Category Archives: Fun

Fun in Newburyport, MA, enjoyable, amusing and entertaining events, images, happenings on the Newburyport Blog.

Newburyport, There Once was a Railroad Station on Pond Street where CVS is Now

Back in September when I did a story on 7 Pond Street I discovered all sorts of things about Pond Street and the Bartlet Mall that I never knew before. And one of those things is that there was once a railroad station where CVS is now located.

The 1851 Map of Frog Pond

1851 Map, Frog Pond, Newburyport, MA

1851 Map, Frog Pond, Newburyport, MA

In the 1851 Map of Frog Pond there are a bunch of houses between Frog Pond and Pond Street.

The 1872 map showing the Railroad depot.

1872 Map showing Frog Pond and the Rail Road

1872 Map showing Frog Pond and the Rail Road

In the 1872 map most of those houses still exist, but low and behold there is a train depot across the street where CVS is now located.

Detail of the 1872 map

1872 Map, detail, Rail Road, Pond and Greenleaf Street

1872 Map, detail, Rail Road, Pond and Greenleaf Street

The 1924 map of Pond Street

1924 Map of Pond Street

1924 Map of Pond Street

And in the 1924 map the houses between Frog Pond and Pond Street are now gone, but the building where CVS is now is still there.

A map of the rail road routes into and out of Newburyport, from Scott’s Railroad Archaeology Page

A map of the rail road routes into and out of Newburyport, from Scott's Railroad Archaeology Page

A map of the rail road routes into and out of Newburyport, from Scott’s Railroad Archaeology Page

Fortunately Joe Callahan wrote an article in the Newburyport Daily News in 2009 with lots of information about the railroad station. Joe wrote that around 1853 the Boston and Maine Railroad took over the operation of the Newburyport Railroad Company and both passenger and freight service existed. The passenger depot building faced Pond Street and the Bartlet Mall.  Around 1884 passenger service stopped on Pond Street and the depot was used only for freight.

This is a photograph of the Pond Street Depot from the New York Public Library.

Pond Street Depot from the New York Public Library

Pond Street Depot from the New York Public Library

Pond Street from the New York Public Library, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Pond St.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Detail of the passenger station depot with houses across the street courtesy of the New York Public Library

Detail of the passenger station depot with houses across the street, New York Public Library

Detail of the passenger station depot with houses across the street, New York Public Library

Second detail with the houses across the street (that are on the map) from the New York Public Library

Detail of the passenger station depot with houses across the street, New York Public Library

Detail of the passenger station depot with houses across the street, New York Public Library

The New York Public Library also has this photograph of the Pond Street houses.

Pond Street houses, courtesy of the New York Public Library

Pond Street houses, courtesy of the New York Public Library

Pond Street houses, courtesy of the New York Public Library

And yes indeed they match exactly the photograph that we have in the Newburyport Public Library of the houses that once belonged to Stephen Hooper (see earlier post).

Pond Street houses courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Pond Street houses courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Pond Street houses courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

All of which is pretty cool.

And the Newburyport Public Library also has a photograph of the B&M Passenger Station in the Archival Center.

Passenger station courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Passenger station courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center.

Passenger station courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center.

A second photograph of the train station across from Frog Pond courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center.

Passenger station, Pond Street, courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Passenger station, Pond Street, courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

By 1921 the train station looks like it had fallen on harder times. This photograph is from a book published in 1921, “The Boston and Maine Railroad; a history of the main road, with its tributary lines,” by Francis Boardman Crowninshield Bradlee.

The Newburyport train station in 1921

The Newburyport train station in 1921

The Newburyport train station in 1921

Joe Callahan writes that, “The original passenger depot building that faced on Pond Street was purchased in 1928 by “Bossy” Gillis and moved to Dalton Street. It was demolished several years later.”

On February 21, 1935,  according to Joe, “The new B&M “Flying Yankee” streamliner arrived at the Pond Street yard and opened for public inspection. The Daily News reported 6,000 people boarded and viewed its lavish interior.”

The Flying Yankee was a very big deal.

Photograph of the Flying Yankee

Photograph of the Flying Yankee

Photograph of the Flying Yankee

A ticket for the Flying Yankee between Boston and Newburyport

A ticket for the Flying Yankee between Boston and Newburyport

A ticket for the Flying Yankee between Boston and Newburyport

A menu for the Flying Yankee

A menu for the Flying Yankee

A menu for the Flying Yankee

There was no kitchen or dining car for food preparation on the train, passengers ate at their seats with trays similar to airline service. The food for the train was provided by the Armstrong Company.

The Boston and Maine Timetable  1943

The Boston and Maine Timetable 1943

The Boston and Maine Timetable 1943

According to Joe, “There was an old wooden roundhouse at the Pond Street yard, and upon the elimination of the passenger service, it was moved to face Greenleaf Street. In March 1908, Glen Mills Cereal Company of Rowley leased the structure and operated for many years making flour. The mill, under different owners, ceased operations in the early 1940s. Both Hytron and C. Leary Bottling Company leased the building for storage for many years following the mill operations.”

Joe writes that, “Back in the 1940s, there were always 10 or 12 freight cars at the depot. New cars arrived almost daily and were immediately unloaded.” And  “With the decline of the railroads in the 1950s, the Pond Street site was closed and sold to the First National Supermarket chain. The last freight train out of Pond Street was in late 1954.

The freight house and the mill were demolished in the summer of 1955 and the tracks removed then as well. The First National opened in October 1956, expanded with an addition in April 1968 and closed in July 1980. A couple other food stores operated for short periods of time, but were unsuccessful before giving way to the busy CVS.”

Wedding Dress Worn by Nathaniel Carter’s Bride, Mary Beck, Newburyport 1742

Wedding dress worn by Nathaniel Carter's Bride, Mary Beck, Newburyport 1742

Wedding dress worn by Nathaniel Carter’s Bride, Mary Beck, Newburyport 1742

Wedding dress worn by Mary Beck at her marriage to Nathaniel Carter, Newburyport, Massachusetts, September 1, 1742, the Museum of Fine Arts, MFA, Boston

Detail of the wedding dress

Detail of the wedding dress

Detail of the wedding dress

Detail of the shoes and wedding dress.

Detail of the shoes and wedding dress.

Detail of the shoes and wedding dress

 The formal wedding announcement of the marriage of Nathaniel Carter to Mary Beck

The formal wedding announcement of the marriage of Nathaniel Carter to Mary Beck

The formal wedding announcement of the marriage of Nathaniel Carter to Mary Beck

I found this wedding dress by chance, and I recognized the name. Nathaniel Carter was Rev. Thomas Cary’s father-in-law (see earlier post). Thomas Cary married Nathaniel Carter’s daughter Esther Carter in 1775.

After I wrote the post I discovered a deed from 1775 to Thomas Cary and his wife from Mr. Carter.

Here is a transcript of part of the 1775 deed (Page: 134 & Book: 148) from Nathaniel Carter “in consideration of the love and affection I bear to my son-in-law Thomas Cary and to Esther his wife my daughter land lying in Newbury-Port containing about two and a quarter acres with the dwelling house barn thereon on a highway called High Street”  dated August 12, 1775.

