Connect:

US Coast Guard Birthday an Annual Celebration of Maritime History

By Jenny Davis, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Jenny is a freelance writer who moved to Newburyport in 2016 with her two loves, partner Wade and their Mini Goldendoodle, Lexie. After 25 years of retail management on the North Shore, Jenny is now enjoying writing about the people and places in the area she proudly calls home. Her happy place is sitting with a book in a local coffee shop or running along the Clipper City Rail Trail.
US Coast Guard Birthday, Newburyport

The US Coast Guard Birthday is August 4th and 2022 marks 232 years for this oldest branch of the military. The celebration, as in year’s past, also coincides with Newburyport’s annual Yankee Homecoming festival.  The Newburyport station, U.S. Coast Guard Station Merrimack River, is a source of great pride for locals as is the city’s rich maritime history.  The US Coast Guard Birthday is a perfect chance to celebrate not only the founding of the Coast Guard but to thank these men and women who protect our waters and perform life saving missions.

Did you know that first revenue cutter, USRC Massachusetts, was built in Newburyport? The vessel was the result of the Tariff Act, signed on August 4, 1790, that authorized a total of 10 cutters to be built and to enforce tariff and trade laws and prevent smuggling. Today, the US Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for law enforcement, environmental protection and search and rescue. The Newburyport station, US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River, has the distinction of being one of only 19 surf stations in the country and only one of 4 along the entire East Coast.  Surf stations are required in areas where there is the potential for extreme wave height and or high winds more than a month out of the year.

Every year, during Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming celebration in August, US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River holds an Open House during which the public can tour the 140-year-old station as well as learn about boater safety and ask questions. Summer months are the busiest time for the men and women of the Coast Guard and our own local waters, though beautiful, are some of the most unpredictable and can often be dangerous to navigate. You can hear about some of the hazards that the crew encounters, learn about the trainings they conduct and leave feeling more knowledgeable and safer for the next time you head out on the water.

Though always ready for any emergency 24/7, the crew at US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River will also take some time to relax and honor the Coast Guard Birthday in their own way.  Some delicious food and friendly (or perhaps, fierce?) competition at the station’s own annual corn hole tournament sounds like the prefect way to unwind and celebrate this important date in history. We hope they will also know how truly appreciative we are of their hard work and dedication. Happy Birthday, to the U.S.C.G.!

 

Plum Island Light House the Newburyport Harbor Light

By Laura Bentley, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Owner of Newburyport.Com, Laura manages Business Development, Fundraising, the VIP Program, Blogging and the Events Calendar.
Plum Island Light House, Newburyport MA

Plum Island Light House/Newburyport Harbor Light

Guide Us Through the Channel

Plum Island Light House, Newburyport MA

The Historic Plum Island Light House

The Plum Island Light House also know as the Plum Island Light or the Newburyport Harbor Light, has a very interesting history. It was first lit in 1788 with a lantern burning whale oil. And it was the 13th lighthouse to be constructed in the U.S..  It was needed to guide boaters into the treacherous mouth of the Merrimack River and into Newburyport Harbor. The strong currents and shifting sands at the mouth of the harbor present a serious challenge to boaters to this day.

Newburyport Harbor was very active and important to the U.S. for whaling, fishing, shipbuilding, and trade. There were many ships coming in and out of Newburyport Harbor. Before the lighthouse was built, fires on the beach in Plum Island were used to guide mariners. It was the business people of Newburyport in the 1780s that paid to build the Plum Island Lighthouse. President George Washington appointed the first keeper of the Plum Island Lighthouse, Abner Lowell. And three generations of Lowells served as lighthouse keepers at the Plum Island Lighthouse.

There were storms that damaged and original Plum Island Lighthouse. In addition, shifting sands meant that the Lighthouse had to be moved several times.

The current lighthouse dates from 1898. Since 1927 the lighthouse has been powered by electricity. The last keeper left the Lighthouse in 1951 when the light was automated. Today the lighthouse flashes a green light to guide boaters.  It is still very important to have this lighthouse in operation to guide boats safely through the turbulent area where the Merrimack River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

The Plum Island Lighthouse is located across from the Park River National Wildlife Refuge at the northern section of Plum Island.

Today the lighthouse is owned by the City of Newburyport. Friends of Plum Island Light lease it from the City and care for it. The grounds are open to the public. The Friends of Plum Island Light offer periodic public tours inside the Plum Island Lighthouse.

The picture perfect Plum Island Lighthouse is one of the great lighthouses to visit in New England and the North Shore.  It’s a “must see” for any lighthouse enthusiast and worth the visit if you are in the Greater Newburyport area. For more general information on Plum Island attractions visit our Plum Island Beach page and check out our Plum Island Parking article for parking lot information.

Directions:

From the Newburyport Harbor Range Lights on Water Street in downtown Newburyport, continue east on Water Street for 1.3 miles, where Water Street will become Plum Island Turnpike. Follow the turnpike for 1.8 miles to Plum Island, and then turn left on Northern Boulevard. Continue on Northern Boulevard for 1.3 miles to the northern end of the island, where you will see the lighthouse on your left.

Plum Island Light House

Northern Boulevard
Newburyport, MA 01950
(978) 973-6935
FriendsofpiLight@gmail.com

The Friends of Plum Island Light maintain the lighthouse and sometimes open the tower. Call (978) 973-6935 to see when open houses are offered.

