“People come to Newburyport to be attracted by the historicity of the community… we want to continue that.”
-Dick Sullivan, Sr, June 18, 2007, Renovators had rules to follow when rebuilding, Newburyport Daily News.
I hate to be crude about it but it is time to just blurt it out, “Promoting our history on the waterfront, and in the downtown and the historic neighborhoods is a huge cash-generator.
The prevailing viewpoint of dull-minded bank financiers, and silly real estate agents and lower-baser-sort contractors and developers coupled with people who view the world through mediocrity; and impatient businessmen who can only see a short-term cash output: history doesn’t make any money.
THE TRUTH IS, IT MAKES FAR MORE MONEY AND THE MONEY GENERATED GOES FARTHER INTO PAYING FOR OUR INFRASTRUCTURE AND SCHOOLS; AND KEEPS GENERATING MORE MONEY THE MORE HERITAGE TOURISM IS PROMOTED!
Massachusetts Historical Commission has estimated, as other states have also calculated who run along the same region as the 13 original colonies; hundreds of millions have been generated by honoring the past in architecture, culture and society.
It is sad when people smirk at the Newburyport Preservation Trust like it’s some kind of altruistic club gathering around and stroking old moldings. Instead, they are working night and day to make sure we STAY affluent and the envy of other communities. Wisely, they have allied themselves with our museums (and historic churches and historic organizations), and yes, even talented craftsmen, contractors and developers; to champion the history that lies behind our beautiful architecture.
So it is sad when Yankee Homecoming, which was set at its date, the Founding of the Coast Guard in Newburyport, to have an Old Fashioned Sunday that has nothing to do with honoring the Old Fashioned. A Plastic train, a midway, pro-wrestling and art displays with pop music accompanied by screaming children led by parents who think John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan are ancient history is all you are going to see. My advice: If you don’t have little kids, stay away. Sadly, the closest to history are ship models at the First Religious Society downtown.
But I don’t want to leave you in despair. Thanks to people like Ghlee Woodworth, and Linda Tulley and Mary Baker; Yankee Homecoming is going to be satisfying the craving of our visitors who have caught the ‘historicity bug’.
These visitors who will be coming in droves want to know what lies behind these houses, what history made such a gorgeous town, and they want to understand what they are seeing. These insightful people will actually generate money for the YH; not scarf the free stuff and bolt. They will linger to hear about the adventure and romance instead of hitting the gas pedal to get out of town after the concerts and fireworks. These are the ones that will study carefully pages 24 and 25 of the Yankee Homecoming Brochure and explore. These are the ones that will come away from our city craving to come back and come back and come back excited to experience Clipper City.
These will linger to catch the atmosphere of what it means to be in Newburyport and will stay here, eat here, shop here and most of all, walk in wonder through our neighborhoods.
During Yankee Homecoming, they will see many plaques with brief stories and be even more inquisitive.
A new feature has been devised in which historic homeowners are encouraged to put out a ‘story’ about their house – on post board. Already, the map is filling in fast and more are encouraged to participate. As our visitors walk our streets or take a tour to walk our streets; they will be getting that historicity craving satisfied.
Check out the Facebook page on what is being planned for Yankee Homecoming and go to the website which will instruct you on how to research your home. You will be amazed what you will discover. For example, at the end of my street is a non-descript house. It is where a famous arctic explorer lived who co-founded the National Geographic Society and the New York Explorer’s Club and is now buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Wow!
Not only will you be enriched, and will enrich the lives of our visitors; but the next time a cruel developer wants to destroy one of our historic homes by claiming nothing ever occurred there significantly; we as neighbors can proudly counter that our city is full of historic events and they are focused and lie within our precious homes.
Please reveal your house’s history!