Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fort at Stage Rocks

Not an important fort but the only one still there and open to the public in Gloucester. It was restored several times over the years but the walls are slowly going away.

Funny that it was restored in 1930 with 4 guns when at the time of the Civil War it had 3 as in the Civil War era  photo below. 

In 1625, there was a fight over the fishing stages built nearby and the 1625 date on the photo refers to this incident...

"A number of merchants in England, for some reason, were opposed to the fishing operations of the Pilgrims. They therefore dispatched a ship to Cape Ann, and upon the arrival of the craft, her crew probably having been instructed for the purpose, seized all the provisions and the stage of the Pilgrims, evidently intending to oust the men of Plymouth and hold possession by force of arms. The captain of the semi-piratical ship was named Hewes and, having obtained possession, he barricaded the stage head with hogsheads and prepared for a siege. That redoubtable Pilgrim warrior, Capt. Miles Standish, soon appeared on the scene, and from the land demanded the unconditional surrender of the usurpers. This request, Hewes, from his coign of vantage, refused. Hot words flew thick and fast between the rival commanders, and serious trouble would no doubt have resulted but for the coolness and moderation displayed by Roger Conant who appeared on the spot as a peacemaker and by his tact prevented the shedding of blood upon the soil. He proposed a compromise by which both parties were to maintain separate stages on the field, each respecting the right of the other. This was accepted and trouble was averted..."
History of the town and city of Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts
 By James Robert Pringle

The 1625 barricade must have been considered the first "fort." 

There was no date on the photo below but is shows  a 30 lb Parrot siege gun wheeled up to the embrasure. The fort is way past active use.

The same embrasure today and strangely maybe the same Parrott barrel mounted in concrete.

Finally a 1928 photo of the fort without any guns left and the fourth gun embrasure added. I think the old magazine was removed to add this feature. It might have been for safety to keep people out of it. The walls still looked pretty crisp. Click on the photo and you can make out all 4 embrasures.

Today the fort is used for launching fireworks displays in the summer because of it's prominence over the harbor and it can be secured against the public for safety.

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