Tour the Plum Island Light:

Tour the Plum Island Light: June 11th, July 9th, August 13th or September 10th. Reserve a time slot on these days between 10 am – 12:45 pm. Each 15 minute time slot is limited to 5 people and only one person in the group needs to sign up. Reserve a time in advance and be aware that there are not any rain dates. All attendees must be a minimum of 5 years old and at least 42 inches high, and be wearing sturdy shoes. A suggested donation of $5 per person is greatly appreciated to help care for the Plum Island Lighthouse. If tours are fully booked or you are unavailable on the dates offered, private tours can be booked via email to friendsofpilight@gmail.com

The 2023 Tour Season has finished. 2023 Tour Dates will be posted here and on the Newburyport.com Events Calendar as soon as they are announced. 

Topsfield Fair – America’s Oldest County Fair Began in 1818

By Caitlin Dowling, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Caitlin is a freelance editor/writer and former news producer for CNN. As a local mom of three, her family can be found enjoying all Newburyport has to offer, from strolling downtown to biking the rail trail to swimming at the beach.
Topsfield Fair, Topsfield, MA County Fair

The annual Topsfield Fair is back, running from September 30th through October 10th with hundreds of vendors, rides, animals, shows, and special entertainment. Known as America’s oldest county fair, nearly half a million people flock to the festivities each year to enjoy a combination of traditional agricultural exhibits with classic fair fun.

Opened daily over ten days, the Topsfield Fair features a Midway section filled with rides, food, and games. Thrill-seekers can whirl and twirlTopsfield Fair, County Fair, Topsfield, MA on fast-paced rides while families with younger children can hit the kiddie section filled with pint-sized entertainment like small merry-go-rounds and driving cars. The Midway is also home to classic carnival games. Rides and games are not included in admission. You can purchase ride packs in advance for a discount or just pay as you go at the fair.

Fair-goers should also be sure to bring their appetites because the food vendors—situated in the Midway—will not disappoint. Topsfield Fair has everything from sandwiches to desserts, and many unique treats with a county fair twist. Try out some chocolate covered bacon, sample fried kool-aide, or indulge in some farm-fresh apple crisp.

Topsfield Fair, County Fair Topsfield, MAThe Topsfield Fair was founded by the Essex County Agriculture Society back in 1818 so it comes as no surprise that farming and animals are a major part of this county fair.  Visit with tiny piglets, sheep with their lambs, and other farm animals at the Farmyard tent and stop into the multiple barns throughout the fairgrounds that house cattle, goats, rabbits, chickens, and more. There is even a beekeeping exhibit with observation hives to watch the bees in action. Along with live animals, visitors can also shop fresh produce from local farmers and goods made by local artisans.

Perhaps one of the most famous exhibits at the Topsfield Fair is the All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off—which is exactly what it sounds like. Farmers from all over compete to earn the title of the heaviest pumpkin and fair visitors get to check out these massive fruits on display. All pumpkins must weigh a minimum of 300 Lbs to enter and the heaviest to date weighed in at a whopping 1,689 Lbs!

Before planning out your day make sure to take a look at the Topsfield Fair daily calendar which is packed with live entertainment ranging from live musical performances to a demolition derby. There are also live events that go back to this county fair’s agricultural roots like an old fashion tractor pull and sheepdog trials. And if you plan on spending the whole day at the fair, stick around for the fairground parades scheduled for 5 pm on the following dates: 1st, 4th, 5th & 6th.

Tickets to the Topsfield Fair, along with ride tickets and food vouchers, can be purchased online in advance at a discounted rate. Discounted tickets can also be purchased for $15 in person at Newburyport Bank’s Newburyport, Salisbury, Newbury, and Amesbury (Friend Street) locations until September 22nd. Children under 8 are always free. All pictures used in this article are from the Topsfield Fair facebook page.

 

Historic Carousel on Salisbury Beach – Newburyport Bank $250K Donation

By Laura Bentley, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Owner of Newburyport.Com, Laura manages Business Development, Fundraising, the VIP Program, Blogging and the Events Calendar.
Historic Carousel, Salisbury Beach

A historic carousel will soon call a brand new pavilion on Salisbury Beach home thanks to the efforts of the Salisbury Beach Partnership andHistoric Carousel, Salisbury Beach a generous $250K donation from Newburyport Bank—a true community bank that gives back to the neighborhoods it serves. This project is part of a greater effort to restore Salisbury’s waterfront, creating a year-round family-oriented destination.

The pavilion will be constructed at a space on Broadway that has been vacant for 25 years, donated by Partnership President Wayne Capolupo and his family. Along with the historic carousel, the pavilion will also house a much-needed Newburyport Bank micro branch and event space for birthday parties and weddings.

The wooden hand-carved carousel, dating back to 1909, was built by W.F. Mangels at the Looff factory in East Providence, Rhode Island. During its heyday, the Looff carousel whirled and twirled at Harveys Lake Amusement Park in Pennsylvania. Now 112 years later, the historic carousel has been completely restored and will once again bring smiles to riders—big and small.

Historic Carousel, Salisbury Beach The carousel, one of only 300 of its kind, is made up of 44 hand-carved and painted wooden animals—including horses, giraffes, camels, and goats. As part of the fundraising for the project, families and local businesses can “adopt” one of the animals and sponsor it for the next 20 years.