Deed to Thomas and Esther Cary from Nathaniel Carter 1775

Deed to Thomas and Esther Cary from Nathaniel Carter 1775

Deed to Thomas and Esther Cary from Nathaniel Carter

Nathaniel Carter was born in 1715 and died in 1798.  He was a wealthy Newburyport merchant* and a large landowner. He married Mary Beck in 1742 and had 9 children, Esther was one of his daughters.

Nathaniel was one of the people who urged Newburyport to become a separate town from Newbury in 1764. He was Newburyport’s first treasurer. Carter was interested in education — two writing schools and one Latin grammar school for boys. One schoolhouse was on the upper side of Winter Street (near where the Kelly School building is), and the other was on School Street (land where the Jackman School once stood). He was  was one of nine people who petitioned for a bridge crossing the Merrimac River at Deer Island.  He owned land in what was then referred to as the “old part of town” as well as large tracts of land in Newburyport near the Deer Island. He owned land on High Street between Broad and Carter Street which extended slightly past what is now Munroe Street (I would imagine that Carter Street is named after him) and between Carter and Buck Streets.**

The Diary of John Quincy Adams

The Diary of John Quincy Adams

In the Diary of John Quincy Adams (September 13, 1787) I found his account of dining with Nathaniel Carter:

“Dined with Dr. Kilham at Mr. Carter’s. This is a very friendly, obliging old gentleman, about 73 years of age, as I collected from his conversation: he is very sociable, and is a great genealogist. He gave me a much more circumstantial account of my ancestry, for four or five generations back, than I had ever known before, and I am told he can give the same kind of information to almost any body else. He has two sons with him, both I believe between 25 and 30 years old and one daughter: one of his daughters was married in the beginning of the summer, to Mr. W. Smith of Boston and his eldest son, proposes to be married in the spring to Miss Eppes Cutts, who has made her appearance heretofore in this journal. Her sister, Miss Nancy Cutts is now upon a visit at Mr. Carter’s, and dined with us. I think she is handsomer, and that her manners are easier than those of her Sister. How the comparison might be, in mental qualifications I am not able to decide.” *

Signature of John Quincy Adams

Signature of John Quincy Adams

Signature of John Quincy Adams

The actual page from John Quincy Adams Diary describing his account of dining with Nathaniel Carter

The actual page from John Quincy Adams Diary describing his account of dining with Nathaniel Carter ***

The actual page from John Quincy Adams Diary describing his account of dining with Nathaniel Carter ***

Unfortunately I could not find any portraits of either Nathaniel or his wife, and was not able to figure out where they lived in Newburyport. He was a contemporary of Patrick Tracy who built Tracy Mansion (the Newburyport Public Library).

This wonderful wedding dress was, by happy circumstance, what I discovered.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

* Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2, September 13, 1787, Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2016.   http://www.masshist.org/apde2/

** “North End Papers 1618-1880, Newburyport, Massachusetts: Development of the North End of the City” by Oliver B. Merrill, Originally published in the Newburyport Daily News 1906 &1908, transcribed by Margaret Peckham Motes 2007

***  John Quincy Adams diary 11, 1 July 1786 – 31 October 1787, page 337 [electronic edition]. The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection. Boston, Mass. : Massachusetts Historical Society, 2004. http://www.masshist.org/jqadiaries

Original manuscript: Adams, John Quincy. John Quincy Adams diary 11, 1 July 1786 – 31 October 1787. 2 + 377 pages (2 unnumbered pages, including handwritten title page, preceed numbered pages; pages 1-134, and 137-376 are numbered, pages 135-136 are blank and unnumbered, page 377 is unnumbered). Page dimensions: 17.2 cm x 12.1 cm (6-3/4 x in. 4-3/4 in.). Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

A 2003 grant from Save America’s Treasures, “Conservation of the Diary of President John Quincy Adams,” enabled the Massachusetts Historical Society to clean and deacidify soiled and brittle pages of the original manuscript volumes and to repair pages with paper loss, tears, or holes. Loose sheets of paper were hinged and tipped-in, and loose signatures were resewn. A conservation bookbinder repaired broken and damaged spines and covers on twenty-five of the fifty-one volumes. Because all of the bindings are original to John Quincy Adams, the conservation treatment was minimally invasive, because the diaries are artifacts worthy of study in their own right. The diary volumes now are stored in microchamber cases.

 

Tamsen Donner, 50 Milk Street, a Pioneer Woman, and the Wheelwrights were Actually Carpetbaggers

A couple of people asked me to look into Tamsen Donner, I had never ever heard of her. And along the way I found out a few things about “the Wheelwrights” of Newburyport.

Tamsen was related to the Wheelwrights. Please bear with me.

Jeremiah Wheelwright (born 1732) married Mary Davis (born 1737) (of Gloucester) .

They had a bunch of children including:

Abraham (born 1757) (who is a very big deal in Newburyport, he built 77 High Street.)
Ebenezer  (born 1763) (father of William Wheelwright , who is a very big deal in Newburyport, he owned 75 High Street.)
Tamsen (born 1801)

75 and 77 High Street, Courtesy of Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey,  Frank O. Branzetti, Photographer, Nov. 19, 1940

75 and 77 High Street, Courtesy of Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, Frank O. Branzetti, Photographer, Nov. 19, 1940

75 and 77 High Street, Courtesy of Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, Frank O. Branzetti, Photographer, Nov. 19, 1940

Jeremiah is first a school teacher and then an explorer, he died in 1778 in Gloucester or died of exposure in a campaign in Canada (there are conflicting accounts).*  His widow, Mary, “removed, with her family” from Gloucester to Newburyport. **3*  “The Wheelwrights” who have enhanced our city in so many ways, moved from Gloucester — and they, in today’s Newburyport terms, were carpetbaggers.  Mary died in 1822 at the age of 85.

The daughter, Tamsen, married William Eustis in 1785 and they lived in Newburyport. They had a daughter also named Tamsen born in 1801, who eventually married George Donner in 1839. So Tamsen Eustis Donner is the niece of Abraham Wheelwright and the cousin of William Wheelwright.

There has been some question as to where Tamsen Donner was born. I was told by a friend that she was born on Milk Street. And yup, my friend was right. I was able to trace the deed of 50 Milk Street back to Tamsen’s father, Willimam Eustis. And in the book, “Searching for Tamsen Donner,”** the author Gabrielle Burton mentions that Betsy Woodman had also told her that Tamsen was born at 50 Milk Street. So 50 Milk Street is a pretty significant place.

50 Milk Street, Newburyport

50 Milk Street, Newburyport

50 Milk Street, Newburyport

Tamsen Donner

Who is Tamsen Donner?  Tamsen Donner is a heroine in the infamous “Donner Party,” a group of 87 pioneers who set out for California in a wagon train in 1846 and became trapped in the winter of 1846-1847 in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, what is now known as the  Donner Pass, and 39 people died. Some of the pioneers resorted to cannibalism to survive in what has been described as “one of the most bizarre and spectacular tragedies in Californian history and western-US migration.” ***

“In 1836 she (Tamsen) journeyed to the home of her brother in Illinois (after she had lost her first husband and and child in North Carolina to influenza in 1831) to teach his motherless children, remaining with his family for one winter before obtaining a teaching position in a school in Auburn, Ill. The following year she moved to the school at Sugar Creek where she met George Donner, whose home was near Springfield. Donner, a native of Rowan County, N.C., was a wealthy and respected man, twice widowed with young children still in the home. They were married on 24 May 1839, and in the following years Tamsen Donner bore three daughters, Frances (4 July 1840), Georgia (3 Dec. 1841), and Eliza (8 Mar. 1843).

