The Death of 14 Russia St–Newburyport

14 Russia StreetWithout any fanfare, the third week of February 2013 saw the death of another antique/historic home in Newburyport. It was 14 Russia St. Perhaps the building was beyond repair. Perhaps it wasn’t worth saving – financially. But it was yet another nail in the coffin known as the loss of Newburyport culture. No doubt a new, shiny, plastic edifice with all the luxuries of the 21st century will take its place.
The home had a character. It was a place where families grew up, saw Christmases, birthdays, deaths, and as Liz Hallett says, “It sheltered souls.” People who lived there heard of the news of Lincoln’s assassination, the Wright Brothers’ flight, and men walking on the moon. Kids went trick-or-treating and friends came to visit.
 
Just imagine if everyone with a historic home tore them down and built new ones. No one would come to Newburyport anymore because the history they [would] come to see would be gone.
 
– William Hallett
 
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                                 Images courtesy of William Hallett

Postscript from P. Preservationist:     The City Council has done nothing to protect our city – just kicked the can down the road.       They’re continued inaction in doing the fundamental work of government (which is to protect) will only see more destruction of our city’s greatest asset – the Newburyport Historic District and eventually our cultural and financial assets.     

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This entry was posted in Demolitions, Heritage Tourism, Historic Demolitions, Preservation, Tourism. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Death of 14 Russia St–Newburyport

  1. Councillor Robert J. Cronin says:

    The house at 14 Russia Street was in fact covered by the one year demolition delay ordinance currently in effect. The owners sought to demo the property because it was structurally unsound. Both the Building Commissioner and the Historical Commission who oversee the demo delay agreed. And agreed with what was seemingly little fanfare. The current demo delay on the books in Newburyport since 2005 is very similar with other municipalities throughout the Commonwealth that also chose to have a delay ordinance or by-law. Council did not “kick the can down the road” but rather addressed this issue sometime ago. The demo delay must take into account structures that are no longer salvageable, apparently like 14 Russia Street. It is unfortunate but for a myriad of reasons some homes reach the end of their life and apparently the Historical Commission reached the same diagnosis.

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