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Uriel Crocker Portrait causes some discussion

January 8, 2012

“You can’t compare Crocker with the people we have in the Selectmen’s Room.”

That’s the opinion of former Selectman Bill Conly, known for his eccentric views and outspoken opinions on Marblehead history. Crocker donated what is now known as Crocker Park to the Town, and it is clearly among the three or four most generous and lavish gifts bestowed on the Town over its 363-year history. But, in Conly’s opinion, it just doesn’t measure up.  Crocker’s gift  does not compare to Elbridge Gerry, father of Gerrymandering and Vice President of the United States, a position held in vastly higher esteem today than in Gerry’s day, or to General John Glover’s portrait which is also in the Selectman’ room. One wonders what John Glover, a former General and Town official, would say of Crocker’s generosity but we’ll never know. All we have is that Bill Conly’s opinion is that the rarefied air of exclusivity in the Selectmen’s room is too much for lowly Crocker.

Chris Johnston, chair of the Historical Commission,  was taking a more moderate position that not every portrait hung in the Selectmen’s room stays there forever. Somewhat like the Selectmen themselves who seem to be so important on Wednesdays, but then are themselves (for the most part) forgotten in the Town’s history. Incidentally, there are not a lot of portraits of current or former selectmen hanging around town either. So there.

Oh, one last thing, the vote to hang Uriel in the Selectmen’s room passed 3-1. Conly opposed. We’ll see if the other portraits move out as the room’s quality declines. We think not.

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