Cape Ann

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Cape Ann
Region of Massachusetts
Cape Ann Massachusetts Aerial.jpg
May 2008 aerial view of Cape Ann in Massachusetts. Gloucester and its harbor are visible to the upper right, Manchester-by-the-Sea is at center, just west of Singing Beach.
Etymology: Anne of Denmark
Relief map of USA Massachusetts.png
Red pog.svg
Cape Ann
Coordinates: 42°38′58.3″N70°35′35.5″W / 42.649528°N 70.593194°W / 42.649528; -70.593194
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
StateFlag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts
Eastern Massachusetts, with Cape Ann Cape Ann map.png
Eastern Massachusetts, with Cape Ann

Cape Ann is a rocky cape in northeastern Massachusetts, United States on the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 30 miles northeast of Boston and marks the northern limit of Massachusetts Bay. Cape Ann includes the city of Gloucester and the towns of Essex, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport.



Cape Ann was first mapped by the explorer John Smith. He had given it the name Cape Tragabigzanda, after his mistress in Istanbul.[ citation needed ] He had been taken as a prisoner of war and enslaved in the Ottoman Empire. His mistress had fallen in love with him, but Smith later escaped in Russia.

When Smith presented his map to Charles I, he suggested that Charles should feel free to change any of the "barbarous names" (meaning the many Native American place names he had adopted) into English ones. The king made many such changes, but only four survive today. One was Cape Ann, which Charles named in honor of his mother Anne of Denmark. [1] [2]

Colony history

The English colony at Cape Ann was first founded in 1623. It was the fourth colonizing effort in New England after Popham Colony, Plymouth Colony and Nantasket Beach. Two ships of the Dorchester Company brought 32 in number with John Tylly and Thomas Gardner as overseers of a fishing operation and the plantation, respectively. At the Cape Ann settlement a legal form of government was established, and from that Massachusetts Bay Colony sprung. Roger Conant was the governor under the Cape Ann patent, and as such, has been called the first governor of Massachusetts. [3] [4]

This colony predated Massachusetts Bay charter and colony. For that reason, members of the colony were referred to as "old planters". The first Great House in New England was built on Cape Ann by the planters. This house was dismantled on the orders of John Endecott in 1628 and moved to Salem to serve as his "governor's" house. [5] When Higginson arrived in Salem, he wrote that "we found a faire house newly built for the Governor" which was remarkable for being two stories high. [6]

By 1634 the name of Cape Ann was already established, as it is mentioned and depicted on maps in William Wood's New England's Prospect first published in that year.

On November 18, 1755, Cape Ann was the epicenter of an earthquake, which is extremely rare for Massachusetts. There were no seismographs at that time; but, based on available data, the tremor was estimated at magnitude 6.5. It caused serious damage in the Boston area, but no casualties.

By the mid-1800s, Cape Ann was known for its specialization in granite production, specifically in creating paving blocks for roads and streets and were used across the United States from New York to San Francisco. [7]


Landsat satellite photo of Cape Ann. The communities of Rockport, Gloucester, Essex and Manchester form Cape Ann Wfm cape ann.jpg
Landsat satellite photo of Cape Ann. The communities of Rockport, Gloucester, Essex and Manchester form Cape Ann

The entirety of Cape Ann lies within Essex County. Anchored by the city of Gloucester, the nexus of the local fishing industry, other towns on Cape Ann include Rockport, at the tip of the cape, and the towns of Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea, which are located where Cape Ann joins the mainland.

Local culture

At the end of Cape Ann, and splitting Gloucester into two parts, is the Annisquam River. Many locals who live in Gloucester and Rockport refer to the land east of the Annisquam as "The Island". [8]

Cape Ann is the location of the fictional town of Sea Harbor, the setting of the Seaside Knitters mysteries by author Sally Goldenbaum. Sea Harbor is on the coast, with Gloucester as its nearest neighbor town. Cape Ann is also featured as the setting for the Harry Chapin song "Dogtown," which is also the name for an abandoned town on the Cape.

