The information below provides additional history about one of the sixteen points of interest along the tour. Visit Essex, Massachusetts and enjoy our self-guided tour to learn more about each historic Essex location on the interpretive signs.
MEMORIAL PARK AND TOWN HALL BASEBALL GROUNDS
ANNIE GOSBEE: IN A LEAGUE OF HER OWN
by Essex resident, Laurel A. Eisenhauer, RN, PHD, FAAN
Annie Gosbee loved playing baseball, a sport not usually pursued by women in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. But Annie pursued her dream throughout her elementary and high school years and became a professional baseball player for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL).
Annie Glenn Gosbee was born and raised in Essex, Massachusetts USA. She was born in Essex in 1935 and lived in a house located right on the Essex River, the site of the current restaurant Periwinkles. Annie got interested in baseball when her older brother Billy, who wanted to be a pitcher, made her his catcher and they would practice after school and whenever school was not in session. She was the only girl on the Rufus Choate Elementary School (Essex).
During her teens Annie played second base on the Essex Legion team in the Cape Ann Junior League Conference. According to a newspaper report, “When she tried to join the Essex Legion team, the managers discouraged her, and besides, they thought there was a rule against a girl on the team.” Annie is reported as recalling: “One night, though, they needed one more player, - and my brother [Billy] ran home shouting - they need you down at the park. They’ve just forgotten about the rule ever since.” Read more >
ESSEX D-DAY VETERAN FEATURED IN PBS DOCUMENTARY
Day of Days: June 6, 1944 by Tim Gray Media
Essex Resident Morley Piper is one of four D-Day veterans featured in the 2014 documentary, “Day of Days: June 6, 1944 - American Soldiers Remember D-Day.” Morley, who attended the 70th Anniversary of the campaign that led to Allied victory in World War II in Normandy, France, humbly recounts his experience of storming onto a shoreline already filled with dead and wounded. Hear a first-hand account of that notorious day in this moving documentary.
ESSEX HONOR ROLL MEMORIAL REBUILT
The Essex Honor Roll (originally designed in 1943 by Dana A. Story) honors soldiers who served in conficts of the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The wooden half-ship model above the names is symbolic of Essex shipbuilding. The Honor Roll had shown its wear over the years and in 2014, a small group of Essex veterans and other volunteers donated their time, skills and energy to rebuilding it (pictured here in front of Essex Town Hall), completing the project for the town's Memorial Day ceremony and parade.
MORE ABOUT ANNIE GOSBEE
THE ENVY OF MANY NORTH SHORE BOYS
Annie was one of two girls playing on junior league baseball teams. Avis Ruth Murray from Gloucester (current tennis pro at the Manchester Athletic Club) played on the Gloucester team and Annie played for Essex. She was chosen one of the three most valuable players of the Essex Legion team, which was second in the Cape Ann Junior League Conference. She was reported to have “a smooth fielding style, a .275 batting average, and an all round baseball know-how that’s the envy of many North Shore boys.” According to a newspaper article in the Gloucester Daily Times August 20, 1952, the League voted to allow the girls to complete the remaining schedule; however, it was announced at the banquet that girls would no longer be allowed to play in the junior league.
AN ALL-AROUND SPORTS WOMAN
A local newspaper reported: “While baseball was her first love, it was not the only one. She was an all-around sports woman, excelling in basketball, golf, tennis and volleyball.” Annie is reported as saying: “But I never learned to swim, and I lived next door to the river.”
ESSEX HONOR ROLL MEMORIAL REBUILT
The following Essex veterans and volunteers generously donated their time, skills and energy to the project:
Bob Brophy - Coordinator, measured plans
Fay Brophy - Proofreader
Maria Burnham - Proofreader
Paul Doucette - Repair of salvaged ornaments
Paul Goodwin - Materials coordination
Ray Green - Priming and Painting
Bob O'Brien - Printing and signboard materials
Jimmy O'Donnell - Repair and installation
Lisa O'Donnell - Handout and PR
Walter Rich - Woodwork and installation
Blake Story - Honor Roll Listings
Jim Witham - Graphics and Proofreading
Pam Witham - Proofreading
Special thanks to the Essex Department of Public Works, Town Administrator, Brendhan Zubricki, and Essex Selectmen Jeffrey Jones, Lisa O'Donnell and Susan Coviello for their support of the project.