If by some miracle 1 Little’s Lane does not get demolished (see previous post) you can bet your booties that it’s because all sorts of talented and dedicated folks are probably working behind the scenes.
And it’s always that way. Every time one of our historic assets are threatened in Newburyport (now in Newbury) all sorts of folks spring into action, and sometimes it turns out well and sometimes it does not.
One of the best win-win situations in my book is the Federal Street Overlay. When the Catholic Church first decided to sell the St. Louis De Gonzague French Catholic Church and the surrounding land and two very historic brick buildings, at the end of Federal Street, to say there were no guarantees, would be an understatement.
There was a lot of talk about a large 40B housing project going in on that land, and no one in particular with any authority was talking about saving those two stately brick homes.
We just got stupid lucky. We happened to get a very proactive planning director, who negotiated with the Catholic Church and goodness knows who else, and for most people, voila, the Federal Street Overlay came about. But it took an enormous amount of time by a whole lot of people to make that project happen, and to restore those two gorgeous homes, the William Bartlett House and the William Johnson house.
I know on the little street where I live, it took an enormous amount of people and time to negotiate the project that is finally there now.
So when people tell me, things are fine, nothing happens to historic homes, we don’t need an LHD. I’ve been behind the scenes enough to know that when an historic property is threatened and there is a happy ending, it is due to an tremendous amount of work by an untold amount of folks, who didn’t get any credit. It’s like putting out one fire at a time. And sometimes historic homes don’t make it. And if Newburyport had an LHD, and I’m talking about “LHD-light,” it would be blanket insurance for the proposed area, those historic homes on High Street and Newburyport’s downtown.