Pushing for Newburyport’s Historic Significance (Part I)

Don’t get me wrong – I think of the worthy work by Ghlee Woodworth of promoting the history behind the city’s three major cemeteries; and her recent venture of the Clipper Heritage Trail.     I also celebrate the fine work by the Custom House, the Historical Society of Old Newbury and by the Library’s archive room.

But if we are to achieve the all-important designation of a National Historic Landmark city like Lowell, we need to show what has occurred in Newburyport that would earn it such a designation.

I think of my wife’s city in New Jersey where she went to High School – Bound Brook.      Never heard of it?      Yet this municipality is over 100 years older than Newburyport.      Yes, back when it was a Dutch colony!      Their downtown is a rather dreary rendition of 1950’s architecture and the residential areas are largely Victorian in appearance.      Not much came out of that city – no museum, no major draw except being on the train line to Newark and New York; not enough to even gain a plaque here or there.

If the tread of history was simply enough, they would beat us hands down.

By showing that a town has a major national significance; the National Park Service responding to the National Landmark Status has then the obligation to show its presence, promote the city, promote nationwide and it makes a way for funding to find its way locally.         It turned Lowell from being a Lawrence and made it into a (not quite) Newburyport.

As the city works to redo and update the Master Plan; it aught to be a major objective – the designation doesn’t protect the city’s historic architecture and history but it should make it an easier undertaking.

Achieving this objective is not easy – you don’t just snap your fingers and it happens.     A whole lot of people have to be convinced that Newburyport has national historic significance.

So the question begs a challenge – what does Newburyport have that would easily earn it this designation?

The answer is in the next post!

-P. Preservationist


This entry was posted in Architecture, Art & Culture, Economics, Education, Health and wellness, Heritage Tourism, History, Open Space, Quality of Life, Streetscapes, Tourism, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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