Tamsen Donner was an intelligent woman, proficient in mathematics, geometry, and philosophy; she was fluent in French, an avid botanist, a competent painter, and a writer of prose and poetry. She is described as a small woman, five feet in height with a usual weight of ninety-six pounds, richly but quietly dressed, gracious, and charming. She and her husband were members of the German Prairie Christian Church near Springfield

It is somewhat surprising that the Donner family chose to leave their wealth in Sangamon County, Ill., to undertake a hazardous journey by wagon to California in 1846. George was sixty-two years old; Tamsen was forty-four with three small children and two stepdaughters. In early May George, his brother, Jacob, and their families left Independence, Mo., with a sizable train and traveled west during the summer with little difficulty. Nearing the end of their journey, they were beset by bad judgment and weather and were snowed in near what is now called the Donner Pass. Nearly half of the travelers died from exposure and starvation during the winter of 1846–47. Those who survived resorted to cannibalism.

Although small in stature, Mrs. Donner remained in good health and able to care for her family. Her daughters were rescued by search parties, but she refused to leave her husband who was dying from an infected wound. She was last seen by members of the third rescue party. The fourth and last group found only one person alive in the camps. There was no trace of Tamsen Donner’s body. She is presumed to have died between 26 March and 17 April 1847, approximately one year after leaving her home in Illinois.” ****

Tamsen Donner is the heroine of this story because she chose to send her children on with the last rescue party, and stayed with her husband while he was dying, a choice that meant certain death for Tamsen. **2*

A portrait of Georgia A. Donner, one of the surviving children from “History of the Donner Party: a Tragedy of the Sierra” by Charles Fayette McGlashan, 1880

A portrait of Georgia A. Donner, one of the surviving children from "History of the Donner Party: a Tragedy of the Sierra" by Charles Fayette McGlashan, 1880

A portrait of Georgia A. Donner, one of the surviving children from “History of the Donner Party: a Tragedy of the Sierra” by Charles Fayette McGlashan, 1880

The Donner Memorial State Park, the site of the Donner Camp where the Donner Party was trapped has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, commemorating the greatest mass migration in American history in the 1840s and 1850s, enticed by the California Gold Rush, where over 250,000 gold-seekers and farmers traveled overland for the gold fields and rich farmlands of California — the Emigrant Trail. The park contains the Emigrant Trail Museum.

The plaque for Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner

The plaque for Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner

The plaque for Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner

The plaque for Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner in part reads, Near this site, in the winter of 1846, two pioneer woman gave up their lives for their families. however most of their children survived to carry their mother’s dreams of a new life and new beginning to the valleys of California.

An inspiration to all who followed their footsteps across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we herein honor the memory and the sacrifices of these two women in opening California to its destiny.

Wagon Train on the Emigrant Trail

Wagon Train on the Emigrant Trail

Wagon Train on the Emigrant Trail

* “The Wheelwright Family Story, by Steve J. Plummer” 2010

** “Searching for Tamsen Donner” by Gabrielle Burton, 2009

*** “History of the Donner Party: a Tragedy of the Sierra” by Charles Fayette McGlashan, 1880

**** “Dictionary of North Carolina Biography” by Martha Nel Hardy, University of North Carolina Press

**2* Tamsen Donner Letters: From dream to Legacy
http://www.thestormking.com/Donner_Party/Tamsen_Donner_Letters/tamsen_donner_letters.html

**3* “Ould Newbury: Historical and Biographical Sketches” by John James Currier

Tamsen Donner, Newburyport

Ethel Reed, 53 Kent Street, A Rediscovered Artist of the 1890s and a Great Beauty

This has got to be another one of my favorite stories. Ethel Reed, born in Newburyport, I had never heard of her, and what an intriguing story.

Ethel was born in Newburyport in 1874, her father was Edgar Eugene Reed who married Mary Elizabeth Mahoney.  Edgar is listed in the Newburyport City Directory as living at 41 Kent Street which today is 53 Kent Street (a big thank you to the Newburyport Assessors Office for helping me figure out the exact location of where Ethel lived).

53 Kent Street, Newburyport

53 Kent Street, Newburyport, Google Maps

53 Kent Street, Newburyport, Google Maps

Her father’s obituary describes him as a “Well Known and Popular Photographer.” Ethel and her family either lived with her father’s family on Kent Street or rented the house.

Very recently Ethel Reed has been “rediscovered.” There is a biography of her now by William Peterson.*  I would disagree with Mr. Peterson’s description of the bleakness of Ethel’s early life in Newburyport and the desolation that he describes of Newburyport in general. I ended up with the opinion that Mr. Peterson understands very little about Newburyport, not much about artists (I am one) and very little about women (I am one of those too).

(One of the things that I have discovered looking into all these Newburyport stories is that people often rented houses. In another hunt, in 1836 I found two advertisements for fancy houses on High Street “To be Let,” i.e. rented, with a mention of the people who were currently renting them. One of the other things that I’ve found in all this research is that multi-generations of families, with their children’s spouses and their children lived in the same house. Lots of people lived in one house, unlike today. “Boarders” who are often listed in the Newburyport City Directories were often family members — Abbie Foster, her husband Daniel, and her sister Helen all lived with her mother at 14 Spring Street, and there are just tons of examples.)

Ethel’s life on Kent Street might not have been quite as horrible as Mr. Peterson speculates. There is a glorious sketch of Ethel by none other than Laura Coombs Hill in 1880 when Ethel was 6 years old. The drawing is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston — the MFA, really!

Ethel Reed, by Laura Coombs Hill, 1880, 10 x 7 3/4 inches Wash and chalk on paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Ethel Reed, by Laura Coombs Hill, 1880, 10 x 7 3/4 inches
Wash and chalk on paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Ethel Reed, by Laura Coombs Hill, 1880, 10 x 7 3/4 inches
Wash and chalk on paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In 1890 Ethel and her mother apparently went to Boston (her father died in 1892). The Smithsonian Art Museum has this description of Ethel Reed (yup, the Smithsonian–the Smithsonian, I’m not kidding!).

