Thursday, November 26, 2020
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
|Hammond Castle, Gloucester, MA|
|Assorted castle doorways|
A passionate traveler, Hammond loved all things European and historic having been exposed to the art and architecture of olden Europe thanks to his father's career as a mining engineer magnate. During our tour, we learned that, at an early age, he told his parents that he would live in a castle one day.
His collection of 15th Century facades was housed in the courtyard to meet Hammond’s vision of what a medieval village might resemble. It was pieced together from buildings he collected on his travels including a meat market, wine merchant’s house, and an ancient church archway of carved lava from Mt. Vesusvius
|Guest bedrooms on 2nd floor|
The house was an expression of all things that Hammond treasured. It showcased his fabulous collection of antiques and his inventions, but some unusual additions, including a skull reportedly of a sailor who crewed with Christopher Columbus. (We missed seeing this treasure.)
The most impressive part of the house is the Great Hall, with its eight-story high, pipe organ and giant stained glass window. The gigantic pipe organ was designed and built by a collection of world-famous organ builders over 10 years.
|Pipe organ in Great Hall|
He is not the man who invented the organ of the same name. The inventor of that instrument, first manufactured in 1935, was Laurens Hammond (1895-1973). Coincidentally, Laurens Hammond was also an American engineer and inventor whose inventions also include the Hammond clock and the Novachord, the world's first polyphonic musical synthesizer. In the 1970s, the Hammond Organ Company abandoned tone wheels and switched to integrated circuits. These organs were less popular, and the company went out of business in 1985. The Hammond name is now owned by the Suziki Musical Instrument Corporation.
|John Hays Hammond, Jr. and statue|
Hammond died in 1965, but castle visitors can come face to face with him – and with other parts as well during their visit. That's because he had a life-size statue of himself cast. Currently, it resides in the pool courtyard. Years ago it was outside the castle and we learned that Mrs. Hammond had the fig leaf added on.
Hammond Castle Museum is in its 45th consecutive season. In past years, it was visited by over 35,000 people from across the U.S. and foreign countries.
The castle has appeared on the A&E network program, American Castles. Over the years, the castle has also been the location for the mid 1960s to 1970s TV show, Bewitched, and Otto Preminger’s film, Tell Me You Love Me Julie Moon. It has also been the setting for numerous television commercials and specials.
Access to all parts of the castle was limited during our tour, which was guided for the first part and unguided the rest of the 60-minute timed visit.
Precautions were in place and masks were required while we were inside the castle.
The vintage December 1932 magazine article below was in the lobby of Hammond Castle Museum. It states that visitors could see the castle in the mornings from June to October at a cost of 50 cents to view art and architecture gathered from all over Europe. The article said that in the afternoons, the castle marvelous was given back to its owner.Times have changed as the admission charge for our timed visit was $15 each (senior discount). Regular adult rate is $18 and children 5 10 12 are $10, those under 4 years are admitted free.
Friday, November 20, 2020
It never ceases to amuse me when I've been walking along and found a lone shoe or boot on the ground. This one made me think of a fairy tale and a song.
Can you figure out which ones?
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
For the past few years this month, I have posted about fall walks taken through a local cemetery in Nashua, NH. This year I repeated that trek, but in October when fall colors foliage was at their peak.
This year’s walk was more notable in that it was socially distanced. No mask was needed as not only was I outdoors, but neither saw nor spoke to another living person; talking to the dead doesn’t count.
The fall colors were just as spectacular as in previous visits, nearly all the trees were leaf-filled when these photos were taken; however since then wind and rains have left the trees practically bare as I saw on a drive last week.
After Nashua was incorporated as a city in 1853, Edgewood continued in use as a public cemetery, under control and charge of the city. In 1893, an act of legislature created a Board of Trustees and it passed into the “sole care, superintendence and management of that Board. Several prominent citizens were appointed to the first board of trustees, including Ira F. Harris and Charles Hoitt, who was elected president. Today, both Harris and his wife and Hoitt and his family, including two young sons, are buried in Edgewood. (Unexpectedly, I located the Hoitt family site, but not that of Harris and his wife.)
