The Old Commons Road

I took another walk today, around Goose Cove reservoir – and took a diversion off along the old Commons Road:

You can easily recognize, if you look at Google Maps that if Goose Cove reservoir did not exist, then Gee Avenue could lead across where the water currently is, and link to the old Commons Road – and this is precisely how the roads lay, many years ago! The Commons Road led through what we now call “Dogtown”, towards Rockport.

Some 250 years ago, there was a thriving community; there’s some great information here, including:
The Commons Settlement was then at the height of its prosperity. Located at the very center of Cape Ann, the hamlet was on the primary route to Rockport, Pigeon Cove, Lanesville and Annisquam. Sixty of the most prominent families in Gloucester lived along Commons Road and it was considered to be the best part of town.

Another book, The Gloucester Guide by Joseph E Garland describes the walk – although it’s much more overgrown than when the book was written!

I went up there today to get some interesting photographs – the stone walls which mark the boundaries of the old Commons Road remain, and are quite visible in a few places; but I really wanted to find some of Babson’s cellar markers; nearly 100 years ago, Roger Babson took to marking where once were people’s homes at the Commons Settlement; he located and marked the remnants, which mostly consisted of cellar holes – stone wall lined holes, over which were built homes (of wood, now rotted and long gone). However, Spring and Summer are not the best times to go cellar hole hunting, the plant growth obscures almost everything!
I did manage to eventually find cellar marker #34 (because it’s REALLY easy to spot!); I clambered up and in, and was just about able to spot the vague outline of what once was a cellar hole, now very filled and overgrown:

There’s lots of information online these days about Roger Babson and his stone carving activities, including The Dogtown Guide which here lists some cellar holes, and more interestingly this website which includes details of Babson’s carved “mottoes”, with pictures of each one – a very detailed website and worth reading!