Ethel Reed, Photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1897

Ethel Reed, Photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1897

Ethel Reed, Photograph by  Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1897

“(Ethel) Reed briefly attended art school in Boston but was largely self-trained. Her circle included artists and writers in both Boston and London. She posed for photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston and F. Holland Day, and she provided illustrations forThe Yellow Book, an avant-garde British periodical. One of the most talented and prolific artists of the 1890s, she made her name during the poster craze of the period. She produced book illustrations, cover designs, and more than 25 posters, mostly in just two years, 1895 and 1896. Her creative burst earned her international recognition and she traveled to Europe and completed a few commissions for British publications through about 1898. Then she disappeared from the historical record.” **

A poster by Ethel Reed, The house of the trees and other poems by Ethelwyn Wetherald Boston : Lamson, Wolffe, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

A poster by Ethel Reed, The house of the trees and other poems by Ethelwyn Wetherald
Boston : Lamson, Wolffe, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

A poster by Ethel Reed, The house of the trees and other poems by Ethelwyn Wetherald
Boston : Lamson, Wolffe, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C 

There was an art show in Washington DC in 1896 mostly containing Ethel’s art work. The Washington Post describes Ethel Reed as “the foremost woman poster maker in America” and “one of the most beautiful women Washington has seen in ages.” *

"The Gainsborough hat" Photograph showing a woman (Ethel Reed), head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, wearing a plumed hat, by F. Holland Day, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

“The Gainsborough hat” Photograph showing a woman (Ethel Reed), head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, wearing a plumed hat, by F. Holland Day, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

“The Gainsborough hat”
Photograph showing a woman (Ethel Reed), head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, wearing a plumed hat, by F. Holland Day, 1895, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

Helena Wright, the curator of the Graphic Arts Division at the Smithsonian Art Museum says that the Smithsonian Art Museum has a significant collection of Ethel Reed’s art work, including some of her earliest posters and a few unpublished designs. They were donated by Commander Charlotte Hume, U.S. Navy. The collection descended through Hume’s great-aunts, the Smith sisters of Newburyport, who knew Reed in the 1890s, but they lost touch when she moved to London. Reed presented the Smiths with her first posters soon after they were issued. Many are signed and dated in Reed’s distinctive, bold hand, “Compliments of Ethel Reed.” **

A poster by Ethel Reed, The Boston Sunday Herald, Ladies Want It, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

A poster by Ethel Reed, The Boston Sunday Herald, Ladies Want It, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C

A poster by Ethel Reed, The Boston Sunday Herald, Ladies Want It, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C
(This was  Ethel Reed’s first poster.**)

Ethel ended up getting engaged to Philip Leslie Hale who was from a prominent, very stuffy Boston family. It appears that the family did not approve of the engagement which was broken off.  Philip and Ethel apparently had been planning to go to Paris for their honeymoon and Ethel took off to Paris without him. She ended up living in London, and nothing much is known about her from that time. Apparently she died in 1912 at the age of 36.  Her biographer speculates that opium, alcohol and sleeping medication contributed to her death.*

A photograph of Ethel Reed by Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1896

A photograph of Ethel Reed by Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1896

A photograph of Ethel Reed by Frances Benjamin Johnston, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 1896

* “The Beautiful Poster Lady, A Life of Ethel Reed” by William S. Peterson, Oak Knoll Press, 2013

** Biography on the Smithsonian website by Helena E. Wright, the Curator of Graphic Arts in the Division of Culture and the Arts at the Smithsonian Art Museum

Ethel Reed, Newburyport, Art and Beauty

Clarence Fogg, Mayor of Newburyport 1915-1916

The portrait of Clarence Fogg, hanging in Newburyport City Hall

The portrait of Clarence Fogg, hanging in Newburyport City Hall

The portrait of Clarence Fogg, hanging in Newburyport City Hall

In my hunt for forgotten folks in Newburyport and where they lived, I came across Clarence Fogg. Mr. Fogg was born in 1853 (that would make him slightly younger, 7 years, than Abbie Foster, see earlier post, who was born in 1846) and died in 1936 at the age of 83. As a young man he was a sailor “at which time he visited most of the principal seaports of the world.” *  When he came back home he worked as a shoe cutter in the Dodge shoe factory.

And in 1896 there is this lovely account of in the Newburyport Daily News about a birthday party given for Clarence’s son.

Raiised A Flag. Clarence Fogg Celebrated Birthday Anniversary in Patriotic Manner

There was a flag raising on Milk street Saturday afternoon when the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Fogg  celebrated his 10th birthday. There were about 50 people present and Capt. William Reed was master of ceremonies.

Miss Tula, daughter of Prentiss Reed, spoke several appropriate selections. Mr. Fogg had erected a large flag pole in his yard while the party sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” a beautiful American flag was unfurled from the top mast. After the flag raising a lunch was served and a merry time was enjoyed.” **

A Clipping from the Newburyport Daily News June 22, 1896

A Clipping from the Newburyport Daily News June 22, 1896

Clipping from the Newburyport Daily News June 22, 1896

The Newburyport City Directory shows that Clarence Fogg lived in what was then numbered as 33 Milk Street, it is numbered 43 Milk Street today (a big thank you to our Newburyport Assessors Office for helping me figure that out).

43 Milk Street, Newburyport

43 Milk Street, Newburyport

43 Milk Street, Newburyport

Clarence became involved in Newburyport city and Massachusetts state government. He was elected to the old common council in 1900 and served the next year on the board of alderman.* He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (then called the Massachusetts General Court) from 1902 to 1908.  And in 1915 and 1916 he was elected as the Mayor of Newburyport.

The Newburyport City Directory has Clarence Fogg living at 110 State Street during the time that he was mayor.

110 State Street, Newburyport

110 State Street, Newburyport, Google Maps

110 State Street, Newburyport

Clarence Fogg, courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Clarence Fogg, courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Clarence Fogg, courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

* The Newburyport Daily News, September 28, 1936
** The Newburyport Daily News, June 22, 1896

And a big “thank you” to Ghlee Woodworth for helping me locate Clarence Fogg’s portrait at Newburyport City Hall

An Old Photo of Abbie Foster’s House, 74 High Street, looking towards Horton Street

An old photo of 74 High Street Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

An old photo of 74 High Street Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

An old photo of 74 High Street Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center

Sharon Spieldenner from the Archival Center at the Newburyport Library (I love, love, love the Archival Center) found an old photo of Abbie Foster’s house and sent it to me. There are two posts on Abbie Foster one all about her and that she built this fancy mansion at 74 High Street in 1895, and a second one on how she came up with the money to pay for her glorious Queen Anne fancy mansion.

Sharon didn’t know the exact date of the old photo of 74 High, but it looks like it’s early. I love it, I think it’s so cool, so wonderful and so thoughtful of Sharon and the Archival Center to keep their eyes open for Abbie’s house.

And this is what 74 High Street looks like today.

What 74 High Street looks like today

What 74 High Street looks like today

What 74 High Street looks like today

There is a little street behind 74 High  called Foster Court, named after Abbie Foster, that looks towards Horton Street (and there is a post all about Horton Street on The Newburyport Blog). In the old photo there is a field, a beautiful field. Here is the detail of the photo.

A detail of the field behind 74 HIgh Street

A detail of the field behind 74 HIgh Street

A detail of the field behind 74 HIgh Street

This is what that field, now Foster Court, looks like today. It looks a little different. And you can see the same house at the very end that is in the old photo, which is 9 Horton Street. (It is possible to make out two other houses that look  the same as well.)

Looking towards Horton Street today

Looking towards Horton Street today

Looking towards Horton Street today

And here is a closeup of 9 Horton Street today. It’s almost exactly the same as when it was built in 1890. I love it.

9 Horton Street today

9 Horton Street today

 9 Horton Street today

And here is photo of 76 High Street which is on the left of the old photo. It looks to me as if it is the same house and has been expanded.