Along with the Adopt a Horse program, all proceeds from this year’s Sea Festival of Trees, where 12 of the horses were on display, will go to the historic carousel and pavilion. The Salisbury Beach Partnership will continue to raise up to $1 million in funds for the Campaign for the Carousel.

The Salisbury waterfront is no stranger to having a beautiful carousel for locals and visitors to enjoy. The Broadway Flying Horses, the original Salisbury carousel, was a beloved family tradition for over 60 years before being sold off and moved to Santa Monica, California in 2019. The new addition of the pavilion and historic carousel, along with many other investment like the new Welcome Center, Comfort Station, and oceanfront boardwalk will truly bring back the magic of the Salisbury.

What’s Up With That Wooden Wheel at Liberty Law

By Robert Ciampitti, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Rob Ciampitti is a co-founding attorney and partner at Liberty Law and represents a dynamic client base of lenders, investors, developers as well as buyers & sellers of real estate – across a variety of land use, zoning, and condo matters ranging from commercial & residential real estate to private financing, development and permitting and innovative deal-strategy. In October of 2020, Rob was admitted to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he will be completing Harvard’s Advanced Real Estate Management and Development graduate program. An active licensed pilot since 1989, Rob Ciampitti holds a Private Pilot’s License with an Instrument Rating and shares his passion for aviation with his wife and two teenage sons, Rob also enjoys scouting with his two sons and serves as a Scout Leader and Merit Badge counselor for Scout Troop 21 (Newburyport, MA) and is himself an Eagle Scout – recently joined in that honor by both of his sons. Rob Ciampitti was admitted to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court in 2011 and remains an active member in good standing and has held a City of Newburyport Mayoral appointment to the Newburyport Zoning Board of Appeals since 2002 – where he currently serves as the Board’s Chairman.
Liberty Law, LLC.
Wooden Wheel, Hoist Wheel, Newburyport Liberty Law

If you have ever been to a real estate closing at  Liberty Law, you may have noticed a huge wooden wheel on the 3rd floor (hand-notched with evenly-spaced square holes – each carefully chiseled along the entire outside circumference of the wheel itself).  You may have also noticed the large ship-mast-like wooden spindle that spans enormous roof timbers all square-carved & fitted into the center hub of that wheel.  If so, then you may have asked yourself (or one of us), “What’s up with that wheel?”

The answer is interesting, though not unique in and around the old buildings of 19th Century Newburyport.  The history of this wheel – and surviving building elements like it around our City – is tethered back over nearly 200 years to Newburyport’s rich clipper ship & maritime heyday.   This wheel was called simply, a hoist-wheel and in the mid to late 1800(s), during the height of Newburyport’s global sailing trade, our 3 story building was used as a retail provisions shop.  Offered for sale inside were goods and wares ranging from the ordinary to the rarified – all arriving along our waterfront aboard locally built Clipper ships (things which today can be delivered by a drone right to your doorstep by 11AM tomorrow ….. but ONLY if you’re a Prime Member). 

If you could travel back in time and see this hoist wheel in say 1830 or so, you would have noticed that each of those notched holes supported a single wishbone shaped iron fork.  These iron forks keep a 2 story knotted rope-loop (a rope chain of sorts) threaded on the wheel itself.  Down below, you would have seen an operator pulling one end of that rope loop hand-over-hand on, which in turn would have spun booth the wheel and wooden spindle above.  Of course, as the spindle turned, it would have pulled another rope to create a manual elevator – lifting heavy goods and cargo to the upper floors.  Even today nearly 250 years later, that wheel still seems to spin with ease.

It was widely rumored during this era that some of this cargo, having survived a voyage from the Far East, West Indies or Europe all the way to our waterfront docks, somehow “got lost” along the final 100 feet of its journey to the Newburyport Customs House.  By whatever unrecorded means these goods finally made their way into the city’s commercial interior, we must count ourselves truly lucky today to be among the current stewards of these architectural treasures of our Clipper City’s maritime past.  These very ordinary yet amazing relics of our maritime past remind us of just how incredible it is to have the privilege to live and work under this rare canopy of such “living history.”

The next time you’re on Liberty Street whether for a real estate closing or “just because,” I invite you to come visit us here at Liberty Law – and check out this hoist wheel for yourself (with its 250 year old hand cut iron nails and notched holes).  By celebrating even the “ordinary” of our past, we help these wonderful treasures stay relevant in our present…and hopefully preserved and protected for our collective future.

Rob Ciampitti is a local history buff and the Co-Founder of Liberty Law located at 11A Liberty Street. Rob is also the Chairman of the Newburyport Zoning Board of Appeals, having proudly served on the Newburyport ZBA for nearly 20 years.

Wooden Wheel, hoist wheel, Liberty Law Newburyport

History of Yankee Homecoming Newburyport

By Caitlin Dowling, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Caitlin is a freelance editor/writer and former news producer for CNN. As a local mom of three, her family can be found enjoying all Newburyport has to offer, from strolling downtown to biking the rail trail to swimming at the beach.
History of Yankee Homecoming Newburyport

Yankee Homecoming History

The history of  Yankee Homecoming is far more than just a series of events, it is an annual celebration founded on the ideals that continue to bond our community today. The original Yankee Homecoming history was inspired by three concepts: the need to reunite Newburyport natives with family and friends who had moved away, a desire to stimulate the local economy and to give the locals something to get excited about. In 1958 Newburyport held their first Yankee Homecoming, welcoming and encouraging Newburyport natives and visitors to return to Newburyport for the week long celebration.  Although there were 29 New England towns that originally hosted Yankee Homecoming celebrations, Newburyport is said to be the only city that still continues the tradition today.

