s why
I’m here. Even seeing them a little bit
definitely warms my heart.”
There have been some silver linings.
Recognizing a chance to improve
her teaching style, Green enrolled in a
digital media class through Salem State
University earlier this year.
“I'm doing all these interactive things
online that I never knew how to do,”
she said with a laugh. “I made a video
using iMovie, I learned about blogging, I
learned how to do a podcast.
“I feel like students are benefiting in the
way that I’ve had to step up my game a lot.”
Swampscott High School adjustment
counselor Sarah Kelley, who helped
devise the school’s hybrid learning plan,
has also seen a number of silver linings
to an otherwise less-than-ideal situation.
With remote learning, students and
educators are able to see one another
in their own “habitat,” which allows
them to get to know one another
more personally, she said. In addition,
the more regimented class schedule
— different from the school’s former
“waterfall” rotation — has done wonders
for students and teachers who thrive on
Kelley did add that she still worries
about being able to reach students in a
meaningful way, especially during such a
To help combat the issue, the district
implemented a 20-minute advisory
period where students meet with a
teacher or school official in small groups
every Monday and Friday, which allows
educators to simply check in on their
kids and talk with them.
“Our biggest concern and our biggest
priority will always be figuring out how
to stay connected to students when they
don’t feel connected to adults in the
building and don’t feel connected to the
school community,” she said. “(Students)
who don’t feel connected to the school
community tend to not engage as well.
That’s really our biggest challenge in
Kohut has made a habit of
emphasizing to students what he calls
the “Big Blue 'Be's,” which have now
expanded to include “be masked” and “be
“We’re all kind of in a rush for this to
end, but we have to be patient because
we don’t know when or what an ending is
going to look like for this thing,” he said.
“Kids and our staff, they’re really resilient
people and I think they just really wanted
to be back. It’s a little bit annoying to
have to do these things, but they all
understand how important it is.”
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20 | 01907
A Life Saving Station
finds new life
BY MIKE ALONGI
The Nahant Life Saving Station, which
sits prominently on Nahant Road, has
seen a lot in its 120 years of existence.
Since its establishment in 1900, the Life
Saving Station has housed the Life Saving
Service, the United States Coast Guard,
an American Legion Post and a host of
other organizations. And now, the station
is finding new life as an event venue.
In response to the tragic wreck
(including loss of the crew) of the
coal schooner Charles Briggs off the
coast of Nahant in the winter of 1898,
Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot
Lodge was moved to request that the
town vote “to give to the United States a
suitable site for a Life Saving Station.”
The station was established in 1900,
and was one of 33 such stations built
in the state. It is the only one that was
not built to a standard plan, and is one
of only 12 stations to survive in any
significant form today.
Designed by architect Victor
Mindeleff — the station is unique among
the life-saving stations, as it is designed
to launch rescue boats on both ocean
and harbor sides of the station. The
Life Saving Station is also listed in the
Massachusetts Register of Historic Places,
having been placed on the list in 2012.
The Life Saving Service later
combined with the U.S. Revenue Cutter
Service in 1915 to become what we
know now as the U.S. Coast Guard. The
Coast Guard Station remained active at
the station until 1964.
The federal government maintained
the buildings as a seasonal recreational
site for members of the Armed Forces
until 1996. The building was returned
The Nahant Life Saving
Station is a Nahant fixture.
PHOTO: OLIVIA FALCIGNO
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to the town of Nahant in 1999, and the
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With community support, the Life
Saving Station has now been fully
restored for adaptive re-use, and it
has housed the Mortimer G. Robbins
American Legion Post 215 since 2011.
In addition to housing Post 215, the
Life Saving Station has been reborn as a
venue for small events. The Nahant Life
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BY THOR JOURGENSEN
The shock Deb Bogardus received
when she opened Andrews Memorial
Chapel’s doors almost 20 years ago
sparked a labor of love by more than a
dozen townspeople that endures today.
Bogardus planned to use the chapel,
located in Swampscott Cemetery, for a
memorial service honoring her late sister.
Inside it, she found leaves, dirt and birds.
“We cleaned it up and it was a
beautiful day, but I got right to the
(Board of ) Selectmen and said, ‘You can’t
let this go into disrepair,’” Bogardus said.
She ended up on a town committee
that had its hands full with finding
money to repair the chapel.