76 High Street

76 High Street

76 High Street

And here is a detail of the edge of the old photograph from the Archival Center with 76 High Street on it.

A detail of the photograph with the side of 76 High Street

A detail of the photograph with the side of 76 High Street

A detail of the photograph with the side of 76 High Street

And here is a detail with the house itself.

Detail of 74 High Street

Detail of 74 High Street

Detail of the photograph of 74 High Street with just the house

Rev. Thomas Cary and 182 High Street, Newburyport, MA

One of the things that I liked the best about “If This House Could Talk,” which happened this summer, were the posters about the houses with portraits of people who lived or worked in them. I was so excited to find Stephen Hooper’s (see earlier post) portrait, that I thought I would start with a portrait and see if I could find a house to go with it. I Googled “Portrait, Newburyport” and came up with the name “Rev. Thomas Cary.” Rev. Cary was quite a guy, but I couldn’t find a house that he might have lived in — and that was the whole point, so I just dropped it. And then, working on another “mystery” I stumbled, out of the blue stumbled, on a deed with his name on it. It was a 1871 deed. Go figure.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a portrait by the Rev. Thomas Cary — the MFA, really. The portrait was done in 1770,  probably when he received his part of the inheritance from his father. **

 Reverend Thomas Cary of Newburyport, 1770–1773 by John Singleton Copley, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Reverend Thomas Cary of Newburyport, 1770–1773 by John Singleton Copley, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Reverend Thomas Cary of Newburyport, 1770–1773 by John Singleton Copley, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Thomas Cary was born  October 7, 1745 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He went to Harvard with Stephen Hooper (really!!)**, and has been described as a “man of wealth.”*  Thomas became the minister of the First Church of Newburyport (now the Unitarian Church on Pleasant Street) on May 11, 1768 in the original meeting house (not the church that exists today), which was 45 by 60 feet and stood in the “market place with the steeple fronting the river and faced Fish Street” which is now State Street.* His parish was described as “the best in the port” with a membership that reached 2,000.** In 1775 he married  Esther Carter of Newburyport who died in 1779.  His second wife was Deborah Prince of Exeter, New Hampshire. He had a total of 11 children, two who survived, one from each wife.**

The top of the handwritten address that was delivered by Rev. Thomas Cary

The top of the handwritten address that was delivered by Rev. Thomas Cary

The top of the handwritten address that was delivered by Rev. Thomas Cary for the ordination of Samuel Spring as the minister of the Second Congregational Church of Newburyport on August 6, 1777, Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School

The complete handwritten 1777 address by Rev. Thomas Cary

The complete handwritten 1777 address by Rev. Thomas Cary

The complete handwritten 1777 address by Rev. Thomas Cary, Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School

In 1788 Cary had a stroke from which he partially recovered, and was assisted at the church by the Rev. John Andrews as a “colleague-pastor.”  He died on  November 24, 1808.  In a memorial Thomas was described as, “A good and respected citizen, a kind husband, a most affectionate father and a most ardent friend. He was just, candid and sincere, charitable without ostentation, affable without pride, proving his faith by his works, and looking to Jesus for his reward.” ***

I found several references that he lived on High Street, and that his funeral started at his home on High Street and proceeded to the church where he had been the minister for so many years.

An excerpt from the 1871 deed

An excerpt from the 1871 deed

An excerpt from the 1871 deed

And quite by chance I came across a 1871 deed with Rev. Thomas Cary’s name in it. ****  I was so excited. It was for a house on High Street and I matched the names Ebenezer Moseley and Edward Moseley on the deed with names on Newburyport Historic Survey for 182 High Street. It could be a match and I’m going with that.

Exterior of 182 High Street, 2007

Exterior of 182 High Street, 2007

The exterior of 182 High Street taken in 2007

Interior of 182 High Street, 2007

Interior of 182 High Street, 2007

The interior of 182 High Street taken in 2007

182 High Street was built in 1792 and Cary died in in 1808, so obviously he lived somewhere else (I have no idea where) before that. And 182 High Street is a gorgeous house, the photos are from 2007 when it was last bought. And from everything I hear, the house has been magnificently restored. I think Rev. Thomas Cary would be very pleased.

The 1775 Deed given to Thomas and Esther

And as a PS:  With some extra searching I found the 1775 deed that was given to Thomas and Esther by Esther’s father, Nathaniel Carter for what must have been a wedding present (obviously it is not the 1790 house at 182 High which was built later – a mystery on that one).

Excerpt of the 1775 Deed given to Thomas and Esther Cary from Esther’s father, Nathaniel Carter

Excerpt of the 1775 Deed to Thomas and Esther Cary from Esther's father, Nathaniel Carter

Excerpt of the 1775 Deed to Thomas and Esther Cary from Esther’s father, Nathaniel Carter

Here is a transcript of part of the 1775 deed (Page: 134 & Book: 148) from Nathaniel Carter “in consideration of the love and affection I bear to my son-in-law Thomas Cary and to Esther his wife my daughter land lying in Newbury-Port containing about two and a quarter acres with the dwelling house barn thereon on a highway called High Street”  August 12, 1775

________________________________________________________________________

At the end of Rev. Thomas Cary’s life his house was described as:

“The mansion house of said deceased with the buildings belonging to and land adjoining the same: $10,000” ($10,000 was a lot of money back then).

With a “North room, East Room, Study, East Chamber, Entry, West Chamber, South West Chamber , South Chamber, Upper chambers, South Kitchen, North Kitchen, Cellar”

(Probate Record of 1808)

Description of Rev. Thomas Cary's house 1808

Description of Rev. Thomas Cary’s house 1808

_________________________________________________________________________

*A history of the First Religious Society in Newburyport, Massachusetts,  Minnie Atkinson , 1933

** John Singleton Copley in America, Metropolitan Museum of Art , 1995

*** ‪A Sketch of the History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 to 1845‬, Joshua Coffin, 1845

**** Salem Deeds:  Book: 824 Pages: 124 & 125, and Book: 823 Pages 182 & 183

167 Water Street, Newburyport – Gordon Welchman (and Bossy Gillis too)

167 Water Street

167 Water Street

167 Water Street

This is another story discovered from “If This House Could Talk-Newburyport” – 167 Water Street.

167 Water Street, poster for “If This House Could Talk”

167 Water Street, poster for "If This House Could Talk"

167 Water Street, poster for “If This House Could Talk”

For those who remember the film “The Imitation Game” which was about how the German code was broken in during World War II, there was one person who was there and who was left out of the film – Gordon Welchman, a hero who along with his colleagues shortened the war by two years and saved millions of lives.  There is a recent documentary in 2015 by the BBC called “Bletchley Park: Code-breaking’s Forgotten Genius” about Gordon Welchman. It was aired on the Smithsonian Channel as “The Codebreaker Who Hacked Hitler.”

Book on Gordon Welchman

Book on Gordon Welchman

Book on Gordon Welchman

Gordon Welchman is a fascinating person and a very big deal. He moved to America and became an American citizen. In 1972 he moved to Newburyport and bought 167 Water Street. He died here in 1985. 167 Water Street is now a B&B and has a Gordon Welchman plaque.

