Obviously I liked the fact that the gardens at the Wheelwright House made Preservation Massachusetts 10 Most Endangered Resource list a lot.
One of the things that I also like is that a realtor was one of the three people who nominated the Wheelwright Gardens.
Why do I find this so enchanting? Let me digress a bit and tell a tale.
I love going to open houses. Always have. Let’s say, it’s hard to remember just how long ago it was, 10-14 years ago I went to an open house that was on a side street very close to downtown Newburyport.
The house had been a one family Federal and had been pretty much gutted and turned into 3 condominiums. The start of a long and enduring trend.
I went in and looked at one of the condominiums. It was an “open” concept with a gas fireplace separating the dinning, living room area from the kitchen. No wood fireplace insight. This was when wood fireplaces were still considered a “good” thing.
All very nice if it was in Tucson, Arizona, but this was Newburyport, Massachusetts.
I asked the realtor how the developer came up with this concept. And the realtor quite happily told me that the realtor had told the developer what people “wanted” and what would sell, and the developer developed the property accordingly. The realtor seemed quite pleased with the contribution that the realtor had made to our historic Newburyport heritage.
And in my experience, this particular realtor was and is not an anomaly.
So that’s why I find the fact that a realtor, of all people, nominated an historic garden as an Endangered Resource endearing.
And I would not be at all surprised if other realtors might not be happy at this audacious act. Much easier to sell a million dollar plus property on historic High Street if one could just pave over that darn garden without a qualm in the world and make it into a nifty parking lot. Good grief, let’s get real.
So the fact that we are losing Newburyport’s historic heritage, short-term profit instead of long-term economic gain, is just downright complicated and downright multi-determined.