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  • 18 Apr 2017 4:15 PM | Web Wrangler (Administrator)

    Preservation Week 2017:
    Newburyport in the Historic American Buildings Survey
    Tuesday - Sunday, May 16-21, 2017

    Preservation Week, the annual spring celebration of the city's historical and architectural preservation, is set for May 16-21, with a lineup of tours, presentations, exhibitions, awards, and social events. With the exception of one evening fund-raiser, all events are free.

    Since 2007 the preservation-themed festivities have been organized and presented by the all-volunteer non-profit Newburyport Preservation Trust.

    This year's theme, "Newburyport in the Historic American Buildings Survey," takes a look back at the federal HABS program that advanced historic preservation throughout the U.S. in the 1930s, and whose survey teams were active in Newburyport. The complete schedule of events is listed on the dedicated Preservation Week page ... and in your collectible Preservation Week 2017 poster/flyer available in PDF format here.

    Highlights include the debut of a new book, The HABS and the 'HABs Nots', on the documentation of Newburyport architecture; two exhibitions related to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) at the Custom House Maritime Museum and the Museum of Old Newbury; Sash Revival Day with Window Woman of New England; an evening fund-rasing event and tour at Newburyport's 1825 "Old Gaol"; and the presentation of the Newburyport Preservation Trust's annual Preservation Awards.

    Online registration is open now for "An Evening in Gaol" on Friday, May 19, 2017, 6-8 p.m. This event presents the rare opportunity to visit Newburyport's old granite jail in use from 1825 to 1912. Privately owned since 1923, it is rarely open to visitors. Architect Charles Griffin and his wife, Gillian, have owned and restored the property since 1987, and both will be on hand to talk about its history. Complimentary food, wine, beer, and water will be served as visitors enjoy the surroundings and the music of guitarist John Tavano. Pre-registration and ticket purchase are required via the NPT website. Admission is $50.00 per person for NPT members, and $60.00 per person for non-members. All proceeds benefit the Newburyport Preservation Trust.

    Preservation Week is an annual community-wide event sponsored by the Newburyport Preservation Trust to celebrate the city's unique architectural legacy. The Newburyport Preservation Trust is a membership organization that brings together people who value the preservation of Newburyport's period architecture, neighborhood ambiance, heritage landscapes,  and authentic historic character. The all-volunteer organization educates, informs, and advocates through its programs, projects, publications, and presence, and is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.


    In conjunction with Preservation Week 2017 is the publication of The HABS and the 'HABs Nots': Documenting Newburyport Architecture in the Historic American Buildings Survey, by R.W. Bacon. This new large-format hard-bound volume presents the crisp analog photos and elegant measured drawings for the surveys conducted in Newburyport in decades gone by, and also takes a look at the future of preservation in the once struggling but now rejuvenated port city. Read more about the book here(This book will be available for purchase at Preservation Week events. Online purchase information is forthcoming.)

  • 18 Apr 2017 4:06 PM | Web Wrangler (Administrator)

    The HABS and the 'HABs NOTS':
    Documenting the Architecture of Newburyport
    in the Historic American Buildings Survey
    by R.W. Bacon

    The HABS and the HABs Nots takes a look back at the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), the federal program that advanced historic preservation in the 1930s. For viewing pleasure, the book presents the crisp analog photos and elegant measured drawings for surveys conducted in Newburyport, Mass., a small coastal city known widely for the riches of its authentic 18th- and 19th-century domestic architecture.

    The "HABs Nots" Gallery then takes a look at the future of preservation in the once down-and-out but rejuvenated port city. The city's smaller-footprint historic homes, never the subject of the HABS-like attention lavished upon Georgian and Federal-style showplaces, fill the city's 750-acre National Register Historic District and contribute to its ambiance. Yet their authenticity is at the greatest risk of being lost to the "march of progress."

    For additional context, the book includes chapters on the economic history of Newburyport; the origin of the HABS program; and the earlier efforts at documentation. Also included is an illustrated guide to 300 years of house styles in Newburyport, plus a bibliography-by-topic for history enthusiasts and preservation advocates.

    This new book will be available for purchase at Preservation Week 2017 events. Online purchase information is forthcoming.

    See and read the front and back cover here.

    8.5 x 11.0 casebound; 160 pages;
    ISBN: 978-0-9977528-1-6; LOC: 2016920943

    About the author: Reginald W. Bacon is a museum and history professional with specialties in 17th- and 18th-century New England architecture and domestic life – and early 20th-century vaudeville and circus. His first career as a journalist, editor, and designer informs his current work in the museum field. A 35-year career as a touring professional acrobatic juggler and jazz/ragtime musician informed his performing arts research. He is the author of ten books on under-the-radar history, performing arts, and editorial/graphics topics. In a "busman's holiday" sort of way, he serves on the board of directors of several history and preservation organizations, including on the "working board" of the Newburyport Preservation Trust.

