LHD Will Protect Newburyport

My wife sent me an Internet link to The Gazzette of Libertyville, Illinois.      This was a town that was filled with boarded up businesses and depressed property values as recently as the early 80’s.    It looked a lot like Amesbury did in the 80’s and early 90’s with most businesses boarded up and the community stagnate.       Then in 1984, the entire town became a local historic district not just a small section.      


Much as Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell are just beginning to learn, local historic districts not only bring economic vitality but generate an improved quality of life.     Remember, Libertyville is located in Illinois, one of the epicenters of the ever-present mortgage crisis in the nation.      Foreclosures have hit the state hugely.    Yet, Libertyville is bursting with economic diversity and wealth.      


Usually what happens in a community that becomes prosperous, it grows from all the people pouring into it who want a piece of the action.     It is not long before the perfect community becomes an overcrowded, crime-ridden pariah and the whole process begins again as people flee the area for another perfect community.       Libertyville has found that the local historic district allows for economic prosperity and a high quality of life without the dangers of self-destruction.       


So too, as the economy in Massachusetts makes it tough for surrounding towns, Newburyport is going to feel the pressure from its own success.    When the local historic district ordinance is enacted, an automatic protector and balancer will be established in our town.


As put into poem form, the feeling in Illinois’ LHD is one of comforting stability.  [Highlights are mine]



By Ethel Jochheim Getchell


The land-locked village

stands linear and lovely

in its adulthood,

morphed from settler to sophisticate

in a mere lifetime.

Cupolas, a slate roof and gazebo

belie its facelift;

a soupçon of industries

lend an air of congenial

sensibility to its worth.

Hundred-year-old names

grace façades, keeping

it from getting too big

for its britches despite

svelte condo dwellers.


As the French say:


The more it changes,

the more it remains the same.


Newburyport is a center of art and creativity and exuberance of commerce.      The local historic district will allow us to burst out with the full energy from our businesses and citizenry without our efforts resulting in our own demise.      


Now that is security.


-P. Preservationist

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