Iconic Gloucester Home Renovation Will Show Just How Great Money Really Is

GLOUCESTER—One of Gloucester’s most notable private residences is getting an estimated $800,000 makeover this spring. Known locally as the Sherman House, it’s the stately 112-year-old colonial perched on the rocks on the south end of Good Harbor Beach.

shermanhouse[The Sherman House]

For many in Gloucester, the house is as much a part of the beach as the surf, the sand, and the ever-hungry seagulls. And that’s the problem, say Jill and Winthrop Morgan, who purchased it in 2005 and have enjoyed summers there ever since.

“At this point, our home just blends into the landscape,” said Mr. Morgan, a 44-year-old retired financier, as he prepared morning martinis in the kitchen. “It doesn’t pop out and say ‘we’re richer than you!’ like it used to.”

WinthropMorgan[Winthrop Morgan with perfect gin martini]

“There’s a reason we purchased this home,” his wife said. Gesturing out the bay windows to an expansive view of the breakers, she explained: “We wanted the thousands who pack Good Harbor every day to gaze longingly at our lunches on the back patio and think, ‘Wow, those people really have it good.’”

“Imagine how much better a medallion of foie gras tastes,” Mr. Morgan added, “when you command a vast audience, all gnawing on clam strips from the snack shack.”

“That’s the primary purpose of the Jumbotron,” Mrs. Morgan said, referring to one component of the planned renovation. “It will display close-ups of our exquisitely prepared food, as well as our blindingly white smiles.”

During the hours when the Morgans are not enjoying a meal, the high definition screen will provide real-time updates on their investment portfolio.

jumbotron[Jumbotron model slated for installation]

Towering 65 feet above the existing roofline will be another key facet of the makeover, a rotating observation deck mounted atop the Jumbotron.

“The engineering was pretty tricky,” Mr. Morgan said. “Pretty pricey, too. But that’s what money’s for.”

While refreshing her martini, Mrs. Morgan explained where the idea for the observation deck came from. “Anyone with a $25 beach sticker can pass the day on a blanket with a fantastic ocean view,” she said. “We spent a lot more on this house. I mean, a lot more. So the quality of our view ought to be proportional. It’s simple algebra.”

According to the Morgans, when they first moved in ten years ago, they would often turn away curious beachgoers who clambered up the rocks for a better look. “Trespassing is the sincerest form of flattery,” Mrs. Morgan said. “Sometimes we even caught them peering in our windows, ogling our Renoirs. Those were the days.”

The Morgans say that interest in their house and extravagant wealth has ebbed in the last six or eight years. But the exact causes of this shift remain unclear.

“Maybe it was the Recession of 2008,” said Mr. Morgan, who cashed out of his Lehman Brothers partnership in December 2007. “And all that nonsense about the 1 percent.”

His wife elaborated: “People put their material aspirations on hold. Almost like they forgot all the ridiculously fun stuff you can do with money.”

“For instance, lighting your cigars with $50 bills,” Mr. Morgan said, flicking a gin-soaked olive into his mouth. “So fun.”

A Gloucester resident enjoying her first taste of spring weather on Good Harbor offered her perspective on the house. “It’s a nice place, but the people are sort of creepy,” said 29-year-old Isabella Costa. “During the summer I always see them waving at the crowds from their backyard. Like they’re flagging down a train.”

Fed up with the apathy, the Morgans have decided to take action, using their high-profile house to prove that money really can buy happiness.

“I know some will say we’re stoking class resentment and petty jealousies. But, ultimately, our mission is philanthropic,” Mrs. Morgan said. “We’re trying to restore people’s hope. Their faith in the American Dream.”

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  1. I don’t come here for real news and lifestyle stories – that what ‘Northshore’ magazine is for….stick with made-up shit and snark, thank you very much.

    Leave these good people alone – you’re not helping Gloucester with reporting like this.

  2. I hope this is tongue-in-cheek – if not, it’s sad, just sad.

  3. Any update on the zip-line from the roof to Salt Island?

  4. Bit harsh, no…?

  5. How dare you make fun of fictional people! Fake people have fake feelings too!
    (I love that nobody recognized Brent Spiner.)

  6. A little google goes a long way!

    Nicely played, Clam! I’ll be laughing all day. Again!

  7. I’m sure Winthrop Morgan had this philanthropic change of heart due to his new emotion chip implanted in his positronic net.

    Amirite? Huh? Am I alone here?

