• Halibut Point State Park / Halibut Point Reservation Halibut Point State Park / Halibut Point Reservation
    Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
    67 acres

    Additional Information
    The Trustees of Reservations

    Parking
    Paid Lot on Gott Avenue Rockport

    Directions to Parking Area
    42.6866302,-70.6316223


    Halibut Point State Park Trail Map


    Halibut Point State Park owned by the State of Massachusetts and Halibut Point Reservation owned by the Trustees of Reservations make up this 67 acres of scenic rocky headland in Rockport Massachusetts. The State Park is home to the former Babson Farm Quarry where Cape Ann granite was quarried from the early 19th century until the great depression. It is also home to a World War II artillery tower which now houses a museum interpreting the human and natural history of the park. A number of family friendly programs are run throughout the year exploring the park. The Trustees portion of Halibut Point, most easily reached by following Gott Ave. to a trailhead, is home to some of the best and most extensive tidepools on the North Shore. The park as a whole is also a premier birding destination and is part of an Important Bird Area as designated by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

    History
    According to tradition, Halibut Point was originally called ‘Haul-about’ point as this is the location on the North Shore where the prevailing winds shift and sailors would need to change the direction of the sails in relation to the wind.
    Prior to 1700 Halibut Point was uninhabited woodland, too distant from other settlements to be a practical location for a homestead. In 1702, Samuel Gott (1677/78 – 1748) purchased, for 60 pounds, an 86 acre lot from William Cogswell of Ipswich which included the park. He built a home which still stands just outside the park (private residence) and began a farm. A large portion of the farm was later sold to James Norwood, who in 1819 sold it to David Wallis Babson (1772 – 1851) and his wife Charlotte (Wheeler) Babson (1784 – 1864). The couple continued the farm and built their own large house (once known as “Old Farm Inn” and now a home for individuals with brain injuries).
    Around this time, Thomas Peach is the first individual thought to have quarried granite at Halibut Point but it was Benjamin Hale and David Babson’s son Joseph Babson who began what was known as the ‘Babson Farm Quarry’
    In 1864, the Rockport Granite Company was incorporated and later purchased the Babson Farm Quarry. The Rockport Granite Company operated until shortly after the start of the great depression when it went bankrupt in 1931. The companies history is deeply intertwined with the organized labor movement in the United States. Quarrying granite in the 19th and early 20th centuries was arduous and dangerous manual labor, often falling to recent immigrants from Finland, Sweden and Italy who had few opportunities for work. Many died young from inhaling granite dust. In 1899, and several more times over the following years, the granite workers went on strike to gain shorter work-days and overtime pay. While the Rockport Granite Company ‘conceded’ in July, of 1899, it is apparent from later strikes that they did not make good on their promises to the workers.


    July 5th, 1899 Newspaper article reporting that ‘Granite Workers Win’

    The first conservation efforts at Halibut Point took place in 1934 when Dr. John Phillips and other residents of Rockport provided funds to the Trustees of Reservations for the purchase of the 17 acre Halibut Point Reservation.

    In 1943, the US Army Corps of Engineers built the artillery tower (now the park museum and visitor center) to be used by the Army Coastal Artillery Corps for aiming long range weapons. The tower was built with a steeple to disguise it as a church. After World War II had ended, the tower and barracks were used by the US Air Force and MIT’s Lincoln Labs for a classified project to develop radar systems.

    In 1981 the State of Massachusetts purchased 56 acres to establish Halibut Point State Park.


    Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) at Halibut Point State Park

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