The fictional "Gloucester Island" in 1966 Cold War comedy film The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming is located off Cape Ann and was named for the city of Gloucester.[ citation needed ]

The book Slaughterhouse Five mentions Cape Ann as the honeymoon location for the main character Billy Pilgrim.

The movie The Perfect Storm was filmed in Gloucester in 2000. [9] Setting out for the one last catch that will make up for a lackluster fishing season, Captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney) pushes his boat, the Andrea Gail, out to the waters of the Flemish Cap off Nova Scotia; based on actual events in 1991.

Cape Ann is also the location of main character's home in the book Trouble.

Cape Ann is the title of the fifth and final section of T. S. Eliot's poem, "Landscapes," which lists the coastal birds of the region. [10] Additionally, the title of his poem The Dry Salvages refers to a cluster of rocks "off the N.E. coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts." [11]

The fictional town of Paradise, setting of the Jesse Stone novels, is near Cape Ann, which is briefly mentioned in Night and Day .

Related Research Articles

Essex County, Massachusetts County in Massachusetts

Essex County is a county in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the total population was 743,159, making it the third-most populous county in the state. It is part of the Greater Boston area. The largest city in Essex County is Lynn. The county was named after the English county of Essex.

Gloucester, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Gloucester is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. It sits on Cape Ann and is part of Massachusetts's North Shore. The population was 28,789 at the 2010 U.S. Census. An important center of the fishing industry and a popular summer destination, Gloucester consists of an urban core on the north side of the harbor and the outlying neighborhoods of Annisquam, Bay View, Lanesville, Folly Cove, Magnolia, Riverdale, East Gloucester, and West Gloucester.

Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Manchester-by-the-Sea is a town on Cape Ann, in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The town is known for scenic beaches and vista points. At the 2010 census, the population was 5,136.

Ipswich, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Ipswich is a coastal town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 13,175 at the 2010 census. Home to Willowdale State Forest and Sandy Point State Reservation, Ipswich includes the southern part of Plum Island. A residential community with a vibrant tourism industry, the town is famous for its clams, celebrated annually at the Ipswich Chowderfest, and for Crane Beach, a barrier beach near the Crane estate. Ipswich was incorporated as a town in 1634.

Rockport, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Rockport is a seaside town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,952 in 2010. Rockport is located approximately 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Boston at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula. Rockport borders Gloucester to its west, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in all other directions.

North Shore (Massachusetts) Region of Massachusetts in the United States

The North Shore is a region in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, loosely defined as the coastal area between Boston and New Hampshire. The region is made up both of a rocky coastline, dotted with marshes and wetlands, as well as several beaches and natural harbors. The North Shore is an important historical, cultural, and economic region of Massachusetts. It contains the cities of Salem, known worldwide as the site of the Salem Witch Trials; and Gloucester, site of Charles Olson's Maximus Poems, and of Sebastian Junger's 1997 creative nonfiction book The Perfect Storm and its 2000 film adaptation. Beverly was home to author John Updike until his death.

Roger Conant (colonist)

Roger Conant was an English colonist and drysalter credited for establishing the communities of Salem, Peabody, Beverly and Danvers, Massachusetts. He has been called the first governor of Massachusetts.

Massachusettss 6th congressional district

Massachusetts's 6th congressional district is located in northeastern Massachusetts. It contains most of Essex County, including the North Shore and Cape Ann, as well as part of Middlesex County. It is represented by Seth Moulton, who has represented the district since January 2015. The shape of the district went through minor changes effective from the elections of 2012 after Massachusetts congressional redistricting to reflect the 2010 census. The towns of Tewksbury and Billerica were added, along with a small portion of the town of Andover.

Newburyport/Rockport Line

The Newburyport/Rockport Line is a branch of the MBTA Commuter Rail system, running northeast from downtown Boston, Massachusetts towards Cape Ann and the Merrimack Valley, serving the North Shore. The first leg, operating via the Eastern Route of the former Boston and Maine Railroad, serves Chelsea, Lynn, Swampscott, Salem, and Beverly. From there, a northern branch continues via the Eastern Route to serve Hamilton, Ipswich, Rowley, and Newburyport, while other trains operate east from Beverly via the Gloucester Branch, serving Manchester, Gloucester, and Rockport. A bicycle coach is offered on the Rockport branch during the summer.