In the last 20 years, Andrews has
undergone a revival that restored the
building to its former status as a local
architectural gem and a location for
wedding ceremonies and memorial
The Isaac H. Andrews Chapel was
built in 1923-1924 at the bequest
of Ellen Andrews, in memory of
her husband, a former Swampscott
Selectman, Assessor and resident. Total
price tag — $32,000.
The non-denominational chapel was
designed by architect Charles V. Burgess
in the Norman Gothic style with a heavy
slate roof and buttresses to support the
structure. The building and cemetery
were added to the National Register of
Historic Places in 2013.
After Andrews fell into disrepair,
town leaders had to decide whether
to raze or repair the structure. In fact,
Bogardus had the last event in the chapel
— the memorial service for her late
sister in 2001.
Around that time, the town set aside
$150,000 for the chapel’s restoration.
Andrews Chapel is located inside Swampscott Cemetery on Essex Street.
But this was not used until 10 years later
when the town replaced old stones in the
exterior, realigned the walls and tower,
and repaired the old slate roof.
The work effectively shored up the
exterior of the building so that rain,
mold, animals and teenagers could not
get inside. But a lot of work remained,
and money had to be raised for each task.
Swampscott residents William and
Jane Mosakowski agreed to match all
donations and grants up to $75,000 to
help finish restoration of the chapel.
Part of this gift included matching
a $30,000 grant the town restoration
committee had received.
Electrician John Barnes rewired the
chapel’s rotted electrical system. Stephen
Hayes undertook construction work and
Robert Dandreo replastered the damaged
walls. Window restorer Tom Barber
volunteered to recreate the chapel’s
stained glass windows.
Lynn furniture maker and restorer
PHOTO: OLIVIA FALCIGNO
Ron Trapasso spent nine months
working on the chapel’s dilapidated
Trapasso also guided town resident
and Boy Scout Michael Norcott in
restoring 16 of the chapel’s 20 pews.
Norcott chose the restoration work as a
project requirement for earning Eagle
Local floorer William Bergeron is
involved in interior restorations along
with Howard Vatcher who Bogardus
said restored the chapel’s original light
Other projects include installing a
wheelchair ramp, re-stenciling lettering
and trim designs.
Town Historical Commission
member Richard Smith said Andrews
Memorial Chapel is included in the
National Historic Register status
conferred on the town cemetery.
“Andrews Chapel is the centerpiece of
the cemetery,” Smith said.
focus on the
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24 | 01907
S.U.R.E members, from left, Pastor Ian Holland,
Carolina Velasquez, co-chair Keli Khatib, Sue Burgess, and
Ralph Edwards stand for Swampscott Unites Respects Embraces.
PHOTO: SPENSER HASAK
A SURE thing for Swampscott
BY GUTHRIE SCRIMGEOUR
“Diversity doesn’t just mean color,”
says Keli Khatib, co-chair and co-founder
of Swampscott Unites Respects and
Embraces, an organization founded in
2016 to celebrate all aspects of human
“People look at Swampscott and see
mostly white faces. And they often say
there’s no diversity. And that isn’t true.
Diversity means age, abilities, where
you’re from, socio-economic status.”
Keli embodies this complicated view
of diversity. She is from West Virginia,
her husband is from Syria, and her family
Her impetus to help organize the
group was largely a response to President
Donald J. Trump’s threats to impose a
Trump followed through with this
threat in 2017 when he signed an
Executive Order that banned foreign
nationals from seven predominantly-
Muslim countries from visiting the
country for 90 days, suspended entry
to the country of all Syrian refugees
indefinitely, and prohibited any other
refugees from coming into the country
for 120 days.
“It’s important to me to be involved in
this because my children are Muslim,” said
Khatib. She explained that her children
had experienced prejudice due to people’s
lack of understanding about Islam.
Swampscott Unites Respects and
Embraces, or SURE, works to address
these prejudices through education and
The group, which includes members
from a variety of religions, cultures and
ethnicities, has put together 15 to 20
events in the past four years including
four town-wide diversity festivals.
This year, the SURE Diversity
Committee has partnered with the
Swampscott Library to conduct a yearlong
project on racism.
Community members and SURE
members will be reading five books:
“How To Be An Antiracist,” by
Ibram X. Kendi, “Just Mercy,” by Bryan
Stevenson, “Homegoing,” by Yaa Gyasi,
“Underground Railroad,” by Colson
Whitehead, and “Roll of Thunder, Hear
Me Cry,” by Mildred D. Taylor.