  • 16 Feb 2017 1:09 PM | Web Wrangler (Administrator)

    The winter 2017 NPT Newsletter is hot off the press ...

    ... and available in cool, easy-to-read PDF digital format here.

    In this issue:

    - City's draft Master Plan "infill map" prompts NPT response --- and city clarification ... and forthcoming revision.

    - Join us at the Pike-Cushing-Bachman House for NPT's Annual Meeting and Members Party Sunday, February 26, 2017, 3:00-5:30 p.m. The meeting/party features an update on NPT education and advocacy efforts --- and light refreshments --- all in the ambiance of the 1810 Pike-Cushing-Bachman House at 63 High Street.

    - "Cooking in Beehive Ovens" March 4, 2017, 3:30-5:30 p.m. --- Open for registration! Back by popular demand, historic fireplace expert Richard Irons will give an overview of brick oven construction, explain how the oven works, and give a real-time cooking demonstration --- with hands-on participation.

    - Preservation Award nominations due by March 15, 2017. Go straight to the Nomination Form. Here's an election you can feel good about --- Send in your nominations for NPT's 2017 Preservation Awards.

    - Preservation Week 2017set for May 16-21, 2017. This year's theme: "Newburyport in the Historic American Buildings Survey."

    - NPT nominated as a "Trailblazer" by Essex National Heritage Area. Now you can vote NPT to the top of the heap.

    Happy reading ... and feel free to share your newsletter with interested folks and prospective NPT members.

  • 16 Feb 2017 11:33 AM | Web Wrangler (Administrator)

    NPT's "Do It Ye Self" Series:
    "Cooking in Beehive Ovens" is Sat., March 4, 2017

    Back by popular demand is historic fireplace expert Richard Irons for another session of “Cooking in Beehive Ovens” on Saturday, March 4, 2016, 3:30-5:30 p.m. at 6 Independent Street, Newburyport.

    Prompt registration is advised via the Events page of NPT’s website,, as last year’s beehive oven session, part of NPT’s popular “Do It Ye Self” series, sold out in less than 24 hours. Registration is just $20 per person for members. ($30 per for non-members.) Registration is limited to 18 attendees.

    The program includes an overview of brick oven construction; the evolution of beehive ovens in New England; an explanation of how the oven works; and a real-time cooking demonstration – with hands-on participation.

    This month's venue, a restored Georgian home (c. 1725) with a fireplace and oven just right for the presentation, was generously volunteered for the event by the owners, supportive members of the Newburyport Preservation Trust.

    The presenter, restoration mason Richard Irons of Limerick, Maine, has worked on historic houses and museum properties in the northeast U.S. for more than 40 years.

    For additional information, contact "Do It Ye Self" program coordinator Matt Blanchette at 978-697-5135 or by email at

  • 15 Feb 2017 10:51 AM | Web Wrangler (Administrator)

    Join us at the Pike-Cushing-Bachman House (1810)
    for Annual Meeting & Party on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017

    Join fellow Newburyport Preservation Trust members at NPT's Annual Meeting & Members Party on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at the Pike-Cushing-Backman House, 63 High Street, Newburyport, 3:00 - 5:30 p.m.

    The Annual Meeting & Members Party features an update on NPT education and advocacy efforts during the past year --- and light refreshments.

    Thanks to the generous spirit of an NPT member homeowner, NPT Annual Meeting & Members Party attendees can enjoy the ambiance of the Pike-Cushing-Bachman House. Built in 1810 by Richard Pike, it was the home of Newburyport's noted local and national public servant Caleb Cushing (1800-1879) from 1848 to his death. The home was owned by mill owner Solomon Bachman (1827-1898) and his heirs from 1881 to 1945.

  • 15 Feb 2017 10:11 AM | Web Wrangler (Administrator)

    Nominations Open for 2017 Preservation Awards

    The Newburyport Preservation Trust is accepting nominations for the 2017 Preservation Awards to be presented in conjunction with Preservation Week May 17-21, 2017.

    Simply download and print the nomination form and awards criteria from the Preservation Week page at the NPT website (Note: You're already here!), fill out the form(s) with your nomination(s), and return by old-school postal mail to the Newburyport Preservation Trust at P. O. Box 184, Newburyport, MA 01950. Nominations must be received by March 15, 2017.

    Awards will be presented in seven categories: stewardship, exterior restoration, interior restoration, sensitive addition to a historic building, historic landscape restoration, historically sensitive contractor/builder, and sustainable historic structure.

    Since 2007 the Newburyport Preservation Trust has celebrated preservation efforts through its annual Preservation Awards. The goal is to support, promote, celebrate, and showcase preservation – and raise awareness of the value and unique historic character of our community.

    So put on your "thinking caps" and submit your worthy preservation award nominations, then clear your calendar for Preservation Week and the awards presentations on Sunday, May 21, 2017.