The idea for Yankee Homecoming was originated by local New England artist Jack Frost who was determined to restore appreciation for the

Yankee Homecoming Parade

beauty and heritage of New England.  Frost described his vision as “a national pilgrimage back east where it all began”. At the time, many city centers were experiencing economic hardships, with factories and mills closing and storefronts remaining empty and the federal government was stepping in with urban renewal plans.  Frost saw Yankee Homecoming as an opportunity to showcase all the potential these New England cities had. Through the years, Yankee Homecoming has continued to be a festival that showcases everything Newburyport has to offer and a way to help support the local economy.

He worked with Joe Mathers and George Cashman to gain approval from Newburyport city officials. George became the very first chairman of Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming. One of his first orders of business was selecting the date for the annual celebration of which Cashman made sure coincided with the August 4th birthday of the US Coast Guard.  This was very important because Newburyport is the birthplace of the US Coast Guard. In fact, a memorial was dedicated to the Coast Guard on August 4, 1958 during the first homecoming that has become a focal point of the festivities. Cashman continued to support the city he loved, residing in Newburyport until his passing in December of 2006. The 2007 Yankee Homecoming celebration honored its founder and his fifty years of dedication throughout the ten days.

Rich with tradition, Yankee Homecoming continues to be a thriving celebration that makes Newburyport unique, promotes our local economy and provides our families, friends and community an opportunity to come together. Each year residents and visitors alike flock to the city to enjoy the numerous events and support local businesses.  Newburyport is committed to celebrating Yankee Homecoming traditions and proud of how our annual celebration continues to strengthen each year.

The Yankee Homecoming Committee consists of many dedicated volunteers. This annual celebration is all possible due to extensive planning and volunteer efforts that start long before Yankee Homecoming festivities take place each year. Newburyport.com developed a partnership with Yankee Homecoming back in 2014 and is proud to volunteer our services each year running from event to event capturing videos and pictures and utilizing our social media platform and website to significantly expand awareness of the Yankee Homecoming tradition. View 2021 event video coverage and prior year videos on our Local Event Videos page, visit our Live Web Cams page to check live downtown happenings, find feature articles under Events Coverage and of course check the Events Calendar for the complete list of events. If you want to learn more about the history of Newburyport, Yankee Homecoming offers a range of self guided tours during the festival week, ranging from neighborhood tours of historical houses to walks through the Old South Church or Oak Hill Cemetery.  For direct access to the Events Calendar, type “Newburyport” in the App Store or Play Store and download the Newburyport App.

In addition to providing free media services, the Newburyport.com/Yankee Homecoming Partnership also helps to raise money for the Yankee Homecoming Fireworks. If you enjoy dining and shopping in our local community, you can support the Yankee Homecoming Fireworks Fund by purchasing or renewing your Newburyport VIP  Discount Card.  The VIP Program allows you to enjoy discounts at many local restaurants and shops in the Greater Newburyport community. $10 of each purchase or renewal is donated to the Yankee Homecoming Fireworks Fund.

Moving Wall Visits Plum Island Airport in Honor of Vietnam Veterans

By Caitlin Dowling, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Caitlin is a freelance editor/writer and former news producer for CNN. As a local mom of three, her family can be found enjoying all Newburyport has to offer, from strolling downtown to biking the rail trail to swimming at the beach.
Featured Video Play Icon

The Moving Wall, a half-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. will be on display at Plum Island Airport in Newbury from 6 pm Thursday, September 2nd through 6 am Tuesday, September 7th. The replica, which is 252.83 feet long and consists of 58,272 names, has been touring the country since its conception in 1984. Approximately 1,300 people are still unaccounted for prisoners of war (POW’s) and missing in action (MIA). Vietnam Veterans were not honored for their service as they returned home. The idea to create the Moving Wall was originated  by a Vietnam Veteran, John Devitt who while attending the the 1982 dedication in Washington DC, was inspired to share the positive power of “The Wall.” John Devitt, Norris Shears, Gerry Heaver and other Vietnam Veterans built the Moving Wall in order to honor and show gratitude to as many Vietnam Veterans as possible throughout the country.

The Moving Wall procession is scheduled to leave Amesbury Furniture Outlet Thursday between 5 – 5:15 pm and should arrive at Plum Island Airport by 6 pm. The Moving Wall will be escorted to the Plum Island Airport by NEMLAC (NE MA Law Enforcement Council), Patriot Riders, and Amesbury and Newbury police. Residents and tourists are invited to line the procession route and welcome its arrival at the airport. Visitors are also welcome to attend the wall’s opening ceremony on Thursday at 6 pm which will feature a wreath-laying ceremony by decorated Vietnam Veterans, a welcome home ceremony, keynote speakers, and a fly-over by the state police.

The Moving Wall will be available for viewing twenty-four hours a day until its disassembly on Tuesday, September 7th at 6 am. Up to 20,000 are expected to visit this solemn memorial that honors our heroes throughout its stay, including about two thousand area veterans that were personally invited. Volunteers will be onsite twenty-four hours a day assisting visitors as greeters, helping them look up names of the fallen, and escorting them to the correct panel on the Moving Wall. Grief counselors provided by the Lowell Vet Center will also be on hand.

