There is this continuing myth that only homes that are part of the historic survey as posted on the City of Newburyport website are considered historic.
This is blatantly wrong.
When the National Register was compiled in 1984, every house that was in existence in the Newburyport Historic District was added to the list. I have the Register – I keep it on my desk because it labels each house with a code: "C" stands for a house that definitely contributes to the district and its date of origin can be confirmed, "MC" means minor contributing and refers to all those historic homes that were labeled arbitrarily 1850 (Newburyport became a city) and the origin date is in doubt but still definitely historic and "Int" which means a home built after 1930. "Historic" is a sliding scale so many of the "intrusions" are now "historic" because they are now beyond 50 years old.
But if you are unsure, head down to the Newburyport Library Archives* and check how your home is coded. There is no known electronic copy to make it easy. In fact, I didn’t realize how important this book was until I heard this "myth" – it doesn’t have much in history but it does have an accurate snapshot of the city in the early 80’s.
Unfortunately, myths tend to have legs and I have heard this misconception at the Planning Office, the Historical Commission and even by some members of the Local Historic District Study Committee.
People, get your facts straight!
The book is called, Newburyport Historic District – District Data Sheets. Official listings begin at August 2nd, 1984. It will be found just left of the "historic survey" books and notebooks.
* Oh, and if you are a dark sider, don’t bother stealing the book. There are many copies and it is officially filed at Mass Historic.