Newburyport, Much to do About a Flagpole?

Having blogged the Newburyport Political Blog now for a while, I have great sympathy for the regular media.

If there is nothing particular to write about I can always pull out the “frogs” for goodness sakes (plus I really do like them, all 4 of them) or I could blog about all those gorgeous historic photographs, no problem.

But last week (obviously a “slow” week) one of the major stories in the local newspapers was the “flagpole story.” Sometimes I think, only in Newburyport, MA.

The long and the short of it is that there is a flagpole on Newburyport’s Central Waterfront, that the city of Gloucester would like back because it was originally the “boom” on the famous fishing schooner the “Thebaud.”

Newburyport on the other hand wants to keep it because the Newburyport Fire Department discovered and paid for it in 1938. We legally own it. And it’s on the “hot spot” of all Newburyport “hot spots,” yes, the ever controversial Newburyport Central Waterfront.

Can a scandal be made out of the fact that Mayor John Moak didn’t respond to the letters sent in October about the flagpole because it was not on the top of his priority list??

Let’s see…

The Crow Lane Landfill or the flagpole? Hmm… the Landfill.

Our school situation or the flagpole? Hmm… the schools.

The fact that there is little money in the budget for not only things that needed to be done yesterday, but things that needed to be done 10 years ago or the flagpole? Hmm… the money thing.

If I was Mayor John Moak, let’s see, the flagpole would be about #994 on my priority list. But not anymore. It’s most likely to have shot up there to the top ten most important items facing Newburyport, MA in the year 2007.

I don’t know what’s been done, but if I was Mayor John Moak I would most definitely shuttle this one off to the Newburyport City Council, and have the whole thing thrashed out in a multitude of Newburyport City Council subcommittees. And you know what, the really sad thing is, I bet the Newburyport City Council has gotten a number of phone calls on this “hot” issue. Just a guess on my part, nothing more (but I think it’s a pretty good guess).

And I love the quote in the Newburyport Current, February 2, 2007,

” “I didn’t think there could be a lot of resistance about a flagpole,” he (Geoffrey Richon ) said, amused. “A flagpole controversy, I’ll be darned. Imagine starting such a thing.” ”

Well, honey, this is Newburyport, MA, where it took us, apparently, 50 years to put (George) Washington’s name under his very own statue (see earlier posts). And to boot, this is Newburyport’s Central Waterfront. We fight over everything that has anything to do with Newburyport’s Central Waterfront. And you think you want your flagpole back?

No offense or anything, but lots of luck on that one.

Mary Eaton

Newburyport, Historic Assets

These are photographs of one of the other houses that was destroyed in 1934 for Route 1. I did not put the photographs up because I was afraid, even though the house is an architectural gem, the house would not be appreciated.

I was afraid people would look at 31 Winter Street and say to themselves, “why wouldn’t anyone tear that one down? It has low ceilings, small rooms, lead paint. Much easier to demolish and put up something ‘more appropriate’ ”

31 Winter Street, 1770-1780
Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division
Historic American Buildings Survey, Arthur C. Haskell, Photographer, June, 1934.

But our very own Bill Steelman put this lovely and historic home in perspective. Bill Steelman is one of Newburyport’s unsung heroes. And he works at the Essex National Heritage Area (ENHA).

The Essex National Heritage Area is an incredible resource for a great many things including historic preservation.

The Essex National Heritage Area also has a new blog on “First Period Architecture.” And yes there is a posting by our very own Bill Steelman on first period buildings, which includes 31 Winter Street.

31 Winter Street, 1770-1780
Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division
Historic American Buildings Survey, Arthur C. Haskell, Photographer, June, 1934.

The ENHA blog explains why first period architecture is both important and intriguing. It is a “must read” for anyone in Newburyport, MA (or elsewhere) and for anyone who is considering making alterations or demolishing one of these first period architectural gems.

The ENHA site also has a whole section on “Preservation” and a very important section on the “Heritage Landscape Inventory” (check on “Newburyport” in that section). Both of these sections are “must reads” for people who care about Newburyport, MA.

Mary Eaton

Newburyport, Response to Tawdry Exploitation

Well, you guessed it. George Cushing, of Frog Pond at the Bartlet Mall, the political consultant to the Newburyport Political Blog and his lady- frog- friend, “love interest,” Georgiana Tadpole are really pissed at moi.


George Cushing incensed
with the editor of the Newburyport Political Blog

George felt that I took away his “frog dignity” by posting that photograph of him being “love-struck.”

George Cushing
being “love-struck”

How will anyone take him seriously now?

Got me George.

And, my last post about exploiting their “relationship.” Well, you can imagine the fireworks at the Newburyport Political Blog about that one, can’t you?

Well all those “love tid-bits” that may accumulate, may just be too tempting for the editor of the Newburyport Political Blog not to “chat” about, or maybe even, yes, “splash” around the World Wide Web after all. No apologies from this editor, thank you very much.

So “G & G” (George and Georgiana) will just have to decide if they want to stick around the Newburyport Political Blog or go back to their various bogs, ponds, pools or whatever (in the middle of winter no less.)

An awful lot of “hubbub” here at the Newburyport Political Blog.

Mary Eaton