A book discussion launched Nov. 25,
where readers will share their takeaways
on “Just Mercy,” which explores the racial
dimension to the death penalty.
Margaret Somer, a SURE member
who co-founded the organization with
WINTER 2020 | 25
Khatib, is participating in the book
group. She was especially moved by
Kendi’s “How To Be An Antiracist,” a
2019 book that discusses concepts of
racism and proposes solutions for antiracist
actions and systemic changes.
“We want to educate ourselves and
the community,” she said. “Slavery was a
founding piece of the American economy,
and, unfortunately, the theme of racism
has continued throughout history.”
Somer got involved in the creation of
the group when she became disturbed
by rising levels of prejudice and racial
hostility nationwide in 2016. She was
particularly bothered by instances
of anti-Semitic slogans scrawled in
Swampscott and Marblehead.
Somer, who has been involved in the
Civil Rights struggle since the 1970s,
said that she “felt like we needed to form
a group to come together to embrace
In the wake of the social unrest
sparked by George Floyd's May 25
death, SURE has found that their
work understanding racial and cultural
differences has become even more
important. A number of their members
go to Black Lives Matter protests
in response to the Trump rally in
Monument Square in the fall.
SURE is also working with the
Swampscott Police Department to
present a discussion on these issues.
They hope to broadcast the conversation
between community members and police
on local TV or on the web in January.
“We wanted to ask them what they
thought about everything going on in
the country, and what Swampscott is
doing about it,” said Khatib.
They specifically want to avoid
antagonizing the police, opting instead
to foster a greater level of understanding
between police departments and the
“You have groups and individuals who
do horrible things, and people feel like it
reflects on everyone,” said Somer. “But it
The group recommended that the
police department purchase a "peace
pole," which displays the word peace in
eight different languages. The police have
bought the pole and plan to display it in
front of their office.
Going forward, SURE plans to partner
with other local organizations to continue
to show the value of a diverse and united
community, and to show the town that, as
Somer said, “it’s good to be different.”
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26 | 01907
Natasha Soolkin, of Swampscott, is the executive
director of the New American Center, which provides
services to refugees and immigrants in Lynn.
PHOTO: SPENSER HASAK
BY GAYLA CAWLEY
Swampscott resident Natasha Soolkin
knows how difficult it can be for the
immigrants and refugees she works
with to adjust to their new home in the
Soolkin, regional director of the New
American Center in Lynn, immigrated
to the United States from the former
Soviet Union 30 years ago.
"I know I can relate very closely to
what people are experiencing," said
Soolkin. "I was young so I can only
imagine what happens when people
come who are older or come with kids
they need to take care of and they
don't have any means to do that, or
connections or support system. It takes a
while before you start feeling OK, feeling
like you are part of the community."
A young adult at the time of her
immigration, Soolkin said that while
her path may have been easier than the
refugees she works with — who may be
leaving their countries to escape war,
persecution or natural disasters — there
is no such thing as an easy immigration.
For example, she said children have
to learn a new language so they can
understand and communicate with their
classmates and teachers at school. Adults
with children have to find a way to earn
money in order to support their families.
And seniors, who are already an isolated
population, need to adjust to seeing the
world outside of the walls they were used
to in their former countries, Soolkin said.
"You hear people tell you that they had
a very easy path," said Soolkin. "There's
no easy immigration because everyone is
experiencing hardships along the way."
Established in 2002, the New
American Center, formerly known as
the Russian Community Association
of Massachusetts, is a multi-ethnic,
multi-service site providing culturally
appropriate and linguistically accessible
social service assistance to refugees and
immigrants in the Lynn area.
The New American Center was created
by the grassroots organization, Mutual
Assistance Association Coalition, in order
to meet the large numbers of increasingly
diverse newcomers coming to Lynn.
Soolkin said the center provides case
management, programming and classes,
which helps immigrants and refugees
learn English, gain employment, adjust
to their new environment, and work
toward becoming American citizens.
"The important part of our work is
our citizenship service," said Soolkin,
explaining that the center is certified by
the U.S. Department of Justice to do the
immigration work, which involves helping
people put together their citizenship
applications and providing them with
English as a Second Language classes.