  8. Christopher Anderson

    I love the other huge house up there that was recently renovated over the course of two years. Doubled in size. And yes, I guess the 1% are job creators because they had 10-20, sometimes more, people working on it every day that entire time. Amaze-balls.

  9. This is brilliant. And tongue in cheek truthfully hilarious. Can’t wait for the jumbotron!!

  10. Lawrence Marcantonio

    Hey, that’s my future house! haha

  11. Someone’s either really poor or really jelous. Either way it’s jelousy is disgusting.

  12. Martin Del Vecchio

    Perfect but for one detail. $800,000? That hardly renovates a bathroom these days.

    • You laugh, but my brother does these renovations and that ain’t off the mark. $2k toilet roll holders. $10k faucet fixtures. It’s gross.

  13. The owners of this property for decades were kind, generous, caring individuals who frequently invited the Gloucester community to their home and property for local art classes and other events. While I have an strong appreciation for humor, sarcasm, and satire, this type of commentary seems to demonstrate a disconnect between the Clam writers and Gloucester community members. Perhaps this meanness is directed at the new owners of the property as long-time owners both have recently passed away, sadly. Yet, while not quite as distasteful as the ridicule in the Clam of Gloucester residents struggling with alcohol or drug addictions, I find this disrespectful to the positive legacy in the community of the former owners. There is some good writing in the Clam, and important issues are sometimes brought to light, but I think more could be done to have greater understanding of the denizens, history, and rhythms of this town.

    • Do you understand what satire is?

      Also, we do not ridicule anyone with addictions. Nice try.

    • Thanks for your feedback on my article, especially the perspective on the long-time owners of the Sherman House. It sounds like their legacy is strong and positive enough to withstand my use of their house as a realistic “hook” for my satirical news. As for the current owners, I did not have them in mind at all as an object of satire; instead, I intended to poke fun at a certain mindset, the entitled obliviousness that I’ve witnessed in some affluent individuals. (This is a mindset that I too, as a person of more modest means, am guilty of from time to time.)

      One thing I’ll point out about your comment: you refer to “a disconnect between the Clam writers and Gloucester community members.” To me, this presupposes that we Clam writers aren’t members of the Gloucester community, an idea that I find objectionable as well as factually untrue. Last I checked, we live in Gloucester, pay Gloucester taxes, send our kids to Gloucester schools, volunteer at Gloucester organizations, and– most of all– LOVE Gloucester with a fervor that matches anything I’ve seen from those you seem to think are “real” members of the community. That’s one reason we spend our free time writing about the place; we kid because we love.

      • Yeah…but your great-grandparents weren’t born here, and you’ve never fished for tuna…so you’re AN OUTSIDER; YOU’RE NOT A REAL LOCAL. YOUR OPINION MEANS NOTHING.

      • The owners would’ve thought it was funny. Especially mixing martinis in the morning and for sure the jumbotron. There’s not even an electrical outlet outside on the deck. The owners were lovely and are dearly missed by their family and friends. I think it’s just the timing of the post, not quite a year since Mrs.White died and just three months since Dr. White passed, that stings a little. The house has not been sold but the staff of 43, including a full-time person to remove underwear lint, continues to receive daily bags of gold medallions looted from area shipwrecks by the former owners.

  14. Jim thah Brother

    Uhm, bros, its fake. Even my name is fake.

  15. @ KT, well, how about this?:

    That Gloucester has long-running issues with drug and alcohol abuse is no secret. Many souls in the community have been lost to addiction and it’s consequences, and making light of the situation in this way doesn’t not seem to me to be productive or helpful, and it takes advantage of the weakest among us to get a few laughs.

    There is much in Gloucester that could benefit from the wit and satire evident in the Clam, but why focus it’s barbs at those who are struggling the deepest, or those who have contributed?

    @ Adam, I agree that the “obliviousness” of certain affluent individuals is worthy of ridicule – and in general you do a nice job of it here – but I was just struck by the irony that you used the residents of that property as your hook. But is the “obliviousness” of the “Morgans” in your article towards us of “modest” means eating clam strips much different than the obliviousness of us of modest means towards the lives of those who are abusing Suboxone as in the Clam link above, for example?

    At any rate, thanks for your love for and dedication to Gloucester. Any public, community, or social discourse can always benefit from a healthy dose of humor. I guess it just seems that sometimes the Clam crosses that line in a way that could deeply offend or hurt people who also have a strong love and dedication to this town. Maybe you aren’t in it to make friends and that is fine, but with so many real issues that have the potential to divide Gloucester, perhaps more intellectual effort could be focused bringing us together… Anyway, just a thought and thanks for your response.

