Newburyport, Massachusetts

Newburyport, Massachusetts
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Newburyport's State Street in June 2005
Newburyport's State Street in June 2005
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Location in Essex County in Massachusetts
Location in Essex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates:
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Essex
Settled 1635
Incorporated 1764
Government
 - Type Mayor-council city
 - Mayor John F. Moak
Area
 - City  10.6 sq mi (27.4 km)
 - Land  8.4 sq mi (21.7 km)
 - Water  2.2 sq mi (5.7 km)
Elevation  37 ft (11 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 17,189
 - Density 2,050.3/sq mi (791.6/km)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01950
Area code(s) 351 / 978
FIPS code 25-45245
GNIS feature ID 0614293
Newburyport is a small coastal city in Essex County, Massachusetts, 38 miles (61 km) northeast of Boston. A historic seaport with a vibrant tourism industry, Newburyport includes part of Plum Island. The mooring, winter storage and maintenance of recreational boats, motor and sail, still contribute a large part of the city's income. A coast guard station keeps a watchful eye on boating activity, especially in the swift tidal currents of the Merrimack River.

At the edge of Newbury Marshes delineating Newburyport to the south an industrial park provides a wide range of jobs. Newburyport is on a major north-south highway, Interstate 95. The outer circumferential highway of Boston, Interstate 495, passes nearby in Amesbury. A colonial road, the Newburyport Turnpike (U. S. Route 1), still traverses Newburyport on its way north. The commuter rail line to Boston ends in a new station at Newburyport. The earlier Boston and Maine Railroad leading further north was discontinued.

History

Newburyport was first settled in 1635 as part of "Newberry Plantation," now Newbury. On January 28, 1764, the General Court of Massachusetts passed an act "for erecting part of the town of Newbury into a new town by the name of Newburyport."[1] The act was approved by governor Francis Bernard on February 4, 1764. The town became a city in 1851. Situated near the mouth of the Merrimack River, it was once a fishing, shipbuilding and shipping center, with an industry in silverware manufacture and rum Cuttysark rum clippership logo inspired by Newburyport's shipping days. The seaport declined after President Thomas Jefferson's Embargo of 1807 and the War of 1812 (although a port for privateering during it), which helped preserve Newburyport's charming early appearance. The city's historical highlights include:
  • First United States Coast Guard station
  • First of many subsequent Clipper ships built here
  • First "Tea Party" rebellion to oppose British Tea Tax
  • First state mint and treasury building
  • Oldest active and continuously running court house
  • Formed the basis for the town of Innsmouth in the H. P. Lovecraft story, "The Shadow over Innsmouth"
  • Subject of the most ambitious community study ever undertaken, the Yankee City project conducted by anthropologist W. Lloyd Warner and his associates
Historic Houses & Museums:

Historic Preservaton

Despite thriving before in the 1950s and 1960s, Newburyport's downtown began to fall into disrepair because of several factors, most notably strip malls taking away from local business and the "car-loving" American family. Because of this, Newburyport was in very bad shape by 1970 and scheduled to be razed. Ideas to rebuild the city's downtown were numerous, ranging from building hotels and new stores to, ironically, a strip mall, with few buildings left for historical reasons. Later, however, even after some building had already been razed, the city signed a federal grant that allowed it to keep its historic architecture. Even today Newburyport is called a stunning example of preserving architecture.




State Street in c. 1906

Dexter House in c. 1908

Frog Pond in c. 1905

Joppa Landing in c. 1906


Geography

Newburyport is located at (42.812391, -70.877440).GR1 According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.4 km² (10.6 mi²). 21.7 km² (8.4 mi²) of it is land and 5.7 km² (2.2 mi²) of it (20.77%) is water.

Newburyport was laid out on the elevated right bank of the Merrimack River between the river and Newbury marshes. The shipyards, now boatyards (and still vigorously active), extended along the bank at the edge of the river. They were connected by Merrimack Street, which ends upriver where the bank merges into bluffs covered with pine forest.

Colonial residences extend up the bank from Merrimac Street to High Street (which is high) running parallel to it near the top of the ridge. The homes of the seafaring entrepreneurs line High Street. Many feature "widow's walks", structures on the roof where the residents could look for the return of sailing vessels. Nearly every home maintains a splendid flower garden, most dating to colonial times. Various cross streets, such as State Street, Green Street and Market Street, connect Merrimac Street and High Street.

The top of the ridge proved an ideal location for later institutions, such as Newburyport High School and nearby Anna Jaques Hospital. The ridge drops more sharply to the marsh on the other side. Along its margin a third parallel street developed, Low Street (which is low).

The river bank gradually descends to marshes at Joppa Flats beyond downtown Newburyport. The Plum Island Turnpike was pushed out over the marsh on a causeway to a narrow part of the Plum Island River just to the south of where it connects to the mouth of the Merrimack. A drawbridge was built there, the only access to the island by road. On the Newburyport side a small airport, Plum Island Airfield, was built at the edge of the marsh.

Demographics

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Brown Square in 1913
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 17,189 people, 7,519 households, and 4,428 families residing in the city. The population density was 792.0/km² (2,050.3/mi²). There were 7,897 housing units at an average density of 363.8/km² (942.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.11% White, 0.42% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.88% of the population.The top 5 ethnic groups are .Irish - 25%[1] · English - 16% · Italian - 11% · French (except Basque) - 7% · German - 6%

There were 7,519 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.1% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.90.