  • 15 Feb 2017 9:39 AM | Web Wrangler (Administrator)

    Draft master plan "infill map"
    prompts NPT response ... and city clarification

    When the City of Newburyport's draft Master Plan was posted on the city's website for public comment in December 2016, the Generalized Future Land Use Map deep within the 232-page document was not expected to generate much attention. But apparently the map sent an unclear message about the sensitive issue of creeping "infill" development. View the map here.

    But by the end of the public comment period (January 31, 2017) the land use map prompted not only public response, but an NPT member alert followed by newspaper coverage, a subsequent editorial, letters to the editor, social media postings, and NPT member letters to the city that questioned the
    "Residential Infill Potential" areas on the map. Irritating the raw nerves was the city's apparent endorsement of infill in already-packed neighborhoods in the National Register Historic District.

    The Newburyport Preservation Trust board of directors collaborated to craft a five-page point-by-point response to the infill designation and other preservation-related issues in the draft Master Plan. The NPT response was submitted to the city's Planning Office on January 26. Read NPT's commentary here.

    The city's Master Plan draft, with the map, is on the city website, master-plan-steering-committee

    NPT’s comments led to a meeting on February 3 with Mayor Donna Holaday and Planning Director Andrew Port. Port explained that the "Residential Infill Potential" areas on the map were merely to indicate the situation as it is today, given current zoning regulations. According to the Planning Dept. the map was not intended to be a welcoming fanfare for developers to shoehorn more homes into neighborhoods where some of the houses are already just two feet apart. The Mayor and the Planning Department said a suspended and long-overdue rewrite of the zoning code will promptly resume, section-by-section according to urgency, addressing infill and loss of historic structures as a priority.

    Besides infill, other topics addressed in NPT's response included preventing the degradation of historic neighborhoods, architectural design standards-and-review, affordable housing, and the need for a zoning enforcement officer that works independent of the Building Department.

    According to the Planning Dept., a revised draft of the Master Plan – with a new map – is forthcoming. Thanks to the questions raised in the first map, NPT and the city engaged in a valuable discussion on multiple preservation-related topics.

  • 03 Nov 2016 8:04 AM | Web Wrangler (Administrator)

    NPT's "Do It Ye Self" Series:
    "Think Like a Chair" Workshop is Sat., Nov. 19, 2016

    Newburyport’s own veritable “chair-man,” Henry Fox, shares his 30 years of wisdom on chair design and construction on Saturday, November 19, at 1 p.m. at Fox Brothers Furniture Studio, 39 Liberty Street, Newburyport. The event is the latest in the Newburyport Preservation Trust's "Do It Ye Self" series.

    The two-hour program, presented as a give-and-take discussion about the design considerations that go into making a chair, will touch on specific chair designs, the maker's own influences, and other issues unique to chairs. Questions for the presenter are welcome. Whether you are a furniture aficionado or just a "homer-with-a-hammer," at this workshop the Newburyport Preservation Trust invites you to pull up a seat and “Think Like a Chair.” 

    Henry Fox has worked at his studio in a re-purposed auto dealership in Newburyport for more than 15 years. His furniture graces homes and public spaces from coast-to-coast, and has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Craft Show, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the American Craft Museum, and DeCordova Museum. His furniture conceptions are described as "an alignment of light, tension, weight, and the unexpected."

    Cost for the limited registration program is $15 for Newburyport Preservation Trust members, and $20 for non-members. Register online at the "Events" page of the Newburyport Preservation Trust website ( For additional information, contact "Do It Ye Self" program coordinator Matt Blanchette at 978-697-5135 or by email at

  • 28 Oct 2016 7:52 AM | Web Wrangler (Administrator)

    Fall 2016 NPT Newsletter now online

    The fall 2016 newsletter of the Newburyport Preservation Trust has been e-mailed to members, and is also available to read online here. In this issue, the lead article is a report on a former Newburyporter's blog post --- "Why are You Gutting That House" --- that resonated with readers in Newburyport and far beyond. Also in this issue is an update on the NPT Historic House Plaque Program, and a report on the first in a fund-raising series, "Serving Up Storied Homes."

    In this issue:

    - Former Newburyporter's blog post gets national response

    - NPT gift membership is timely for the holidays

    - Historic House Plaque Program update

    - "Serving Up Storied Homes" fund-raiser report

    - "Words Not Necessary" feature

  • 10 Jul 2016 10:48 AM | Web Wrangler (Administrator)
    Wipe off the frown ... and replace it with "Amazon Smile"!

    Do you buy stuff on Of course you do! Even if you don't shop there for all your thingamajigs and watchamacallits, you surely go to for access to scholarly tomes, obscure literature, and hard-to-find recordings.

    Now, when you shop at, make sure to sign in through the "Amazon Smile" program, and a whopping 0.5% of your purchase price will go to support the Newburyport Preservation Trust! Don't laugh --- it all adds up! So the next time you browse, wipe off the frown and click on this link to Amazon Smile.

    Better yet, copy the link to your desktop for even faster and easier access!

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