Celebrating Newburyport’s Historic Preservation

I was reading Saturday’s Newburyport Daily News, “Man behind Market Square wins preservation award,” by Steve Landwehr, about how Paul McGinley is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance for a number of preservation projects including Newburyport’s very own Market Square.

That’s cool. In fact that’s very cool.

I’m reading along:

“McGinley was working for an engineering firm in 1970 when he heard Newburyport was looking for someone to direct its renewal. He applied and got the job of executive director of the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority‚Ķ

He inherited a program that was already in debt and needed even more money. In fact, the only reason he got the job was the city ran out of cash to demolish the downtown and put up a single-story shopping mall.”
Newburyport Daily News, April 28, 2007

Wait a moment. Excuse me?

“In fact, the only reason he got the job was the city ran out of cash to demolish the downtown and put up a single-story shopping mall.”

Whoa, whoa. Slow down here.

The article is saying that the only reason Newburyport, MA exists the way it does today is because the city of Newburyport, MA ran out of money?

I have never heard this one before. This little tidbit of information is not a part of our “urban legend.” Our “urban legend” is full of heroes and farsighted thinkers, not running out of money.

And just for reminders sake, here is a picture of the model (courtesy of the Historical Society of Old Newbury, now being displayed at the Newburyport Daily News) of what the city would have looked like with that “single-story shopping mall.”

NRA.model-1.jpg
Model of what Newburyport, MA
would have looked like with the single-story shopping mall

Market-Sq.jpg
Market Square today

In fact, Newburyport, MA exists the way it does today because of so many thoughtful, heroic and farsighted people.

And in the year 2007, there is a “new” set of folks who have stepped up to the plate, the Newburyport Preservation Trust.

The Newburyport Preservation Trust was started by Linda Miller, and has recently really taken off.

And next Saturday, the Newburyport Preservation Trust celebrates its first annual Preservation Week from May 5- 12, 2007.

For more information press here for the Trust’s main website. Or you can also press here to take you directly to the “Events” page of the Newburyport Preservation Trust.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport