Category Archives: Historic Photographs & Images

A New Blog in Town

There’s a new blog in town. The NRA Today (Newburyport Redevelopment Authority).

The very first entry says:

The next few months promise to be exciting time for the city. With the arrival of spring comes an opportunity to complete the renewal of the city’s waterfront, creating a space for all residents and visitors to enjoy.

As the process unfolds, we’ll post details here allowing residents to chart our progress. We’ll keep an update list of our meetings and hearings with the hope that you’ll attend and share your thoughts and hopes for the two central pieces to Newburyport’s historic water front.

If you’re unable to attend our meetings please examine the minutes to our past meetings. They’re compiled on City Hall’s web site. You’ll find a link to the minutes and our meeting agendas to the right.”

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.

And in the background of the new NRA blog there is a very cool photograph of downtown Newburyport, NRA land c. 1920, courtesy of the Historical Society of Old Newbury (press the image to enlarge).  You can see all the buildings that existed before the demotion that took place in 1968.  If you look real closely you can see where Bossy Gillis’ gas station is still standing (see previous post), next to the firehouse.

(If you download the photograph, would you make sure to give the Historical Society of Old Newbury credit. Thank you.)

Old Photographs of Newburyport’s Garrison Inn

I found these wonderful old photographs courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department, of the Garrison Inn, Brown Square, in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Garrison Inn, Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department, press to enlarge

Garrison Inn, Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department, press to enlarge

Garrison Inn, Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department, press to enlarge

Garrison Inn, Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department, press to enlarge

The photographs were taken by Leon H. Abdalian,  October, 24, 1929, on a glass negative.

(If you download either of these images would you please give the Boston Public Library and The Newburyport Blog credit.  Thank you.)

Newburyport, The Waterfront back in 1972

In my hunt at the Archives at the Newburyport Public Library I found these two photographs of what Newburyport’s waterfront, and Newburyport looked like in 1972 and in 1973.

NRA lots in 1972, press photo to enlarge.

NRA lots in 1972, press photo to enlarge.

Quite a mess.  And in the photo you can see the gap between the brick building and what is now the Fire House Center for the Arts, where Bossy Gillis’ gas station was demolished (see previous post).

NRA lots 1972, press photo to enlarge.

NRA lots 1972, press photo to enlarge.

Photographs courtesy of the Archival Center at the Newburyport Public Library.

All of the Urban Renewal photographs that I took courtesy of the Archives at the Newburyport Public Library can be seen here.

(If you download an image would you please give The Archival Center at The Newburyport Public Library and The Newburyport Blog credit.  Thank you.)

Photos of Newburyport Urban Renewal and Bossy Gillis’ Gas Station

I thought I would put up some of the photos that I took at the Archives at the Newburyport Public Library. These are photos of Bossy Gillis’ gas station down at Market Square, and its demolition, along with some of the text and the dates – October 1968 and December 1968.

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

Bossy Gillis' gas station, Market Square, Urban Renewal, press image to enlarge.

Bossy Gillis's Garage, Urban Renewal, Newburyport, press image to enlarge.

Bossy Gillis' gas station, Urban Renewal, Newburyport, press image to enlarge.

Bossy Gillis's garage demolition, Newburyport, press image to enlarge.

Bossy Gillis' gas station demolition, Newburyport, press image to enlarge.

All photographs courtesy of the Archives at the Newburyport Public Library. Press images to enlarge.

All of the Urban Renewal photographs that I took courtesy of the Archives at the Newburyport Public Library can be seen here.

(If you download an image would you please give The Archival Center at The Newburyport Public Library and The Newburyport Blog credit.  Thank you.)

Photo of Wolfe Tavern, Newburyport, MA

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

Wolfe Tavern, photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department, press to enlarge.

A wonderful photo of Wolfe Tavern, located where the parking lot now is at the corner of State and Harris Streets, downtown Newburyport.

The photo is courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.  It was created on on October 24, 1929, by Leon H. Abdalian (1884-1967) It was on a glass negative that was 6.5 x 8.5 inches.

See previous post of Wolf Tavern here.

(If you download the image would you please give credit to the Boston Public Library and The Newburyport Blog. Thank you.)

Letter to the Editor on Newburyport’s LHD

Historic Newburyport Home

Historic Newburyport Home

There is a wonderful Letter to the Editor in today’s Newburyport Daily news about Newburyport’s proposed Local Historic District (LHD) by L.M. Klee.

“This is not about “I win, you lose” or “I’m right and you’re wrong”; it is about a win for Newburyport’s stature in the annals of American architecture and history. The bones of this city were here long before we were. Most of the residents are not related to the founders, the ship builders and early farmers, but in some way, we are here today because of them. To have lived here for two years or several generations and ignore Newburyport’s historical prominence architecturally seems disrespectful. We are fortunate to be a part of that history and need to consider our roles in protecting that seriously. We can collectively shape the city’s future and allow future generations to experience a sense of its history long after our presence is felt on these streets. The responsibility for that today is only ours.”

To read the entire letter press here.

And to see the list of all 49 Letters to the Editor in the Newburyport Daily News, and their links, written in favor of Newburyport’s proposed LHD press here.

J.P. Marquand, Newburyport and the Local Historic District (LHD)

J.P Marquand, Courtesy of Boston Public Library Print Department, press to enlarge

J.P Marquand, Courtesy of Boston Public Library Print Department, press to enlarge

On Monday night’s Local Historic District (LHD) informational meeting on March 26, 2012, the questions that were asked, for the most part, were intended to learn more about Newburyport’s proposed LHD.  The people asking questions included folks who were “on the fence” or openly against the LHD. The tone was respectful, with about 4 exceptions. And I thought the meeting was very informative.

The qualifications and the “integrity” of the people on LHD Study Committee itself were questioned  (not so courteous).

A “gentleman” (it reminded me of the online commentators in the Newburyport Daily News) basically accused the Newburyport LHD Study Committee of being “carpetbaggers.”

One of the things that the person might not have been aware of, is that one of the Study Committee members, their grandfather was J.P. Marquand.  Not bad to have someone with that kind of “institutional memory” on the LHD Study Committee. The purpose of the LHD being to protect and preserve the distinctive historical characteristics in the proposed Local Historic District.

Chimneys are New England, Newburyport Iconic

It has been suggested by some of the anti-LHD group that for a homeowner to be required to maintain/keep their chimney or chimneys in the proposed LHD is basically un-American.

Oh good grief!

Chimneys in New England and Newburyport are iconic.  Much the way New England church steeples are iconic.

They are a fundamental, intrinsic, deep-rooted symbol of what it means to live in an historic New England home.  Of what it means to live in a historic Newburyport, Massachusetts home.

And really and truly I think that most of those who oppose the proposed Newburyport Local Historic District (LHD) would agree.

I’ve included some examples of “iconic” homes with chimneys in Newburyport (all courtesy of the City of Newburyport, MA).

Historic Newburyport Home

Historic Newburyport Home

Historic Newburyport Home

Historic Newburyport Home

Historic Newburyport Home

Historic Newburyport Home

Historic Newburyport Home

Historic Newburyport Home

Local Historic District (LHD) Public Meeting, March 19, 2012

The video of the Local Historic District (LHD) public informational meeting on March 19, 2012, is actual better than being in the meeting itself.  The the speakers as well questions and answers are much easier to understand.  There is a lot of good information on the video about the proposed LHD.  It is well worth watching.

Local Historic District Public Meeting, March 19, 2012, press to start video

Local Historic District Public Meeting, March 19, 2012, press to start video

The March 19, 2012 Local Historic District (LHD) informational public meeting at Newburyport City Hall.

1 Little’s Lane Being Demolished

Tappan House being demolished

The Tappan House being demolished

The Tappan House, 1 Little’s Lane, Newbury, being demolished today, right now.

This is what can happen anywhere in Newburyport without a Local Historic District (LHD).  By law zoning cannot stop it.  A demo delay just delays the destruction for a year.
1 Little's Lane being demolished

1 Little's Lane being demolished, Courtesy of Skip and Marge Motes

Destruction of The Tappan House, 1 Little's lane

Destruction of The Tappan House, 1 Little's Lane, Courtesy of Skip and Marge Motes

The Tappan House being destroyed, March 20, 2012.

The Tappan House, Courtesy of P.Preservationist

The Tappan House, Courtesy of P.Preservationist

The Tappan House, 1 Little’s Lane before demolition.

Newburyport, the Way a Fence Looks Matters

A fence on High Street is like a jewelry on a beautiful woman.

