Cape Ann Museum CAM Connects
Explore the importance of ice throughout Cape Ann's history.

January 20, 2023

Ice cutting on Fernwood Lake, Gloucester, MA, February 12, 1939. Photograph by William Allen Strople. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA. Gift of Ellen Nelson.

Dear Friends,

This past year has provided a wonderful opportunity to welcome our community to both Cape Ann Museum campuses and from us all at the Museum, may 2023 bring you and your families continued good health and happiness! 

We hope that the many exhibits, programs, and courses planned in 2023 to celebrate the art, history, and culture so intrinsic to our collective Cape Ann identity will inspire you and offer numerous opportunities to together engage at the Museum. Your continued generosity and engagement is a driving force as we plan exhibitions, both regional and national in scope, and continue to innovate and grow both our educational and community programs.

Having experienced the first real snowfall on Cape Ann earlier this week, it feels very appropriate to be sending out this first issue of CAM Connects for 2023 devoted completely to ice!  To that end, please join us at the Museum on Pleasant Street this weekend (January 21 and 22) for the 2nd Annual Gloucester’s So Salty celebration.

In looking ahead to warmer weather, the Museum will once again be in bloom with Cape Ann Blossoms this May, and is proud to be presenting, this summer and fall, the once-in-a-generation exhibition Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape. Timed tickets will be available starting June 1, please mark your calendars as this exhibit will offer a fresh look at Edward Hopper’s pivotal summer on Cape Ann in 1923, when he began painting watercolors outdoors with the encouragement of his fellow artist and future wife, “Jo” Nivison Hopper, whose works will also be on view.

Before then, we have a dynamic range of events and exhibitions to take your mind off of the winter cold… While the Museum will be closed to the public from January 24 to February 6 for some renovations, please do come and see what we have been up to when we reopen on February 7!

In gratitude and with very best wishes for the year ahead,

Oliver Barker, Director


Ice has been a central shaping force on Cape Ann at least since the receding glacier that carved the landscape approximately 12,000 years ago dropped boulders across the bedrock. More recently, ice played a key role in the fishing industry as exemplified by local businesses such as Cape Pond Ice. Additionally, ice has served as inspiration to local artists from Virginia Lee Burton’s drawings of Katy & the Big Snow to the paintings of Aldro T. Hibbard.

Living in a cold climate has also contributed to the salty character of Gloucester’s residents, which will be celebrated this weekend in the 2nd Annual Gloucester’s So Salty. With ten ice sculptures, three hours of sea shanties, discounts on salty products at local businesses, and a wide array of arts and craft activities for all ages, this two-day festival and today’s CAM Connects issue will warm your heart by celebrating all there is to love about Cape Ann in the colder months of the year.  

Cape Pond Ice Company Archival Collection

By Nancy Ryan, CAM Library & Archives Volunteer

Cape Ann enjoys a rich and diverse commercial and industrial history: art colonies, granite quarries, and the fisheries. To this list, we can add ice-making. A newly acquired archival collection called the Cape Pond Ice Company Collection donated by present owner and local businessman, Scott Memhard, captures the 165-year-old partnership of ice-making and fishing that flourished up through the 1970s and 1980s in Gloucester, Manchester, Rockport and Magnolia.

(Left) Items from the Cape Pond Ice Company Collection including blueprints and listings of assets. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA. Gift of Scott Memhard, 2021 [Acc. #2021.009].
(Right) Cape Pond Ice Wharf, c. 1930s. Photograph by Henry Williams. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA. Gift of the Descendants of Henry Williams; Neil Rozman, 2012 [Acc. #2012.94].

The manuscript collection of the Cape Pond Ice Company, considered an historic business in Gloucester, is a collection of papers organized chronologically by the five family groups that created, owned, and managed what became known as the Cape Pond Ice Company.

Continue reading here.

And for more on the history of Cape Pond Ice, revisit this 2012 CAM Lecture by Cape Pond Ice Company owner Scott Memhard. 

There’s No Art Like Snow Art

Aldro T. Hibbard (1886-1972), clockwise from top left:
Rockport in Winter, c. 1950s, oil on canvas. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Gift of David deVicq in honor of Joseph H. deVicq, 2000 [Acc. #2000.44].
Untitled [Sunlit Winter Stream], undated, oil on canvas. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Gift of Donald McPhail, 2018 [Acc. #2018.050.7].
Motif #1, Rockport Harbor, 1938. The James Collection. Promised gift of Janet and William Ellery James to the Cape Ann Museum.
Abandoned Farm, undated, oil on canvas. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Gift of Donald McPhail, 2018 [Acc. #2018.050.6].