"We have different levels where
people learn about history and civics
to prepare for the interviews," said
Soolkin. "Last year, we helped about
200-plus people to (become) ready for
the interviews. We have people becoming
citizens even in these COVID times."
The New American Center provides
services to 500 or 600 people a year, but
Soolkin said the majority of refugees are
coming to Lynn from six countries —
Congo, Cameron, Afghanistan, Eritrea,
Haiti and Cuba.
The organization also serves many
immigrants, said Soolkin, noting that
some of that effort involves working with
the Lynn Public Schools.
Often, those clients are coming from
unrest and strife in their former countries
or have come from situations where they
have been outsiders for many years, if not
their whole lives, Soolkin said.
"That's where we're trying to get in
and show people that it's not survival,"
said Soolkin. "It's life and they can enjoy
it and turn their heads from what was the
most difficult part of their lives."
Like many other organizations, the
New American Center has had to adjust
to providing services differently during
the COVID-19 pandemic. Soolkin said
the center was able to quickly switch to
offering its programming and classes
online, and has started to offer a food
distribution service and financial support
WINTER 2020 | 27
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28 | 01907
left a big
BY DANIEL KANE
For many, the thought of Nahant
brings to mind hot days on the beach.
But for Calantha Sears, the town means
much more, everything in fact.
Sears has spent nearly a century in
Nahant, calling it her home and leaving
her imprint on the state's smallest
Granddaughter of Albert Wilson,
who built many of the summer retreats
and smaller houses in town, Sears was
born in the Hyland Road home of her
parents on Oct. 17, 1921.
She later married her husband, a
U.S. Navy veteran whom she met at
Fisherman’s Beach and together they
raised four daughters, Melinda Hatfield
Kershaw, Lucy Jane Pomeroy, Elizabeth
Comeau, and Cynthia Oxton.
Sears has held many titles during her
time in Nahant, and each one involved
giving back to the community she has
called home her entire life.
She worked as a children's librarian
at the Nahant Public Library for 17
years, during which she found a love
for working with Nahant's smallest
residents. Sears became president of
the Nahant Historical Society when it
was founded in 1975 at the Whitney
Homestead. These days she serves
as curator, proudly giving tours and
recalling some of the town's great
traditions, many of which she's been a
Calantha Sears speaking after accepting her Essex Media Group Person of the Year award at the Lynn Museum.
PHOTO: OWEN O'ROURKE
When I got older, I served as one of the
waitresses at an afternoon tea that was also held
during the show — that was a real honor.
— CALANTHA SEARS
"My mother was a member when the
Garden Club started in 1927," she wrote.
"When I was about 9 or 10 years old, in
the 1930s, I remember participating in
an annual flower show which was held
every summer at the Town Hall.
"When I got older, I served as one of
the waitresses at an afternoon tea that
was also held during the show — that
was a real honor. When my children were
of age in the 1950s, they too participated,
just as I had."
Sears was named Essex Media
Group's Person of the Year for Nahant in
2018. She was named Nahant woman of
the year in 1967 and was named a local
hero by the Bay State Historical League
She has been on three town report
covers. The gazebo at Bailey’s Hill was
named Sears Pavillion in her honor
when it was re-dedicated by The Nahant
Women’s Club, of which Sears was
the president, at the town’s 150th year
As of today Sears' four children have
given her seven grandchildren and 12
great-grandchildren and that, she has
said, is her greatest accomplishment.
RN Care Management
Supportive Living Services
24 HOURS A DAY
30 | 01907
Recreation Director Danielle Strauss
created an after-school club to provide
children with a safe space to socialize.
Swampscott Town Hall workers remain on the
job amidst the COVID-19 virus.
They do it all
in the Hall
to the town
his desk with
PHOTOS BY OLIVIA FALCIGNO
Town government functions even during a
pandemic thanks to hard-working employees.
Above, Allie Fiske, assistant to
the town administrator, sits in
between barriers installed during the
Town Clerk Susan Duplin counts ballots at her desk.
Public Health Director Jeff Vaughan
stands behind a plastic barrier.
WINTER 2020 | 31
GREEN BOOK, continued from page 16
Thompson and Eliza Dunston.
Anna’s father was from New York
and her mother from Maryland. At age
five, Anna was baptized at St. Mary’s
Catholic Church in Plainfield, so she and
Gaetano shared the same religion, and
attended St. John the Evangelist Roman
Catholic Church in Swampscott.