A fence on High Street, Sally Chandler © 2004, Courtesy of "Historic Gardens of Newburyport"

A fence on High Street, Sally Chandler © 2004, Courtesy of "Historic Gardens of Newburyport"

Last night at the Local Historic District (LHD) informational meeting, a person who owns a gorgeous mansion on High Street in the South End, up on the Ridge, one of the most important homes on High Street, asked if they would have to go in front of the LHD Commission (if the proposed LHD is passed) to put in a privacy fence, as I heard it, to protect their children.

To put a privacy fence in front of this particular mansion, or any mansion on High Street–”No.”  That should have been the answer.

If they would like to put a privacy fence in the back of their property for their children to play in, of course (and that would not come under the proposed Local Historic District (LHD) guidelines).

The way a fence looks in the proposed LHD (High Street and downtown Newburyport from Winter to Federal Street) matters.  It matters a lot.

A fence on High Street is like a jewelry on a beautiful woman.

How a fence looks makes a big difference.  And it made me wonder, I don’t know if my wondering is true or not, if this wasn’t a “got-cha” question.  Because the answer is so obvious, that the panel and the LHD Study Committee was a little confused as how to answer it.

The Tappan House, 1 Littles Lane, Soon to be Demolished

The Tappan House, Courtesy of P.Preservationist

The Tappan House, Courtesy of P.Preservationist

“One billionaire’s castle is another billionaire’s teardown. Never mind the existing mansion—it’s the location these moguls want, not someone else’s hand-me-down house. Instead of renovating, the very rich call in the wrecking ball and build their personal playgrounds from scratch.”

One of the most startling ones to me is a mansion bought by Steve Jobs.

“For years, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple wanted to tear down a 17,000-square-foot, 35-room Spanish-style mansion he owned since the 1980s in Woodside, Calif., south of San Francisco. He instead envisioned a smaller, likely more techno-savvy home for his family on the lot. After battling legal challenges to save or move the 1920s “Jackling House,” built by the California architect George Washington Smith for a prosperous copper entrepreneur, Jobs received a demolition permit. Howard N. Ellman, Jobs’s lawyer, said the house was bulldozed in February but Jobs’s dwindling health put the plans on hold. Janet Koelsch, the Woodside town clerk, confirms there have been no applications for development received for the property since demolition of the house.”

The article “America’s Doomed Mansions,” By Marcelle Sussman Fischler, Forbes.com, November 21, 2011 can be read here.

Not to compare anyone in Newbury or Newburyport to Steve Jobs!!  But, the tale and others like it in the article does remind one of the impending demolition of 1 Littles Lane, the Tappan House, in Newbury, MA, just down the street from Newburyport.

The article in the Newburyport Daily News about the impending demolition of the Tappan House can be read here.

To read more about the Tappan House, 1 Little’s Lane, Newbury, MA,  press here.

Newburyport Mill Stream Painting by Alfred Bricher

On the Mill Stream at Newburyport Massachusetts, Alfred Thompson Bricher, press to enlarge.

On the Mill Stream at Newburyport Massachusetts, Alfred Thompson Bricher, press to enlarge.

I found this absolutely gorgeous painting of what must be the mill stream out by Curzon Mill.

The painting is called “On the Mill Stream at Newburyport Massachusetts,” the date is unknown, and it is by Alfred Thompson Bricher, who lived from 1837-1908.

Newburyport Postcards, Clam Shacks

Newburyport Postcard, Calm Diggers and their Shanties "Joppa"

Newburyport Postcard, Calm Diggers and their Shanties "Joppa," press image to enlarge.

I’ve been going on another fun hunt, finding Newburyport postcards that are in the public domain.  Here are two of the clam shacks, one of the clam shanties with a trolley, and one with the clam diggers and their shanties at “Joppa.”  Joppa is on the water in the South End of Newburyport.

Newburyport clam shanties with trolley, press image to enlarge.

Newburyport clam shanties with trolley, press image to enlarge.

Newburyport Postcards of Wolfe Tavern

State Street, Wolfe Tavern in the foreground and the YMCA below. Press image to enlarge.

State Street, Wolfe Tavern in the foreground and the YMCA below. Press image to enlarge.

In chit-chatting on The Newburyport Blog about Newburyport’s proposed Local Historic District (LHD), the subject of buildings that used to exist in downtown Newburyport comes up.

One of the literally gaping holes in downtown Newburyport, is the parking lot on the corner of Harris and State Streets where the Wolfe Tavern once existed.

And I wasn’t sure when the Wolfe Tavern was demolished, but in doing some research it was demolished by its owner in the fall of 1953. Real late.  Wow, I thought it was much earlier.