The Moving Wall’s visit to the area is a project ten years in the making for the chief organizer of the event, Dennis Palazzo, who finally secured a date last November. For Palazzo, who has a close friend on the wall, it’s an emotional experience to finally have the opportunity to bring the monument to the area.

“Freedom is not free, it comes with a cost, and the cost is written on that wall,” said Palazzo.

Palazzo and the official host of the Moving Wall, Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming Board of Directors, worked tirelessly with a group of close to 100 volunteers to make this event possible. The outpouring of support from the community to aid Palazzo in bringing this memorial to the area has been huge. He has raised over $20,000 from sponsors, local restaurants and shops are donating meals and goods, the National Guard is supplying a command tent, and Newbury police and firemen are offering up their time pro bono.

“It’s an honor to bring the wall to the area. The names on the wall each represent a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice and never made it home,” said Palazzo.

The article picture are from Moving Wall visits to other cities. From the top of the article to the bottom the locations include: Lewes DE, Cleveland OH and Medway MA. 

Moving Wall Procession Route from Amesbury Furniture Outlet to Plum Island Airport:
Down Market Street to Amesbury Center, continue Up Friend St., go 3/4’s around Rotary onto Main St., continue on Main St. across Route 110, under Route 495, turn Left to stay on Main St., bear Right onto Spofford St., over the Chain Bridge (Newburyport), continue half around the Rotary – 2nd exit – onto Moseley Ave., merge Left onto High St., (Route 113) for about 3.5 miles, turning Left onto Rolfes Lane, (Newbury), turning Right onto Plum Island Airport (ETA a bit before 6:00 p.m.) – with Escort Motorcycles parking on the Airport Runway, in designated area.

Newburyport’s Kabria Baumgartner Digs into Local African American History

By Caitlin Dowling, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Caitlin is a freelance editor/writer and former news producer for CNN. As a local mom of three, her family can be found enjoying all Newburyport has to offer, from strolling downtown to biking the rail trail to swimming at the beach.
Kabria Baumgartner, African American History, Newburyport

Newburyport resident and renowned historian Dr. Kabria Baumgartner is digging into the rich and often untold history of African Americans in Essex County. Thanks to a $100,000 grant awarded by the National Parks Service and the Organization of American Historians, Dr. Baumgartner is working to uncover materials and information to help create more inclusive and interpretive sources for local sites that reflect the true racial diversity of the county.

Through public records and census records, Dr. Kabria Baumgartner can confirm there were many African American families living in Newburyport in the 19th century. However, she has found archival materials like newspapers, photographs, and other documents extremely limiting for Newburyport itself. While Dr. Baumgartner, an associate professor at the University of New Hampshire, is still actively researching and uncovering materials, there are some fascinating stories and artifacts that have already been discovered for Essex County. Folks had the chance to hear Dr. Baumgartner’s discoveries first hand, as she was the keynote speaker at the 2021 Newburyport YWCA’s annual Engaging Community Luncheon where she spoke about her findings and shared stories and answered questions.

One such story that she uncovered is that of Sara Baro, referred to as “the African princess”, who lived in Topsfield. Sara, who was born in West Africa in the late 1830s, was captured and brought to the United States as a child. The Conant family “took her in” as an indentured servant—slavery was abolished back in 1783 in Massachusetts, but we know that the labor of enslaved people continued to fuel the economy in Essex County well into the late 18th century. Sara’s life is an amazing story of survival in the face of adversity. The Conant family seems to have treated her well and Sara even received an education at Topsfield Academy. While Sara could not change her class status, she appears to have lived a satisfying life worthy of something very special Dr. Baumgartner discovered—a will. It turns out the Topsfield Historical Society holds a very valuable artifact, Sara’s jewelry box which also happens to contain her will. This shows that while she may not have had a large amount of money, Sara had made enough of a life for herself to feel the need to create this document. Dr. Kabria Baumgarner sees this as just the beginning of her search to find more documents and artifacts related to the African princess.

Another of Dr. Kabria Baumgartner’s stories she has come across is that of the Hinton’s, an African American family that resided in Andover in the late 19th century and early 20th century. This historical story is a great example of black entrepreneurship and a tale of Black family life in New England. Allen Hinton, a freed slave, moved from the south to Andover for a new beginning—where he started his family. It’s also where he started the Hinton Family Ice Cream Farm, the first ice cream selling business in New England. The business was embraced by the community, with Allen and family selling at local schools—Phillips Andover Academy and Abbott Academy for Young Ladies. Allen’s daughter Alice later took over the business and received praise from Booker T. Washington himself for her keen business sense.

Dr. Kabria Baumgartner, who resides in Newburyport with her family,  is an interdisciplinary historian of nineteenth-century African American life and culture in the United States and the author of the award-winning book, In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America. Dr. Baumgartner and her co-principal investigator in the Essex County African American history project,  Elizabeth Duclos Orsello, continue to research and find artifacts and materials to enrich our communities. Orsello, a professor at Salem State, and Baumgartner both use this grant as a teaching moment, getting their students involved in the research first hand. Photograph taken by Matthew Troisi 22 CPA, UNH EDU.

