Newburyport, The Firehouse Center for the Arts

One of the things that has always concerned me is that downtown Newburyport, MA is NOT a Local Historic District. Local Historic District–major protection for our historic assets.

Inn Street looking towards Market Square
Downtown Newburyport, MA
Mary Baker Eaton © 2007

All the work has been done by the Newburyport Historical Commission. It is just a matter of the Newburyport City Council giving it an OK. Why the Newburyport City Council has never done this, well this is Newburyport, MA and we seem to be allergic to Local Historic Districts. (We hope that this is about to change with the first possible ever, my goodness, Fruit Street Local Historic District, which is in the works. It needs a majority of votes by the Newburyport City Council to become a reality. So, if you care about protecting Newburyport’s historic assets and the Fruit Street Local Historic District in particular, please call your Newburyport City Councilor ASAP.)

One of the buildings that I believe is protected is the Firehouse Center for the Arts.

The Firehouse Center for the Arts
Downtown Newburyport, MA
A Newburyport preservation success story!
Mary Baker Eaton © 2007

The Firehouse Center for the Arts was originally built as a market house and lyceum by the citizens of Newburyport in 1823. The structure, located in Newburyport’s Market Square, served as the Central Fire Station from the mid 1800s until 1980.

A combination of public and private efforts restored the building, which reopened in 1991. (And I’ve always wanted to put this on the Newburyport Political Blog because I am so proud of it) The Firehouse Center and Schwartz/Silver Architects, Inc. won an “Honor Award For Architecture” from The American Institute of Architects.”

(The information on the Firehouse was taken from the website of the Firehouse Center for the Arts.)

I’ve always thought that the Firehouse is an amazing example of historic preservation in Newburyport, MA, a real Newburyport preservation success story. And I for one am very happy that it exists.

Ben Laing took this gorgeous picture of the Firehouse and has graciously allowed the Newburyport Political Blog to use it.

Benjamin Laing © 2005
Image courtesy of Benjamin Laing Photography

The Firehouse Center for the Arts
A Newburyport Preservation Success Story!

Many thanks to Benjamin Laing Photography.

Mary Eaton

(Editor’s note: I have found the image of Inn Street used on the Web a great deal. It is copyrighted by Mary Baker Eaton and cannot be used without her permission.)