Plaque for Gordon Welchman on 167 Water Street

Plaque for Gordon Welchman on 167 Water Street

Plaque for Gordon Welchman on 167 Water Street

The house next door was also part of “If This House Could Talk” and their sign gives the the information that the Greek Revival Row House (which includes where Gordon Welchman lived) was built in 1845 and was part of the factory complex of the James Steam Mill.

Poster for 169 Water Street – “If This House Could Talk”

Poster for 169 Water Street - "If This House Could Talk"

Poster for 169 Water Street – “If This House Could Talk”

1851 Map Showing Row Houses on Water Street

1851 Map Showing Row Houses on Water Street

1851 Map Showing Row Houses on Water Street

And in my hunt to find out a little bit more about 167 Water Street I discovered that in 1945 it was bought from the City of Newburyport by Bossy Gillis a multi-time mayor of Newburyport (Bossy Gillis has had books written about him – another big deal). And during “If This House Could Talk-Newburyport” Yankee Homecoming 2016, it turns out that Bossy Gillis owned two other properties that were documented in this very cool project. It doesn’t appear that Bossy Gillis actually lived at 167 Water Street, I’m guessing that he rented it out.

Bossy Gillis 1945 Deed for 167 Water Street

Bossy Gillis 1945 Deed for 167 Water Street

Bossy Gillis 1945 Deed for 167 Water Street

And the last fascinating tidbit that I found was that Bossy Gillis’s deed in 1945 was signed by the treasurer of Newburyport not the Mayor.  And 1992 it was brought before the City Council for clarification. The person who sponsored it was then City Councilor and future mayor Lisa Mead. Then City Councilor (and former mayor)  Ed Molin moved that it be approved and was then signed by mayor Peter Matthews. (There may be a story about Bossy Gillis’s 1945 deed, maybe a clerical error, I do not know.)

1992 Deed Claification by the Newburyport City Council

1992 Deed Claification by the Newburyport City Council

1992 Deed Claification by the Newburyport City Council

Bossy Gillis

Bossy Gillis

Bossy Gillis

Walk Newburyport, If This House Could Talk, a Brilliant Idea to tell Newburyport’s Story

I love, love, love the idea that Jack Santos has come up with, it is so cool!  During this year’s Yankee Homecoming folks in Newburyport can take a pasteboard and a marker and write a story about their home (historic or current), and then hang it out in front of their house for the week. You can read more about it here on Walk Newburyport, if this House could Talk.

It is a simple and brilliant idea.  A phenomenal way to engage everyone in Newburyport’s story, especially the historic district — an idea that that brings people in the city together.

An example of a sign for Walk Newburyport, If This House Could Talk

An example of a sign for Walk Newburyport, If This House Could Talk

I contacted Jack and said that my house was built in 1958, and would that count.

And he wrote back, “Absolutely! could be stories about the house, the family that lives there, anything is fair game, doesn’t have to be historic house related (although I suspect for Newburyport many will be).”

God bless Jack Santos.

And what is so unusual about this idea, is that old or new in Newburyport, every home matters. This is inclusive, not exclusive.  And it’s an idea that’s about people, not just architecture, and I think that’s why the idea has practically gone viral over night.

An example of a sign for Walk Newburyport, If This House Could Talk

An example of a sign for Walk Newburyport, If This House Could Talk

One of the things that I hear about historic preservation is that often wood seems more important than people. Sometimes I think that there is some truth to this. But this idea is all about people and the amazing community that we all live in.

An example of a sign for Walk Newburyport, If This House Could Talk

An example of a sign for Walk Newburyport, If This House Could Talk

And one of my concerns is that the recent “advocacy” that is now happening by historic preservationists in Newburyport is often perceived as rigid, strident and shrill, the very thing that I would like to avoid, and one that I feel is alienating a younger generation, the very generation that Newburyport needs to carry on its story. Jack Santos is taking an absolutely different inclusive approach with Walk Newburyport, if this House could Talk and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

The images are courtesy of Walk Newburyport, if this House could Talk www.walknewburyport.com.

Well Loved Newburyport Postcards

Newburyport postcards–whether you’re a native, have lived here for a while or a short time,  people who live in Newburyport seem to love old postcards.

Newburyport Hay Stacks, postcard

Newburyport Hay Stacks, postcard

This postcard is of the haystacks on Newburyport’s Plum Island marsh, when they built the haystacks by hand and not by machine.

YMCA Newburyport, postcard

YMCA Newburyport, postcard

This is of Newburyport’s former YMCA on State Street that burnt down July 1987.  The YMCA was at the corner of State Street and Harris Street, where the expansion of our beautiful Newburyport Library exists today.  The YMCA was so decimated by the fire, that it was un-salvageable, eventually demolished, with a few of it’s elements incorporated into the MBTA train station in 1998.

Old Newburyport Bridge, Postcard

Old Newburyport Bridge, Postcard

This is a post card of Newburyport’s old Bridge, before Rt 1 was built in the 1930s. It is a view from Water Street, downtown Newburyport, looking towards Rings Island, Salisbury, MA.

Newburyport Mall, postcard

Newburyport Mall, postcard

And this is the Bartlet Mall along High Street when the stately elm trees existed. The Court House is to the left, and High Street is to the right.

The Master Plan for the Bartlet Mall had been worked on for a very long time, by a whole lot of people, and was finally finished in 1998. Restoration of the Bartlet Mall took place in 2001, 2003 and 2005. The Bartlet Mall was restored to its original design and the avenue of elm trees was replanted so that one day the beautiful canopy of trees would exist once more..

Some of The Newburyport Blog’s Favorite Historic Photographs and Images

Here are some of The Newburyport Blog’s favorite historic photographs and images.

Bossy Gillis, Mayor of Newburyport, courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

Bossy Gillis, Mayor of Newburyport, Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection, press image to enlarge

Bossy Gillis, Mayor of Newburyport, Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection, press image to enlarge

Bossy Gillis, mayor of Newburyport, in Salem jail, courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

Bossy Gillis, mayor of Newburyport, in Salem jail, Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection, press image to enlarge.

Bossy Gillis, mayor of Newburyport, in Salem jail, Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection, press image to enlarge.

Bossy Gillis’s garage, Market Square, Urban Renewal, found in the Newburyport Public Library’s Archival Center

Bossy Gillis's garage, Market Square, Urban Renewal, press image to enlarge.

Bossy Gillis’s garage, Market Square, Urban Renewal, press image to enlarge.

NRA land c 1920, courtesy of the Historical Society of Old Newbury

NRA land c 1920, courtesy of the Historical Society of Old Newbury, press to enlarge.

NRA land c 1920, courtesy of the Historical Society of Old Newbury, press to enlarge.

Wolfe Tavern, photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department

Wolfe Tavern, Photo of the Boston Public Library, Print Department, press to enlarge

Wolfe Tavern, Photo of the Boston Public Library, Print Department, press to enlarge

Postcard, Newburyport clam shanties with trolley

Newburyport clam shanties with trolley, press image to enlarge.

Newburyport clam shanties with trolley, press image to enlarge.

 

Street Art, Newburyport

It all started with this beautiful drawing left on my driveway on Easter.

Drawing left on my driveway on Easter day

Drawing left on my driveway on Easter day

It made my day. And it was done by my very lovely young neighbor, Lily.