Spanish Tall Ship Nao Santa Maria Sails into Newburyport

By Caitlin Dowling, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Caitlin is a freelance editor/writer and former news producer for CNN. As a local mom of three, her family can be found enjoying all Newburyport has to offer, from strolling downtown to biking the rail trail to swimming at the beach.
Featured Video Play Icon

In the Spring of 2019, crowds gathered along coastlines from Plum Island to Salisbury to watch the 200-ton Spanish tall ship, Nao Santa Maria, sail into Newburyport. The Custom House Maritime Museum docked this replica of Christopher Columbus’  flagship the Santa Maria at the city’s Waterfront Park as part of their annual Newburyport Maritime Days celebration.

Built and launched in Spain in 2018, the 92-foot Nao Santa Maria was created by the same private foundation that built El Galeón, the Spanish tall ship that visited Newburyport in 2016. The Nao Santa Maria was built to honor the 555th anniversary of Christopher Columbus sailing to America from Spain.

Visitors flocked to Newburyport, the ship’s only stop on the East Coast, to explore and tour the Nao Santo Maria while it remained docked in town for over a week. Along with public tours, the Custom House Maritime Museum also hosted special events aboard the ship like a private breakfast and a special Little Pirates themed morning for kids. For adults, the CHMM Pirates Party featuring nationally touring Jimmy Buffett tribute band, Changes in Latitudes, dancing, and rum cocktails was a huge hit and the CHMM Black Tie Gala was an elegant evening with a 12 piece big band playing the Great American Songbook, food catered by the Poynt, and a selection of Spanish wines. The Council for Aging also had a chance to climb aboard the Spanish tall ship for coffee and donuts and a cocktail hour.

In addition to all the fun onboard the Nao Santa Maria, the Custom House Maritime Museum kept the festivities going onshore with an outdoor market showcasing local businesses at the waterfront park. The Newburyport Collection featured 18 local businesses to explore, sample, and shop.

A visit to the Custom House Maritime Museum is always a must when visiting downtown Newburyport. Whether you are a tourist or local, this museum is full of information and history about the city of Newburyport and the Merrimack Valley. From displays of famous shipwrecks to the history of the Coast Guard, there is something for everyone.

If you enjoy dining and shopping in the Greater Newburyport area, you may want to consider purchasing a Newburyport VIP Card in support of the Custom House Maritime Museum. The VIP Card provides discounts at 180 Greater Newburyport restaurants and shops and is available as a Digital VIP Card in the Newburyport App or as a Physical VIP Card. Purchase one card for $25 or two for $40 and $10 of your purchase will be donated to the Custom House Maritime Museum. Physical VIP Cards are available for purchase in the museum gift shop and both Digital and Physical VIP Cards can be purchased online. VIP Cardholders receive 10% off purchases of $25 or more in the museum gift shop and 50% off museum admission.

 

US Coast Guard

By Joe, Joe

Coast Guard Open House, Yankee Homecoming Newburyport

US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River

Protecting Our Local Waters for Over 225 Years

 Newburyport’s Maritime First Responders 

The US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River is a critical resource closely connected to Newburyport’s maritime history and a strong source of pride for locals. The US Coast Guard, originally named the Revenue Cutter Service, was officially established on August 4, 1790 to enforce tariffs and prevent smuggling with the use of ten oceangoing vessels…known as cutters. The very first revenue cutter to enter active service, the USRC Massachusetts, was built in Newburyport in 1791. In 1915, the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the US Life-Saving Service and was renamed the US Coast Guard…then and now, dedicated to enforcing US maritime laws and saving lives at sea. Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the US Coast Guard came under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security.

US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River in Newburyport is one of only 19 surf stations in the country…defined by the area having seas or swells greater than 8′ or winds exceeding 30 knots at least 36 days a year. Station Merrimack River is the only surf station in New England and one of only 4 surf stations along the entire East Coast, reminding us that the Merrimack River waters, though beautiful to be on and surrounded by, can often be unsafe and challenging to navigate.

The adverse winter and spring weather conditions often occurring in the Northeast allow the crew at Station Merrimack River to conduct trainings to stay proficient in a host of rescue skills and prepare for the busy summer season, May through Labor Day. US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River has a 29′ response boat and (2) 47′ motor lifeboats capable of responding to distress in up to 50 knots of wind, 20′ breaking surf and 30-foot seas. Along with ensuring the education and training of their surfmen and women, their primary focus is on recreational boater safety, fisheries law enforcement and conducting search and rescue.

The motto of the US Coast Guard is Semper Paratus, (Latin for ‘Always Ready’). Station Merrimack River currently has 30 strictly active-duty crew members and it is operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are considering a career change with hands-on training in which you will truly make a difference, there are many opportunities and paths to take in the US Coast Guard and they are encouraging more women to join their diverse ranks. Members of the Guard live and are guided by their core values: Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty.

US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River opens its doors to the public during Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming held each August. You can tour the boats and meet the crew who will answer questions and provide boater safety information at the annual Coast Guard Open House event. You can also see live views of the station and the Merrimack River any time from the Newburyport.com Live Web Cams hosted by the Lighthouse Preservation Society. A visit to Newburyport’s Custom House Maritime Museum is a must for history buffs; members of USCG Station Merrimack River often volunteer here.

