Newburyport, Demolition, Restoration

On the Library of Congress’ website I found another one of these fantastic photographs. This one is of 8 Summer Street.

8 Summer Street, Newburyport, MA
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division, Historic American Buildings Survey, Arthur C. Haskell, Photographer. June, 1934.

Yup, you guessed it, 8 Summer Street no longer exists. This beautiful home was another house in that neighborhood that was demolished to make way for Route 1.

And I also found this accompanying document from the Library of Congress.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division, Historic American Buildings Survey

The document (obviously from the survey) says:

“8 Summer Street, Thibault House, History-Built c. 1815, Demolished June 1934 for Cut Off”

Ah, the price of “progress.”


At least for this blogger.

Ok, I don’t know the back story of this demolition extravaganza, whole Newburyport neighborhoods demolished and destroyed. Restoration did not appear to be on the radar screen.

But, this sorry tale, certainly applies to Newburyport, MA in the year 2007. Do we as a city have regard for the retention and restoration of our historic assets, the “intangibles” that make this town so economically vibrant. Or, are we going to throw our historic and economic assets in the dumpster for today’s quick buck?

And in my mind, our historic assets include things like the acres and acres of land behind (or beside) the stately homes on High Street. Yes, I am thinking of the land that once belonged to the Wheelwright property that abuts the historic Oak Hill Cemetery. Been out of the press for a while.

And apparently there are projects in the works for 30 High Street and 321-323 High Street.

In yesterday’s Newburyport Daily News, January 17, 2007, John and Sandra Welch are requesting a division of their very large lot, 39 High Street (that is the house on historic High Street with the tennis court up by March’s Hill.)

The plan according to the Newburyport Daily News, is that John and Sandra Welch, who are retired, will sell the existing house and then build a new house “within the year” on the remaining 12,078 square feet, which would become 30 High Street. Plenty of room legally for a new dwelling.


Mary Eaton