history, start, community

Back in 2000, Nearly 300 Community Members Had a Vision

In 2000, Geoffrey Richon organized nearly 300 Cape Ann residents to create a nonprofit organization and invest in the purchase of a neglected industrial property overlooking Gloucester Harbor. The one-acre site included the oldest continuously operated marine railway in the country plus an assortment of industrial buildings. Relying on volunteer labor, an active board and private contributions, the railway was restored, the site cleaned up and plans designed to transform the site into a working waterfront museum, a maritime heritage center and an educational facility. Through the vision and hardwork of the community, the Board and the leadership of Harriet Webster, the founding Executive Director, the following transformation took place during the last decade:

  • The ice house was converted into a multi-use boat building house and physical science teaching center
  • From the building that housed the condensers for the icehouse, the Sarah Fraser Robbins Education Center now stands
  • The once rundown office building has become the visitor center, gift store and interactive Stellwagen exhibit
  • Open space between our property and a neighboring building was turned into the Sea Pocket Lab featuring nine touch tank aquariums celebrating the habitats and the marine animals of Cape Ann
  • A major expansion tied three existing buildings together and added a new second story that now features the Gorton's Seafood Gallery and exhibit space
  • The pier has been fully restored and is the largest publicly accessible wharf in Gloucester Harbor
  • And more...