Whether you have lived in Newburyport for years or are just visiting the area, you can be appreciative of the rich seafaring history here and grateful for the men and women of USCG Station Merrimack River and the duties they perform each and every day. Help them by being prepared before you head out onto the water…know the boating and paddle craft rules to follow and stay aware of the often-unpredictable currents. Though they are well trained and certified to handle any situation, the Coast Guard would rather provide you with the information to prevent a distress signal rather than respond to one. One of the best parts of enjoying these local waters is having fun while staying safe. Article written by Newburyport.com Correspondent, Jenny Davis.

 

US Coast Guard

Station Merrimack River
65B Water Street
NewburyportMA 01950
(978) 462-3428

Date of Conveyance: 1881
Station Built: 1882

Coordinates:

42°48′37.68″N 70°51′53.48″W

Share This Page:

Events

Bartlet Mall

Bartlet Mall

Bartlet Mall

A Scenic Park Rich in History

Bartlet Mall, a gorgeous historic park at the intersection of Pond and High Streets, is a great place for ice-skating, sledding, and enjoying nature. Its scenic views provide the setting for a wide variety of popular community events, including Yankee Homecoming Olde Fashioned Sunday, Art on Bartlet Mall, and the Newburyport Lantern Festival.

Bartlet Mall is an ideal place for taking a walk, walking the dog, having a picnic, biking or running. The Mall features a basketball court and one of the top 8 playgrounds in the Newburyport area, which means fun for people of all ages!

There are wide walkways and a series of footpaths that border the Mall and lead to the Frog Pond. It has also become a highly photographed area by many local photographers. The benches, walkways and shade trees create a beautiful setting.  And the view of Frog Pond, with its resident ducks and ornate cast iron fountain, is lovely.

Bartlet Mall dates to the 1600s when the first English settlers used the area as a place to water and graze sheep. It was also a training area for militias that would go on to fight in the Revolutionary War. The Mall was professionally landscaped in the late 1880s using plans by landscape architect, Charles Eliot. This work resulted in the beautiful paths and grassy lawns enjoyed by visitors today.

The historic Superior Court building, constructed in 1805, sits at the edge of Bartlet Mall. It is one of the oldest active courthouses in the U.S. Charles Bullfinch, who designed the Massachusetts State House in Boston, was also the architect for the Superior Court Building.  In fact, both Bartlet Mall and the Superior Courthouse are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bartlet Mall is a shimmering and beloved jewel in the heart of Newburyport’s historic district.

Bartlet Mall

High & Pond Sts.
Newburyport, MA 01950
978-465-7223

 

For upcoming events at Bartlet Mall, check the Newburyport.com Events Calendar.

Plum Island Airport Managed by Plum Island Aerodrome

By Laura Bentley, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Owner of Newburyport.Com, Laura manages Business Development, Fundraising, the VIP Program, Blogging and the Events Calendar.
Plum Island Airport, Newbury MA

Plum Island Airport Historic Contributions to Aviation

Plum Island Aerodrome

Plum Island Airport, Newburyport MA
Image by Ethan Cohen of UAV Look

Plum Island Airport History and Current Operations

Do you know about the impressive history of the Plum Island Airport in Newbury? Many advances in aviation occurred on Plum Island. The first flying field in New England was built on Plum Island. The original runway over the sand dunes and marshes was made of wood! The Burgess Company built over one hundred different types of airplanes at Plum Island Airport until the end of World War I.  The founder of the Burgess Company built planes for the Wright Brothers and is recognized for his contributions to aviation.

Nowadays, the runway is asphalt, not wood! The Plum Island Airport offers several services to the flying community including flight instruction, aircraft fueling station, parking tiedowns and more. Glider rides and scenic flights are available to the general public throughout the year. The Airport is also used for public services including emergency medical evacuations and Coast Guard rescue operations.

The airport is a nonprofit organization. Volunteers are responsible for a great deal of the work at the airport. The goal of the organization is to make sure the historic nature of the Plum Island Airport is preserved and to inform the public about the history of the airport. The airport also hosts a number of community services, such as tours for schools, youth groups, and community organizations. It is also frequently used to host local fundraising efforts. Featured here is the Newburyport Scout Troup 21 hosting a food drive in support of the Pettengill House.

There is a museum located at the Plum Island Airport. The Burgess Aviation Museum highlights the history of the Plum Island Airport and is open year-round for self-guided tours.  Visiting the Airport and the Museums is free to the public.  Check the Plum Island Airport website for more information and make sure to schedule group tours in advance!

Plum Island Airport is a great place for plane lovers to stop and watch planes take off and land. In addition to its rich history,

Liberty Law Rob Ciampitti Frying from Plum Island Airport to Nantucket for a Real Estate ClosingPlum Island Airport enables local licensed pilots to significantly decrease travel time to regional destinations such as Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod. If they are planning a vacation or have a need to schedule business travel, the Plum Island Airport can turn a 2-4 hour car/ferry trip into a 30-45 minute flight. Featured here is Rob Ciampitti, Newburyport Pilot and Partner in Liberty Law & Title flying to Nantucket for a Real Estate closing.

Many folks from the local area ride bikes to Plum Island Beach and enjoy taking a break at the airport while they treat themselves to delicious eats from Metzy’s. During the warm weather months, Metzy’s Taqueria Truck is frequently parked at the airport and folks can enjoy delicious, authentic Mexican food while catching picturesque views.

A visit to the Plum Island Airport is just one of the many fun and interesting Things to Do in the Greater Newburyport area!