Route 127 is a 26.70-mile-long (42.97 km) north–south Massachusetts state route that runs from Beverly to Gloucester. Much of the northern part of the route is in Cape Ann. Route 127's southern terminus is at Route 1A and the southern terminus of Route 22 in Beverly and the northern terminus is at Route 128 in Gloucester.

Annisquam River

The Annisquam River is a tidal, salt-water estuary in the Annisquam neighborhood of Gloucester, Massachusetts, connecting Annisquam Harbor on the north to Gloucester Harbor on the south. The segment between Gloucester Harbor and the Newburyport/Rockport Line bridge is also known as the Blynman Canal.

The Gloucester Daily Times is an American daily newspaper published Monday through Saturday mornings in Gloucester, Massachusetts by Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company, a subsidiary of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. The price is $0.75.

Exercise Conant House United States historic place

The Exercise Conant House is a historic First Period house in Beverly, Massachusetts, United States. Most of this 2.5-story wood-frame house was built after 1715 for the Reverend John Chipman, and contains many fine Georgian features. Attached to its north side is a two-story single-room ell that dates to c. 1695, and was probably built by Exercise Conant, son of early Cape Ann settler Roger Conant.

Thomas Gardner was an Overseer of the "old planters" party of the Dorchester Company who landed in 1624 at Cape Ann to form a colony at what is now known as Gloucester. Gardner is considered by some to have been the first Governor of Massachusetts, due to his being in authority in the first settlement that became the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The Old Planters of Massachusetts were settlers of lands on Massachusetts Bay that were not part of the two major settlements in the area, the Plymouth Colony (1620), and the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Good Morning Gloucester

Good Morning Gloucester is a longstanding blog created by Gloucester, Massachusetts lobster broker Joey Ciaramitaro. GMG is a snapshot of living and working on the docks of the oldest commercial fishing harbor in the United States.

Ann-Margaret Ferrante is an American legislator in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the 5th Essex district, which consists of Gloucester, Rockport, and Essex. A member of the Democratic Party, she was first elected in 2008 after defeating incumbent representative Anthony Verga in the Democratic primary. Currently, she is the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means and sits on the House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, House Committee on Operations, Facilities and Building Security, and the House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling. She is also co-chair of the Tech Hub Caucus, which focuses on fostering growth of Massachusetts’ high-tech businesses and startups.

This is a timeline of the history of the city of Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA.

Great House in Cape Ann was a seventeenth century structure built by colonists in present-day Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was later disassembled and moved to Salem, Massachusetts, to be the Governor's house.

Stage Fort

Stage Fort was a fort that existed from 1635 to 1898 on Stage Head in what is now Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, Massachusetts.


  1. Stewart, George R. (1967) [1945]. Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States (Sentry edition (3rd) ed.). Houghton Mifflin. p.  38.
  2. Rasmus Andersen. "The Church of Denmark and the Anglican Communion". Project Canterbury. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  3. Shipton, Clifford K. Roger Conant: A Founder of Massachusetts, pp. 53-4, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1944.
  4. Bartlett, Sarah S. Roger Conant in America: Governor and Citizen, An Historical Address Delivered at the Conant Family Reunion, Hotel Vendome, Boston, June 13, 1901, p. 8.
  5. Goff, John (2009). Salem's Witch House: A Touchstone to Antiquity. History Press. ISBN   978-1-59629-519-3.
  6. Felt, J.B. (1827) Annals of Salem W.&S. B. Ives
  7. St. Germain, Paul. Images of America: Cape Ann Granite. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston. 2015.
  8. Martin, Roger (1997). Rockport Remembered: An Oral History. The Curious Traveler Press.
  9. "Movies Filmed On Cape Ann".
  10. Eliot, T. S. The Complete Poems and Plays: 1909-1950. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World, Inc., 1971. pp. 95.
  11. Parker, James (October 14, 2012). "A pilgrimage to T.S. Eliot's Dry Salvages". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 15, 2015.

Coordinates: 42°38′10″N70°37′57″W / 42.63611°N 70.63250°W / 42.63611; -70.63250