Could you imagine how long Mystic Seaport or Sturbridge or Plymouth would survive if the historic draws of these communities were expunged?
Let’s use Mystic Seaport and Sturbridge as particular examples. Both have their ‘Storey Avenues’ that lie just outside the historic part of these communities.
How long do you think the bed & Breakfasts, hotels, motels and shops would survive if someone suggested the historic Mystic Seaport Village or the colonial Sturbridge were closed down? Without the powerful draw of these two locations, it wouldn’t be long before the surrounding area would be shuttered. Why would anyone bother to travel to these two locations if the draw was not there? Even in the historic parts of these communities, the shops and the B&B’s and the restaurants would slowly cease to exist.
And yet, we have had some in our community who actually think that people only come to Newburyport to go to the restaurants. Others have suggested the main draw was our shops. Others thought it was our boardwalk or bike trails or our art community.
All these would cease to prosper if we did not have a solid anchor of history.
Our Federalist downtown is a big draw and our historic neighborhoods seal the pack but none of it would make any sense unless we have our historic sites:
The Historical Society of Old Newbury Campus
The Custom House Maritime Museum
The Lighthouse (Range Light) Restaurant
The Firehouse Center for Performing Arts
The Newburyport Art Association
The Old South Church & St. Paul’s
Bartlett Mall & The Superior Court House
Old Hill Burying Ground & Oak Hill Cemetery
The Powder House Museum
The Chain Bridge
These are our anchors! They along with our eco-tourism elements are what makes us a draw for thousands of visitors.
It is what supports our lodgings, our shops and our restaurants.
And I might add, they give meaning and depth to what our city is all about. They need to be cherished and supported for so much of our commercial fate rests upon the respect and reinforcement of our history.
More of our citizens need to get involved in supporting one or more of the list above. Our museums need to be cherished for they are the most accessible and physical representations of our history.
And in Newburyport, history is money.