Landscapes weren’t always painted outdoors. In the time of Fitz Henry Lane, it was commonplace to make sketches outdoors and complete landscapes in the studio, where conditions were (hopefully) warm, dry, and controlled. It was the French Impressionists of the late 19th century who broke that mold, bringing their materials outdoors to capture the effects of color and light en plein air (in open air). While often associated with sun drenched scenes of summer, the Impressionists also began a tradition of painting in the snow, with Claude Monet alone known to have painted over 140 snowy views over the course of his career.

Here on Cape Ann, no discussion of snow painting would be complete without mention of Aldro T. Hibbard (1886-1972), who completed hundreds of canvasses celebrating snow in all its moods. Cape Ann Museum Assistant Curator Leon Doucette recently got a chance to sit down with another well established “snow painter,” T.M. Nicholas (recently featured at CAM in this 2020 exhibit), to discuss four works by Hibbard and the tradition of painting in the snow.

To read the conversation, click here.

 Katy and the Big Snow

Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios (1909-1968), painted title page of photocopied sketch for mock-up of Katy and the Big Snow. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA. Gift of Aristides Burton Demetrios & Ilene H. Nagel, 2019 [Acc. #2019.011].

The fifth major publication by children’s author and artist Virginia Lee Burton, Katy and the Big Snow, was introduced to readers the same year The Little House won the Caldecott Award for most distinguished picture book in 1943. Indeed, the dedication page of Katy shows this new titular character plowing a path through the snow, passing by a certain “little house,” a “Wonder Horse,” a large steam shovel, and even a train, from which you can almost hear the “Choo Choo” sounding. The narrative depicts the town of Geoppolis (yet another way to pronounce “Gloucester”!) amid a major, major snowstorm that none of the regular trucks can handle; none, that is, but our hero K.T.

“Then early one morning it started to drizzle. The drizzle turned into rain. The rain turned into snow. By noon it was four inches deep.” With this, the external conflict has been introduced and the culprit is none other than ice and snow! Without revealing too many spoilers, our hero gets to work clearing the city’s roads and aiding in various emergencies that require her attention. One of note is the clearing of an airport runway – placing one within Dogtown was something regularly discussed at Gloucester City Council meetings in the early 1940s.

The plow, Katy (or K.T. as it reads above her blade) is based on “the city’s [Gloucester’s] International crawler tractor, seven and a half tons, Diesel-powered, rigged as a bulldozer for road building and as a plow for the big snow” as a 1943 Gloucester Daily Times article explains. 

Continue reading here. 

Installing The Gossips Ice Sculpture with Donald Chapelle in 2022

Video still of artist Donald Chapelle and his ice sculpture inspired by Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios’ The Gossips. Gloucester’s So Salty, January 2022.

For last year’s Gloucester’s So Salty celebration, Brilliant Ice Sculpture artist Donald Chapelle made a snow filled ice sculpture inspired by Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios’ print, The Gossips. This short video shows the installation process in the CAM Courtyard last January. Brilliant Ice Sculpture, located in the North Andover-Lawrence area of Massachusetts, was founded by Donald Chapelle whose 40-year affection for carving has elevated the Boston ice carving scene. Donald's professional ice carving began at age 18 including a seven-year post at Brookline Ice and Coal while executive chef at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Later he sculpted ice at the Ice Box in Roslindale, MA.

To see this year’s sculptures by Chapelle, be sure to come by the Museum on Saturday, January 21st or Sunday, January 22nd during the 2nd Annual Gloucester’s So Salty.

Ice-in on Cape Ann: Photographs from the CAM Library & Archives

Schooner Multnomah Iced-in at Lane’s Cove, c. 1910. Photograph by Alexander R. Cheves. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.

The maritime community of Cape Ann has been battling ice for centuries. While frozen sea spray can create beautiful formations, this natural phenomenon can be quite dangerous. Vessels can become stuck in harbor, disabled, sunk, or capsized from the accretion of ice on decks and superstructures. Please enjoy these images of iced-in vessels on Cape Ann primarily taken between 1890 and 1920. Notable photographers include Chester N. Walen, Eben Parsons, Alexander Cheves, Ernest L. Blatchford, and Martha Hale Harvey.