Newburyport, Preservation and Blogging Peril

You know what else I’m pissed about. I’m pissed that so many people are upset that I used a certain verb on the Newburyport Political Blog.

That verb can also mean, “plunder,” “despoliation” as in “the — of the countryside.” Which was how I meant it by the way.

Ok, I’ll admit it was a little over the top, but that’s as over the top as I’ve ever gotten on the Newburyport Political Blog, for crying out loud.

And it does feel like that is exactly what could happen to the back of the Wheelwright property, so there.

The subdivision in question would be right next to the Oak Hill Cemetery, a dignified and sacred place. According to the Newburyport Daily News, a 34-acre burial ground for many of Newburyport’s beloved ancestors, including the Wheelwright family and I believe 175 sea captains and 29 mayors. Not Shabby.

In the Newburyport Current, Friday, October 27, 2006, Nathan Felde is right when he says, “Barbecues and burials don’t go together.”

Mr. Felde is correct again; the area is the “soul” of Newburyport, MA.

Ester Macomber, who is a dear, dear lady, as well as being very well respected in this New England seaside community, in the same article calls the plan “ridiculous.”

Mrs Macomber has protected her huge piece of land on the back of the Ridge so that it can never be built on. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is and setting a great example for her neighbors on High Street. Bless this wonderful woman.

And if the developer, Todd Fremont-Smith (that’s in the Newburyport Current too) thinks that only the neighbors are upset, he might not have things quite in perspective yet. From what I’m getting, almost the entire town is outraged.

Will this finally be the wakeup call that the residents of Newburyport, MA need? We can no longer take our historic heritage for granted.

If Mr. Fremont-Smith and company are “aware of the legitimate preservation issues and are trying very much to be respectful,” (the Newburyport Current again) then one of his options could be that he could sell that piece of property to the folks who are apparently going to do right by the Wheelwright House and gardens, put a deed restriction on it and make sure it goes to the Essex County Green Belt.

He won’t make any money that way, but at least he’d be able to live in town or even New England without people wanting to picket in front of his home.

You see this is where I get into trouble. (George Cushing the political consultant for the Newburyport Political Blog is scrunching his nose and looking at me with those beady little eyes of his. He does not want me to put myself in peril.)

George pleading with me not to put myself in peril

I’m blogging about money. Lots and lots of money is at stake here. And people don’t like people saying they shouldn’t make lots and lots of money on a particular piece of property.

But this is no ordinary piece of property; this literally verges on sacred ground. It’s been written about extensively now in the Newburyport Current and the Newburyport Daily News, so I hope I’m safe on the “being sued thing” here. George is not so sure.

Mary Eaton