    • We truly don’t mean to offend or hurt anybody. One of us has addiction in his close family, the other lives downtown in the midst of it.

      We have seen horrible tragedies, and we empathize with every family ravaged by addiction. We’ve seen kids left parentless. It’s really fucking awful.

      But, we are also black humor folks. It’s possible to both be horrified by what heroin and alcoholism has done, and also be annoyed by the grating petty crime and shitty behavior that is perpetuated by addicts. We didn’t call out any specific person in our drink post – we never would. But yeah, once in awhile we joke about it. Because it’s everywhere.

      Your comment originally was caught by our spam filter, so it took a few days and was actually just serendipity that I caught it at all. But we did want to respond, because you wrote a very compelling argument.

      We try to be humorous by calling out behaviors and ways of life, and not individuals. We may not see eye to eye on what’s kosher and what’s not, but I appreciate you taking the time to write this, and in the future we’ll try to be a bit more careful. We’re not professional writers, we just kinda live here.

      • Thanks for your thoughtful response. The following article on the use of satire was published in The Atlantic the other day. Perhaps the Clam is already aware of it (and I am aware that the Clam has posted on this topic along a similar line). I am not sharing necessarily because I agree with all of the points made, but a few items are at least worthy of contemplation; in particular, the concept of “punching up” with humor and satire, rather than “punching downward”.


        Many of the items that the Clam ridicules with regard to Gloucester residents could be considered to be markers of a certain socioeconomic class. For example, while there might be 0.1%er’s who drink Nips, buy cough medicine when they don’t have a cold, put stained mattresses out on the street, and have restraining orders pulled on them, in general, these types of behavior and responses are more often found in areas of less affluence. The fact that the Clam writers find these things so hilarious, in some ways, says more about the relative privilege of the writers than about the targets of their humor. [And if the goal is to stop people from throwing Nips and mattresses on the side of the road, well, 1) Those who are drunk at 1am and tossing small plastic alcohol containers around probably don’t give fuck what the Clam thinks, and 2) It will probably be more effective – and more difficult, admittedly – to address class inequities at their source than to make fun of the symptoms and consequences of those inequities.]

        And while I understand why one might find the behavior of a victim of drug or alcohol abuse to be “annoying”, ridiculing those without taking into consideration the context and history of the community and society could be considered “punching downward”. The attitude of the Clam in this respect seems to: “Look at that Gloucester person! I would never do that! Isn’t it so funny and annoying!”. However, someone else in Gloucester might think, “Hey dude, that’s a little awkward that you are doing that right now, but I grew up with you and I know that your mom had you when she was like 15, and there is negative money in your family, and your older brother died of an overdose when you were in seventh grade, and really you have just been fucked over by life at every turn and unfortunately there is nothing I can do about that. But the one thing I can do is NOT MAKE FUN OF YOU. And I can put my arm around you, and buy you a beer at Pratty’s, and treat you like my brother. Because really we are all just people trying to get through this life with the cards we were dealt, no matter how shitty.”

        And one doesn’t need to have three generations of knowledge of a person’s family to have this kind of empathy or sensitivity (although it helps). One just needs to think about a person in the context of their life and community and history – and perhaps in context of the lack of support and assistance that we are providing as a society.

        I am not trying to defend addiction or the crime and behaviors associated with it, but to say it’s justifiable to make fun of it because it is annoying seems to me to be “punching downward”.

        I realize that not all articles in the Clam are indicative of this, and also the article that led off this discussion attempted to “punch up” rather than downward (although, it was a fail in my mind because the people and attitudes associated with the property in question are completely antithetical to the gist of the post, as has already been discussed). I believe strongly in free speech, and I am not advocating that any topic should be “off limits” to the Clam or any writer. But to quote the article above:

        “Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny – it’s just mean.”

  16. Joanne McKinnon

    Ah.. Kind of a bummer to choose this property to spoof .. Current owners.. family of Dr Harold and Lucette White.. Both Dr and Mrs tragically passed away in the last six months. … :(. Big time bummer, they were great generous people

    • OF COURSE we would accidentally choose that house. Now I feel like a turd. We of course had no idea, and now feel kinda bad. I hope no one thinks we did that on purpose.

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