Lily, came back and did a whole lot more gorgeous street art. I originally thought of her as my very own graffiti artist, but thinking about it, “street artist” seems so much more appropriate.

Lily, making the neighborhood beautiful

Lily, making the neighborhood beautiful with street art

And Lily started a trend. Five more young street artist showed up with their baskets and boxes of chalk, and started decorating our street. Grace, Ella, Brooke, Collin and Roan joined Lily.

Ella, working hard making the neighborhood beautiful with street art

Ella, working hard making the neighborhood beautiful with street art

It almost made me think that our neighborhood could be in the process of getting it’s very own “pop-up” park. How lucky are we!! (A very fun non-professional video on pop-up parks can be seen here.)

Drawing by Roan

Drawing by Roan

Drawing by Lily

Drawing by Lily

Late to the Instagram Planet

I find myself often late to many planets.  Late to the David Sedaris planet (my discovery of David Sedaris, or the “scull guy,” Christmas 2008 here), who has now become probably my most favorite writer, and “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” probably my most favorite book.

Hal-In

(An Instagram portrait of my son, Hal, who always, graciously, seems to acquiesce to his mother’s instinct to create yet another portrait of him.)

In my rebellion about being chained to a cell phone at all times, I was one of the last people on earth to get a “smart phone,” and probably the very, very last person on earth to text (I still do not like texting. I find it to be yet another handy way to avoid human interaction.)

Although, as my son pointed out, I did “tweet,” long before others (including my son) “twittered,” and blogged, low 7+ years now, when people, in general, thought blogging to be a weird and unnatural thing.  So I have actually been on some planets on the early, rather than almost late/last side of the equation.

And Instagram, who knew, not moi. (You have to have a smart phone, or a tablet, or something to Instagram, so, of course I was wildly late-ish to the Instagram planet.)  And along with reading David Sedaris, Instagram, at least for the moment, has become one of my favorite occupations (this is a vast understatement).

And I am so new to the Instagram planet, that it is instantaneously instant, so it may fade after a time. But for this time, I am most definitely “hooked.”

My at the moment, obsessive Instagraming can be found here.

(I am hoping that this is a nice change of pace from the subject of plastic bags — see a lot of earlier posts.)

A Fun Way to Recycle Plastic Bags

Recycle_BagRecycle_BagLook, not only do I get that plastic bags are detrimental to our wetland and coastal areas, I agree with it.  However, instead of an outright ban, I’d like a reasonable and practical effort to minimize the use of single use plastic bags.  And I understand that Market Basket has been unresponsive to this issue (and the single use plastic bag industry must be as well, since their “recycle and reuse” logo is so tiny, you can hardly see it), and I hope that the proposed ban forces Market Basket to have a meaningful dialogue with the city council and residents about how to solve this issue.

And this is what I don’t understand.  First of all, it would be a giant PR move for both the single use plastic bag industry and the supermarket industry if they put big, huge colorful “reduce, recycle, reuse” logos on their plastic bags, with where to recycle them (i.e. at Market Basket or Shaws) in big bold letters, instead of in fine print at the bottom.  Both industries would be heroes instead of goats. Seems like a pretty good idea to me. If both those businesses/industries did that, we might not be having this local fight over plastic bags, that we are having now, and they would help the environment all over the place. This would be a good thing.

recycle-machine copy

Fun slurping recycling machine

The other thing is, that if I was an inventor, or if I was the plastic bag industry, I’d find me an inventor, to have a fun way to recycle the plastic bags once they got to the supermarket.  If I was an inventor, I’d invent a machine that slurped the plastic bags in one at a time and gave a penny for each plastic bag, or a penny for 5 plastic bags (whatever is economical and fair).  First of all, little kids (or even grown-ups) would be mesmerized by a machine that slurped plastic bags.

And when you could first get money for returning cans, people were scouring all over the place, cities, suburbs, to find cans to make some extra money.  If you had a fun machine that slurped plastic bags AND got a little dough in the process, I bet the same thing would happen, and I bet you would have a whole lot less single use plastic bags wandering around our environment, and I bet they’d be reduced in a major, major way, pretty quick.  It would be a huge PR win for the plastic bag industry, and they wouldn’t be so vilified and it would be fun to boot. And it would be a good thing for the plastic bag industry to work with environmentalists  to help solve problems for a win-win solution.

Two Things I learned during Newburyport’s 2013 Election — And it’s not what you Think

I am a local political junkie. I just can’t help myself. And on the evening of the mayoral primary 0f 2013, I went down to Newburyport City Hall to hear the results.

I love going down to City Hall to hear the whatever election results. There is an excitement and buzz, and no matter what candidate or candidates one might be routing for, there is usually some kidding around and a sense of comraderie. It takes a lot of guts to run for any city office, and admiration for the folks who actually do run for office is palpable.

And then our wonderful City Clerk, Richard Jones, comes out, looking distinguished and dapper in his bow tie. And with a twinkly in his eye and some gravitas, he reads the election results, city ward by city ward (Newburyport has 6 wards), and everyone is scrambling to type the results into their laptops.

(And as a btw Richard Jones is one fantastic artist!! Really. What he is doing in Newburyport City Hall, except bringing a countenance of dignity and calm, beats me. And if you want to see his work, Richard Jones’s new painting hangs proudly in the lobby of Newburyport’s bank, The Institution for Savings, in its home bank branch on State Street. And you can go there and look at it it. I do. Richard Jones’s website can be found here.)

That evening, for the mayoral primary, the chit chat was that the vote was going to be split roughly in thirds, and it was just a matter of which two candidates had some more votes (which btw that is how it “fell.”). And while I was chit chatting with a fellow political junkie they said, “Dick Sullivan has his “peeps.” (Dick Sullivan came in second in the primary.) And I said to myself “peeps??” “Peeps” sounds like ghetto speak. My fellow political junkie is about my age, and I’m no “hip,” sprightly, spring chicken. “Peeps?” I must be really out of it. A new word — “peeps,” which I could never imagine myself effectively executing. “Peeps?”

And during the election cycle I was going to meet with one of the new candidates running for Newburyport City Council. Coffee and chit chat that day didn’t come about, and in apologizing for the miscommunication, the candidate used the phrase “my bad.” “My bad??” I’m thinking, “homies,” “rappers,” and urban ghetto speak?? “My bad??” Am I ever out of it. (I might be able to say, “my bad” one day — perhaps, but I’m not sure I could pull off “peeps.”)

So during the 2013 election I learned two new words/phrases, “peeps” and “my bad,” which might bring me further into the 21st Century, possibly. An etymology lesson during the Newburyport election of 2013, who knew??

Our Neighbors, Stella Mae Culpepper and On Linden Square

On Linden Square by Kate Sullivan, used with permission (press image to enlarge)

On Linden Square by Kate Sullivan, used with permission (press image to enlarge)

After a long, hard, often nasty Newburyport election 2013,  I found this book On Linden Square by Kate Sullivan (and, yes, it’s a children’s book) to be mighty refreshing.