The impressive entrance gates were a gift from Harris, 1912. A prominent city resident, he was a cashier at the former Indian Head National Bank in downtown Nashua, a member of the local Rotary club, and treasurer of the Nashua Street Railway. He's credited with several patents including a street-railway switch and street-railway switching device.The cemetery now encompasses 33 acres. In late summer 2019, the cemetery was running out of room for future gravesites. Seeing expansion, the Board of Trustees authorized removal of over 100 trees covering 2 acres without prior notice to nearby residents or city officials. Reportedly, the negative reaction was a surprise to the trustees. City officials intervened by hiring a landscape architect to develop a plan where trees were removed to provide a "pleasant view and a preferable environment for those who live next to the cemetery.”
Walking along paved walkways and among the impressive remaining trees was quite peaceful. Although the cemetery is near a busy roadway, walking father into it, the noise becomes muted as the beauty of nature can be seen and enjoyed in the solitude.
Like others who find cemeteries peaceful, I also enjoy reading headstone epitaphs interesting. Some might consider this macabre but it’s also quite informative. Sadly, it’s a fact that years ago, children died young. Many older headstones attest to their early passing, many bore only a first name.Many headstones were simple and direct with no other details included.
I wonder if H.G. Taylor remarried as his former wife, Abigail, was buried next to him, but there was no other Mrs. Taylor.The Anderson Chapel has long been considered the finest memorial in Nashua’s Edgewood Cemetery. In 1929, the city’s mayor, cemetery trustee and others accepted it as a gift from Mrs. Ella F. Anderson’s in memory of her husband, Frank E. Anderson, co-founder of the Estabrook-Anderson Shoe Co., one of 19th century Nashua’s most successful and short-lived shoe manufacturers. In 1886, the factory employed 600 people and produced over 10,000 pairs of shoes daily in a three-story factory between Pine and Palm Streets in downtown. It's now a 55+ residential community.
While I didn't walk the entire grounds in my nearly 3 hours, there was no shortage of beauty all around.
Did you ever notice that headstones face the same way? The reasoning was that when Christ comes again and the last trumpet sounds, all will rise from their graves. It's been said that He will come from the East. This means that lying on your back in the grave at the trumpet call, you'd be facing the right way when you sat up. (I'm not in any hurry for that sound.)This sign is posted at the front entry advising about an age limit for children. It was the first time I noticed it, although most likely it was there during previous visits.
It was also fun to walk through leaf piles and only hear the sound of your own feet crunching them beneath. Very shortly, it will be snow that's crunched underfoot.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
On a fall day trip a few weeks ago, we visited Stark Park, a 30-acre city park located on the north side of Manchester, NH. It was once part of the larger farm property of General John Stark, New England’s famous American Revolutionary War hero.It's built around the original Stark Burial Plot on land that was once part of the Stark family farm and is the resting place of Stark, his wife, Molly, and some of their children. The headstones are set aside in a plot surrounded by a wrought iron fence. The fence was closed the day we visited.The Stark family owned about 800 acres of land in what’s now northern Manchester. John Stark was buried here after his 1822 death, and the family erected a memorial obelisk in 1829 (shown below). Stark's great-grandchildren deeded a two-acre area surrounding the family cemetery to the city in 1876.
The centerpiece of the park is a large 1948 bronze equestrian bronze statue created by sculptor Richard Henry Recchia, a New England (MA) native.
In 1777, General Stark was given independent command of NH’s forces at the Battle of Bennington with orders to raise forces for the annoyance of the enemy. His troops stopped British supplies and troops from connecting with the main army at Saratoga, NY, which led to an American victory later that year. Bennington proved not only to be the turning point of the Saratoga campaign, but the turning point of the war.
In addition to the family burial plot and bronze statue, the park also has several models of cannons and a collection of cannonballs. I'm not sure of the origin and significance of these as there wasn't a sign or plaque nearby.While this park is one of several NH memorials honoring General John Stark, his wife Molly has been equally honored, although now in Stark Park. The mother of 11 children, she nursed and treated soldiers under her husband's command, opening their home as a hospital. Molly has two parks named after her, one in Wilmington, VT, another in Stark County, OH. The Molly Stark Trail, (Route 9), which crosses southern VT is thought to be the route used by General Stark on his victory march home from the Battle of Bennington. Both have a DAR Chapter named after them: John in OH and Molly in NH. And, in Wilmington VT, there's a statue of Molly holding a gun and a baby.
Friday, November 6, 2020
|Internet source: National Weather Service (NWS)|