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!