Postcard of the Wolfe Tavern, Newburyport, MA.  Press to enlarge.

Postcard of the Wolfe Tavern, Newburyport, MA. Press to enlarge.

Wolfe Tavern, at the corner of State Street and Thread Needle Alley was destroyed, like so much of downtown Newburyport in the great fire of 1811.  And shortly after, the tavern was reopened on the corner of Temple Street and State Streets. One Temple Street (demolished in 2006 by the Five Cents Savings Bank, see earlier post here) was an addition to the Wolfe Tavern (see info on the City of Newburyport’s website here).  In 1814 the Wolfe Tavern moved to the Col. John Peabody’s house, the one that is in all the postcards, at the corner of Harris and State Streets.

The upper post card shows what State Street used to look like. Wolfe Tavern is in the foreground, followed by the YMCA (which burned down in 1987, see earlier post here).  The postcards are pretty cool.

Local Historic District (LHD) and High Street in 1971 from P.Preservationist

High Street, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

High Street, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

The P. Preservationist has written a fascinating story about the effort to have High Street be a Local Historic District (LHD) in 1971.

The P. Preservationist has gone to the Newburyport Archives and done some mega research.

Everyone here at the Newburyport Blog, me and the frogs, are mighty impressed. This is definitely a must read.

P. Preservationist points out that there are differences today:

First, we have far fewer Townies present today and they represent a minority in our political scene.  Second, our demographics have changed.   We have a large percentage of people who have moved here precisely because of the historic neighborhoods.  Third and most importantly, the class structure that so bedeviled Bossy Gillis and John Marquand no longer exists.”

High Street, © Sally Chandler, 2004, Courtesy of "Historic Gardens of Newburyport"

High Street, © Sally Chandler, 2004, Courtesy of "Historic Gardens of Newburyport"

He has a marvelous quote which, as he points out, is reminiscent of today:

“High Street resident, Elizabeth L. Whiting complained, ‘Surely informative ideas of the many, gently and rationally expressed, deserve as much attention than the ideas of the latter [opponents] which are presented in deliberately caustic and irrelevant oratory.’ ”

You can read the whole post here.

Marsh During a Storm-A Martin Johnson Heade Painting

Salt Marsh Hay by Martin Johnson Heade

Salt Marsh Hay by Martin Johnson Heade

Martin Johns Heade, 1819-1904, Salt Marsh Hay, c.1865, Oil on Canvas, 13″ x 26″, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

The Newburyport Blog has been on a hunt for marsh paintings by Martin Johnson Heade, who painted the marshes around Newburyport. I love this painting of the marsh during a storm.

One of the remarkable things that we have all around our country is the small and art-rich museums. This particular painting comes from the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown Ohio.  And it’s not just an artist like Heade that is represented, but also painters like Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper.

Not all of us from New England can get to Youngstown, Ohio, but you can vistit the Butler Institute of American Art here.

Frank Thurlo, Painting of the Chain Bridge

thurlo-chanbr

Frank Thurlo,1828-1913, watercolor of Newburyport's Chain Bridge

Every now and again the Newburyport Blog goes on a fun hunt.  In 2007 I went on a hunt for all the stuff I could find about Newburyport’s historic gardens.  And in 2012 it looks like I’m going on a hunt for Newburyport historic paintings.  How fun.

And in my hunt, I found another painting by Frank Thurlo, a watercolor of Newburyport’s Chain Bridge.  And you can see the same boat that Frank Thurlo had in the previous painting (see previous post), as well as the birds.

And Frank Thurlo was what we would call a true “native.” Frank Thurlo was a descendant of Richard Thurlo, a native of England, who held land in Rowley, MA in 1634 and moved to Newbury in 1651.  He was the son of Moody and Ann (Little-there’s that old name again) Thurlo, and went to the Brown High School in Newburyport.

Frank Thurlo lived from 1828-1913, and lived and died in Newburyport, MA . And all the images of his paintings are in the public domain.

Frank Thurlo Painting, Plum Island River

thurlow

Frank Thurlo, 1828-1913, watercolor on paper, Plum Island River, 4 1/8″ x 12 1/8″

Thurlo is an old Newbury name, and in my search for paintings in the public domain of Newburyport I came across this painting.

The Painting is by Frank Thurlo who lived from 1828-1913. It is a watercolor on paper, of Plum Island River and Marshes,  4 1/8″ x 12 1/8″. And it is signed lower right. You can click the image to enlarge.