A Coastal Cottage In Massachusetts


Hamburg, United States

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These ‘cottages’ dot the landscape all along the Atlantic shore. Even the sprawling Newport mansions were called ‘cottages’ by their builders, & the tradition lives on.
This is the Sherman Cottage at 24 Bass Rocks Road overlooking Good Harbor Beach between Rockport & Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts.
Built by Judge Edgar J. Sherman in 1878, this wee hovel was recently listed for sale at $8 million. The house has survived well over a century of hurricanes & northeasters, partly because it is bolted & chained to the rocks beneath. In 1891, New England Magazine wrote of the house: ‘… the judge not only founded his house on the traditional rock but placed it so that a pebble might be dropped from the piazza into the restless surges directly below. Perched high above the ocean though it is, for it is nearly 70 feet at low water, the spray moistens the windows at times, and not infrequently, an angry wave comes startlingly near the door.’
In 1916, thanks to the generosity of the judge’s daughter, the house became the summer residence of the Siamese (Thai) delegation, & it remained such until about 1950. One of the Siamese princes went to Harvard, & the group had other residences in Gloucester, Boston & Cambridge over the years. Another prince was actually born in the US. Remember The King & I?
Until quite recently, the verandas were open to the elements on all floors, & when I first went to Cape Ann in 1964, the house had a lacy, delicate look to it, which disappeared when the porches were enclosed. We found the process to be unfortunate aesthetically, but understandable.

Artwork Comments

  • Tracy Wazny
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