It was quite significant to see the grand opening of Newburyport’s first Heritage Park centered around the Powder House. Contrary to many less familiar with history, powder houses played a vitally important role in the birth of our nation.
And OUR powder houses played a strategic role.
The original powder house was located near the Old Burial Grounds just south of the Bartlett Mall. When the British knew that trouble was brewing over the tea tax, shipments coming in were sent up to the secure powder house to avoid potential trouble.
Eleazor Johnson, weeks before the Boston Tea Party, a shipbuilder who worked at the foot of Ship Street, came with a company of fellow workers, broke down the door of the powder house and hauled the tea to Market Square where it was burned.
Later, the powder house became crucial as gunpowder and weapons were brought in by two major shipments by Captain William Coombs destined for the siege of Boston and the general war effort and stored at the Powder House.
So, as many of our parks are off season, the gates were firmly closed and no access is possible except by appointment. Therefore, it would be nice to have a video tour to remind everyone of its presence.
The first thing you see is a nice billboard explaining the park:
Afterward, you gaze up Godffrey’s Hill:
The first thing you notice is the first plaque displayed:
Continuing up the hill you notice the evidence of the original restoration that was conducted under the mayor ship of Byron Matthews and which culminated in a ceremony in 1976 and now placed on the ground in 2012 to remember their efforts:
You then go up to the next plaque that explains this powder house’s important role during the Civil War.
Then you finally stumble upon the cobblestone path that was created around the Powder House:
Then you see the third important interpretive panel :
And finally you come to the Powder House itself, fully restored, as if it ready to receive its first allotment of gunpowder.
This time a new plaque was installed to commemorate the achievement of its current preservationists and the public and private organizations and persons who assisted in providing the resources for an adventure in restoration.
We have a lot of people to thank but most in particular were the hard efforts by Karen Holt and Tom Kolterjahn. It is fitting to end this post with a plaque that chows all the dedicated individuals, groups and organizations that all pitched in to see this heritage park become a reality.