Stella Mae Culpepper is the heroine of this tale, and she has watched her neighbors, but she has never spoken to any of them, and they have never spoken to her (sounds so New England familiar to me). Along comes a New England blizzard, and all that changes (and in the best of cases, is also so New England familiar to me).  And it looks like from the drawings in the book, that Stella lives in an historic city, not Newburyport, but a lot of bricks and stuff and New England homes (and of course I like that a lot).

And the author of On Linden Square, Kate Sullivan, has a wonderful project, the “Who’s Your Neighbor” Project, the “Write to Stella” project, or in my mind, “the neighbors and folks in Newburyport that I am so grateful for” project.

Instead of all the awful things about people, that seemed to come to the surface this election, to think about all the good things about neighbors and the folks around us, and write to Stella about one or more of them. Also anyone could have their child, children’s friends, grandchildren, students, nieces, nephews, neighborhood children write to Stella as well. And in return, Stella will send you, or whoever writes to Stella, a note back, and a postcard signed by of of Stella’s neighbors in the book, On Linden Square, your, or your child’s, grandchild’s, niece’s or nephew’s very own piece of artwork.  And your note to Stella, and a picture of your neighbor, if you draw one, or your child, niece, nephew, grandchild draws one, might also be featured on the book’s website, which is pretty cool.

Stella Mae Culpepper, used with permission (press image to enlarge)

Stella Mae Culpepper, used with permission, © Kate Sullivan 2013  (press image to enlarge)

So I’ve written to Stella about three of my neighbors (really and truly). I sent my notes by email, you or whoever could also send it by snail mail or through the book’s Facebook page.  And I and my neighbors can’t wait to see what we get back. And writing about what my wonderful neighbors do for me, our neighborhood and our city, a great feeling, let me tell you, especially after what often felt like a slimy, unpleasant, noxious, never ending Newburyport election.

You can see the “Write to Stella” about a neighbor project here.

You can see all about the book On Linden Square, by Kate Sullivan here.

And you can see Stella and On Linden Square’s Facebook page here.

PS. Kate Sullivan lives in Newburyport, and I’ve never met her (sort of like what happens in the book). And maybe a snow storm, or some other New England event might change that. And the only thing that I know, at this point, about Kate Sullivan is what I’ve read from her bio. The fact that her last name is “Sullivan” could be coincidence, or maybe just wildly ironic.

Here are the drawings of my neighbors that I got back from Stella!!

My neighbors on the Brown School Playground

My neighbors at the Brown School Playground

My neighbor helping me with my driveway in a blizzard.

My neighbor helping me with my driveway in a blizzard

And here is a drawing of Stella Mae Culpepper getting her hair cut by Newburyport’s very own Esther Sayer at Inn Street Barber.

Stella gets a haircut at Newburyport's Inn Street Barber

Stella gets a haircut at Newburyport’s Inn Street Barber

Both Jabberwocky Books at the Tannery and The Book Rack on State Street in downtown Newburyport, sell On Linden Square.

Gluten Free Power Bar with Almond Meal

Really fast, unbelievably easy to make, gluten free power bar and variations.

1 1/2 T  sugar
1 T  water
1/4 t  vanilla
2 T  peanut butter
2 pinches of salt
Shake of cinnamon and nutmeg (or pumpkin spice),optional.

Microwaved in a bowl for 30 seconds until sugar and water and vanilla dissolve, stir mixture until blended.

1/3 Cup almond meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
3 T Mini Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Morsels

Stir in almond meal until a paste, while warm stir in mini chocolate morsels.
Form into bars on parchment paper and refrigerate until hard. Can be 3 small bars, 2 medium bars or 1 large bar.

Wrap bars in Saran Wrap and refrigerate (can also freeze).

All sorts of variations are possible. Use less almond meal and add chopped nuts, dried fruit, coconut.  Could also substitute peanut butter with almond butter or other nut butters.

Plagiarism – Photoshop Take Off

Photoshop Flight

Photoshop Flight

I never, ever would have considered using other people’s images that are in the public domain in my art work, it would be plagiarism for me.  Plagiarism – I would have felt it to be “immoral,” “originality” the only acceptable device. But blogging, doing content for people’s websites, the World Wide Web has radically and slowly changed my whole idea of how to use images. Before starting the Newburyport Blog I never knew about stuff/images that are in the “public domain.”  I now bless the public domain, it makes what I do here and what other people do all across the web a whole lot more interesting. So why not use images that are in the public domain in my own art work? These are images I could never take, either because they are in a geographical location that I would never get to, or with equipment I would never buy.

Photoshop Bird 3 (thanks Bobby)

Photoshop Bird 3 (thanks Bobby)

And photoshop (see earlier entry on fine art, painting in particular, going the way of the buggy whip and typewriter), what one can do in photoshop in a few minutes would take me years to do as a painter. It’s irresistible. So I’ve started experimenting. And how fun!! Like being in a candy store for this artist.  A photoshop take off, a lovely New Year’s present for moi.

Chocolate Chip Almond Meal-Flour Cookies (They are Gluten Free)

Because so many folks come to The Newburyport Blog looking for gluten free stuff.

Chocolate Chip Almond Meal-Flour Cookies

1 ¼ cups blanched almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
Dash of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup oil, canola or grapeseed oil (each has slightly different effect, I use canola oil)
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 ½ teaspoons gluten free vanilla extract
¼  cup Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Mini Morsels (the real tiny ones)

1. Combine almond meal, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.
2. Stir together sugar and water, add vanilla and then the oil and combine.
3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
4. Add the Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Mini Morsels.
5. Form ½ inch balls and press onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
6. Bake at 350° for 5-6 minutes.
7. Cool and serve (you can also freeze the cookies in a container, separating the layers of cookies with wax paper).
8. Makes around 27 cookies.

* If you use the larger Toll House Semi-Sweet Morsels, you can mix in the ¼ cup chocolate chips with the cookie dough, or you can press the cookies flat on the cookie sheet first, and then add the chocolate chips on top, about 3-4 chips per cookie, and press them into the cookies. (They are great too!!)

(Adapted from Elana’s Pantry, elanaspantry.com, Elana Amsterdam, website and cookbook)

For more variations on almond meal-flour cookies please press here.

almondmeal-chocolatechip-cookies

Almond meal-flour chocolate chip cookies with mini chocolate chips

Almond meal-flour chocolate chip cookies with larger chocolate chips

Almond meal-flour chocolate chip cookies with larger chocolate chips

An Insanely Good Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Chocolate Snack

tollhouse

Toll House Chocolate Chips

When I first found out about the gluten free thing, I couldn’t figure out what in the world snack-wise was available, I was told to eat spoonfuls of peanut butter.  After about a year and a half of eating peanut butter by the spoonful, I never wanted to see a spoonful of peanut butter ever again!

One of the things that could happen with this gluten free thing is that good old lactose is out the window (and that includes chocolate, it’s a real “Oy Veh.”), but the lactose thing is supposedly suppose to eventually resolve itself. Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Semi Sweet Morsels, not edible 6 months ago for moi, but yesterday, no problemo!!  A super duper “Eureka!” moment.

skippy-peanut-buttee

Skippy Peanut Butter

And a spoonful of peanut butter covered with Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Semi Sweet Morsels, a snack worth going to heaven over.  Better than any Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  A lickety-split, quick snack that sticks to the ribs and is portable, a wonderful thing for the gluten free.