Plum Island Airport

24 Plum Island Turnpike
Newbury, MA 01951

Airport Operations Tours/Working Museum: 508-269-4941

Burgess Museum: 978-270-6744

Flight Instruction: 781-325-2135

 

Directions:

From I-95 take exit 86 MA-113 W Newbury/Newburyport. Follow-113 East/ Storey Avenue continuing on to High Street/Rt 1A. Turn left at Rolfe’s Lane/ Ocean Ave. Turn right at the end of Ocean Ave on to Plum Island Turnpike. The airport will be on the right.

Metzy's Taqueria Truck at Plum Island Airport

Metzy's Food Truck at Plum Island Airport

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

Historic Farm in Newbury

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm is a historic 231-acre property in Newbury with events and activities for you and your family to enjoy. The property features exhibits and interactive activities that demonstrate what it was like to live on a farm throughout the centuries. Much of the land at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm is still under active agriculture!

Visit the expansive open land and tour the farmhouse to see what life was like in Newbury in the 1690s! The farm was originally used to raise cattle, sheep, horses, pigs and chickens. In addition, fruit, vegetables, flowers, barley and fresh meadow hay have been grown on the land. The main house was built with local stone, most likely from nearby Plum Island. There are several outbuildings including a large barn and visitor center that was originally a carriage barn.

There are many fun outdoor events at the Farm including Vintage Baseball from May to October. It’s a lot of fun to watch baseball being played with rules from 1881!

You can also visit sheep, goats, chickens and a horse on the property. The Farm partners with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to foster these friendly animals.  The Farm Friends is a program geared toward children 3 to 6 years old. The children who sign up for this program get to spend time with farm animals, listen to a story, and create a neat craft item to bring home. Programs run at various times throughout the year so be sure to check the Farm’s website for details.

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm owned and operated by Historic New England, a cultural preservation organization. The season for Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm is from June 1st to October 15th, the grounds are open year round during daylight hours. It’s a great place to enjoy a stroll, ride bikes, cross-country ski, and ride horses. There is plenty of parking at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm.

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

5 Little’s Lane
Newbury, MA 01951
978-462-2634

Directions: Take I-95 to Route 113, Newburyport. Route 113 turns into Route 1A (High Road). Follow Route 1A for 3.7 miles. Turn left onto Little’s Lane.

Market Square Historic District – View Exceptional Video

By Joe, Joe

Featured Video Play Icon

Market Square Historic District

Newburyport Urban Renewal Project

Federalist-era architecture

Newburyport’s Market Square Historic District definitely has a past.

Once a meeting place between American Indians and early explorers from England, France and Holland, Market Square was used to trade furs and fish back in the 1700’s given it’s closeness to the Merrimack River.

This all came to an end in 1811 when Market Square was destroyed by a major fire.

As part of a 20-year HUD Urban Renewal Project the brick structures were rebuilt, giving Market Square a Federalist charm that now spotlights its beautiful 19th century architecture.

Included in this Historic District is the 1823 Market House and the Custom House Maritime Museum on Water Street, as well as the buildings on State, Merrimac and Liberty Streets.

Market Square was then listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. It is now known as the largest piece of Federalist-era architecture in the U.S. full of brick row houses with shops and restaurants below.

Newburyport – A Measure of Change

YouTube | @indyjerry77

View in detail the Square’s Master Planning by Finegold Alexander Architects.

Spanish Tall Ship El Galeón Visits Newburyport – May 2016

By Laura Bentley, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Owner of Newburyport.Com, Laura manages Business Development, Fundraising, the VIP Program, Blogging and the Events Calendar.
Featured Video Play Icon

In May of 2016, the Spanish Tall Ship El Galeón sailed into Newburyport, MA, a city rich with maritime history, thanks to the efforts of the Custom House Maritime Museum. El Galeón, accompanied by the Coast Guard, sailed up through Cape Ann and into the Merrimack River offering many spectacular viewing opportunities along the way.

Visitors and locals lined Newburyport’s waterfront to welcome El Galeón and watch the ceremonious entrance. The ASpanish Tall Ship El Galeón merican Yacht Club fired a salute to welcome the tall ship, and Rosario Fernandez, Captain of El Galeón, rang the ship’s bell to return the salute, while the crew sounded their bosun whistles from up in the ship’s sails.  Onlookers that purchased their own copper and brass bosun whistle souvenirs from the Custom House gift shop, joined in the salute from shore.

After the Spanish Tall Ship El Galeón’s arrival, there were many festivities during the Maritime Days celebration including: student toursPirate Night Costume Party, Flamenco Evening, Breakfast on a Tall Ship, and the Children’s Pirate Party!  Along with special events, visitors were welcome to purchase a general tour ticket to climb aboard and explore the tall ship throughout its stay. Whether you were local to the city or visiting from elsewhere, a stop to see El Galeón was not to be missed.

If you weren’t able to stop in why this tall ship was in town, pay a visit to the Custom House Maritime Museum to learn about some local nautical history! From displays of famous shipwrecks to the history of the Coast Guard, there is something for everyone.

If you enjoy the city’s maritime history and would like to help support the Custom House efforts, consider purchasing a Newburyport VIP Card online.  The VIP Card allows you to enjoy discounts EVERY TIME you visit 180 participating Greater Newburyport restaurants and shops and $10 of your $25 card purchase will help support the Custom House Maritime Museum.

 

 

g
Skip to toolbar