According to Anna’s obituary, she had
moved to Swampscott in 1935. During
the 1940s, Gaetano was not consistently
employed, and The Green Book lists their
house at 3 Boynton for consecutive years
as a tourist home. The 1940 census gives
one clue that the couple continued to rent
out rooms: in the column for “income
from other sources,” Gaetano is listed as a
“no,” but Anna is listed as a “yes.”
By the 1940s, the era of the summer
estates was coming to an end, and young
men from Swampscott enlisted in the
armed services and sought different
lines of work at the General Electric
and other manufacturing plants on the
North Shore. The leather industry where
Gaetano had worked was in decline.
Stories in the Lynn Telegram-News
detail devastating unemployment in the
industry following labor unrest during
The 1940 census and Gaetano’s
1942 draft enlistment tell us he was
not employed and on welfare. Were
Gaetano’s employment problems related
to his mixed marriage? It’s not clear.
Long-time residents recall there were
few Black people living in Swampscott at
the time, and that the couple largely kept
to themselves. Anna could be seen sitting
on the shabby porch, they recollect, and
Gaetano would occasionally come out to
shush their dog when it would bark too
loudly at passersby.
Neighbors recall seeing limousines
in the 1940s and 1950s parked around
Boynton Street, and speculate that the
chauffeurs who drove well-heeled guests
from the nearby train station to the
elegant New Ocean House Hotel were
staying at Mrs. M’s house — with “M”
now standing for Mabel.
Anna “Mabel” lived in Swampscott
until her death at age 80 in 1967, a year
after the Green Book ceased publication,
though they had not listed the house in
The Green Book after 1954. According
to Anna’s obituary, her funeral was
held at St. John the Evangelist Church
in Swampscott, and she is buried in
St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Gaetano lived
at 3 Boynton for another seven years
The dining room with original built-in cabinets
at 3 Boynton St.
following Anna’s death.
One local resident who, as a teenager,
worked at Bickford’s Pharmacy on the
corner of Burrill and Paradise thinks he
remembers Gaetano walking to the store
from his run-down house on the corner
of Boynton and Pine to buy cigarettes.
Bickford’s kept a tab open for him, which
he would periodically pay off. Gaetano
died November 11, 1974 at the age of
78 at Lynn Hospital, and his funeral was
also held at St. John’s.
In their marriage, Anna and Gaetano
had attempted to bridge a racial divide.
In death, sadly, Anna and Gaetano were
not to be reunited. While Gaetano’s
obituary states his burial was planned
for St. Joseph’s, he is buried in the
Swampscott Cemetery in the World War
I veterans’ section.
A strike of Roman Catholic
gravediggers that began in early
November 1974 over a $1 per week
raise for the laborers brought Catholic
burials that November to a standstill,
threatening to devolve into a sanitation
issue for local funeral homes. It’s not
clear if this why Gaetano is interred
at Swampscott Cemetery, and not by
the side of his wife of 38 years. The
racially-segregated society that the
couple had so bravely defied in life was,
metaphorically at least, reflected in their
separate final resting places. Following
Gaetano’s death, the house, which was
part of Anna’s estate, was sold in 1975
to A. James Lynch, and then occupied
by numerous families for the next two
Three Boynton is now the home of
Jay and Kelly Duffy, who have owned the
house since 2016.
When asked to reflect upon the long
history of their home, Jay and Kelly
said, “We are thrilled that the story of
the Allen House has been unearthed. It
is important to resurrect the incredible
and seldom-told stories of Black lives in
Swampscott, which add so much to the
richness of the town’s history.”
The Duffys note that the history of
their home as a site of societal progress
endears the property to them.
“We strive,” they said, “to continue 3
Boynton’s tradition of welcoming friends into
our home based on their character alone.”
The Duffys expressed gratitude to the
Swampscott Historical Commission for
its on-going efforts to recover, preserve,
and write new chapters of Swampscott’s
The author wishes to acknowledge the
kind assistance of Alyce Deveau, Marilena
Dipietro, Jay Duffy, Thor Jourgensen, Lisa
Mausolf, Alice McGuire, Justina Oliver,
Jackson Schultz, the Swampscott Historical
Commission, and the Swampscott
Luxury Oceanfront Condominiums
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