While I was on my way to the Old House & Barn Exhibition in Manchester, New Hampshire, I had a rather interesting experience. A short time ago, my credit card was about to be renewed and they sent in a new card. My wife suggested I put on the backside, “Show ID”. Well, now I am not so sure that was a good idea.
I stopped in Londonderry since I spotted a Staples near the highway and went in for toner. Used my card and naturally they wanted me to show my ID. “Newburyport”, the attendant exclaimed, “I just love Newburyport – I just love all those old buildings.” and it sparked a whole conversation about our City. I went a little farther toward Manchester and stopped for gas. Yes, you guessed it! Pulled out that ID and here it came again…”Newburyport, I just love Newburyport!” And then I stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts and again…
When I finally got to the Exhibition which was great by the way, I spoke to several people deeply involved in historic preservation. Just like Chris Skelly says he has encountered, they all firmly believed that we embraced historic protections and they wanted their towns and cities, “To be just like Newburyport”.
I hadn’t the heart to tell them we have a vocal minority who want to turn their backs on Newburyport’s reputation. A group that are determined to push our City back into obscurity.
You see, these people I encountered weren’t raving about Anna Jaques Hospital. We love our hospital but local medical facilities are a dime a dozen all across New England. They weren’t raving about our marinas or our beaches – dozens of harbor and seaside towns have these. Nor are they raving about our Common Pasture, our K-mart, Market Basket or Shaws. And hundreds of other towns have little shops and restaurants.
People are drawn to Newburyport by our historic architecture and Downtown, in which a significant group that I speak to don’t just want to visit, they want to live here. And that is our draw and our treasure – and it needs to be protected!
That is why the local historic district ordinance is so important to preserve the very thing that draws new citizens and visitors. As our fame grows, it will translate into more visitors and more recognition and that will translate into a benefit for every citizen.
PS. We have more online petition signers to the Champions of Historic Preservation. Welcome aboard! We have 363 signers of which most are still residents of Newburyport – and we are shooting for 400! Let’s make history!