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City Hall in c. 1910
In the city the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 28.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 86.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $58,557, and the median income for a family was $73,306. Males had a median income of $51,831 versus $37,853 for females. The per capita income for the city was $34,187. About .8% of families and .2% of the population were below the poverty line, including .3% of those under age 18 and .9% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Since it's founding in 1851, Newburyport has been run by a mayor with a two-year term and an eleven member City Council. During the middle twentieth century Newburyport enjoyed a typical "small town" community, run, most notably, by city mayor and activist Ed Molin, who died in 2005. The current mayor of Newburyport is John Moak, and the next election year for mayor is 2007.

Education

According to the Sixty-Fifth Edition of The Clipper's Compass: A Student Handbook for 2005-2006, Newburyport High School was the result of the union in 1868 of the Latin and English High School (1831), later called the Brown High School (1851), the Putnam Free School (1848) and the Female High School (1843). After the union it was the Consolidated High and Putnam School, to become Newburyport High School in 1889.

The current building, designed by Edwin S. Dodge, occupies the previous Mount Rural on High Street. The school has been renovated a number of times. Today it is a fine-looking building with a grand entrance overlooking lawns sweeping down to High Street. The hill continues to descend to the river. The slope supports a residential area of colonial and nineteenth century buildings in good repair.

The school colors are crimson and old gold; the emblem is a clipper ship. There is a song, and a flag. The school has a student government and athletic programs.

Concerning accreditation the handbook says: "Newburyport High School is an accredited member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and has met the evaluation requirements of the Commission on Public Secondary Schools."

The current site of Newburyport High School was purchased from Harvard University early in the 20th century. The original location still exists, in fully renovated condition, on the corner of Green and High streets.

Annual events

Yankee Homecoming

"Yankee Homecoming" is the annual festival celebrating the natives coming home to Newburyport. The event was initiated in 1957 by native Newburyporter George Cashman, who sought to stimulate the economy and lift the spirit of the citizens.

It lasts only a week. The first Sunday of the festival, known as "Olde Fashioned Sunday," is celebrated at the Bartlet Mall in Newburyport, and features many activities, including an art show, an appearance by the city's oldest fire engine, the "Neptune," and the participation of many local businesses. There is also an antique car parade. Each Yankee Homecoming features a grand marshal and numerous street vendors.

The festival includes nine days and over 200 events. There are concerts every night at Market Landing Park along with the "Annual Boat Parade." Other popular events include the Newburyport Lions' 10-mile and 5-kilometer road races, which run through the city's downtown streets and neighborhoods. There is also an amazing 45-minute fireworks show, and, most notably of all, the famous Yankee Homecoming parade on the last Sunday of the festival.

Newburyport's "Yankee Homecoming" is the 2nd oldest homecoming festival in the United States. Many charities raise their funds during this time. The Yankee Homecoming Festival celebrates it's 50th year in Newburyport this year.

Waterfront Concert Series

Held Friday evenings in Waterfront Park in downtown Newburyport, these free concerts are intended for all ages. The concerts are presented by the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and the Waterfront Trust and are sponsored by a local insurance agency, Arthur S Page Insurance. Concert dates for 2007 are Fridays, July 13, 20, 27 and August 10 from 6-7:30 pm.

Newburyport Literary Festival

Held during the last weekend of April, The Newburyport Literary Festival was started in 2006 as a new effort by the city to increase interest in reading and literary arts. Many local authors are invited to sign and chat about their book, and schoolchildren create projects to show to an author that visits their school. Among the authors that regulary visit are Andre Dubus III and Tess Gerritsen.

Points of interest

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Atkinson Common in 1908
High Street is a remarkable street of fine old Federal-style houses, linking the Atkinson Common (1893-1894) with the Bartlett Mall, site of the Charles Bulfinch-designed Essex County Superior Courthouse (1805). Laid out in 1801, the Bartlett Mall was redesigned in the 1880s by noted Boston landscape architect Charles Eliot, with later improvements by Arthur Shurcliff.

First Presbyterian Church, Newburyport dates from 1756. The clock tower bell was cast by Paul Revere. One of the most famous individuals in 18th century America, evangelist George Whitefield, before dying in Newburyport in 1770, asked that his remains be buried under the pulpit of the "Old South" church and they are there to this day.

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Meetinghouse of the First Religious Society (Unitarian), built 1801
Some other points of interest are: the city's historic waterfront, Atwood Park (as known by School Street Park, founded by Aidan Tomlinson in 1927, on a grant from the SSTC) located in the south end of Newburyport, Market Square & Inn Street, and Cashman Park.

Notable residents

Notes

1. ^ Currier (1902) page 267.

Bibliography

  • Smith, Mrs. E. Vale (1854). History of Newburyport; from the Earliest Settlement of the Country to the Present Time; with a Biographical Appendix, 828 pages.  Publisher not stated. Printer was Damrell and Moore, Boston. Other editions appear under Mrs. Smith's maiden name, Euphemia Vale Blake. This edition is downloadable from Google Books.
  • Hurd, Duane Hamilton, supervisor of compilation (1888). History of Essex County, Massachusetts, with Biographical Sketches of Many of the Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co.  Two volumes, 957 and 1173 pages. Newburyport is in Volume II; however, there are scattered facts throughout. The first half of Volume I is downloadable from Google Books. Republished (1992) by Higginson Book Company, ISBN083282450x. In that edition, Hurd is called an editor.
  • Currier, John J. (1906, 1909). History of Newburyport, Mass. 1764-1905 with Maps and Illustrations. Newburyport: John J. Currier, 766 and 679 pages.  Two volumes. Reprints and facsimiles exist.
  • Currier, John James (1902). History of Newbury, Mass. 1635-1902. Boston: Damrell & Upham.  Covers the early history of Newburyport before separation from Newbury. Downloadable from Google Books.

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Area code 351
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Created 2001
LATA Code 128
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Area code 978
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Location of area code 978
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Created 1997
LATA Code 128
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