It’s so simple!

I constantly hear from individuals in the Planning Office about how you can’t ever know the boundaries of the National Register of Historic Places’ Newburyport Historic District.      I constantly hear from members of the Newburyport Historical Commission that you can never know if you’re home is historical or not within the NHD.       

This is born from laziness and a stubborn streak of disbelief.

I heard this from years of being around the Bible Belt.     There would be a constant stream of individuals who would obsess on salvation.     They would make statements such as, “You can never know if you are saved or not.” or even more general, “You can never know if you are in the will of God or not.”

This comes from just plain idle disbelief.     The Bible is very clear as to salvation, “He that believes in me has eternal life.”     In other words, pick up the Bible, lazy one and read!        You accept Jesus Christ as your Deliverer by believing and then you have it.      He’s already paid for your sins so the deed is in accepting what He has already done and then your sins are forgiven.     Period.      No walking on your knees up the steps of St. Peter’s Cathedral, no big deed, no lashing yourself.     It’s done.

It works the same for Historic Preservation.    The fact is, there are many who refuse to accept the Newburyport Historic District so they make preposterous statements.     Even though the definition of an historic home is quite precise, they blather on silly thoughts as if you must bring in an expert to put a stamp your house.      It is clear.       The boundaries?     They are black and white and house identification is clearly defined house-by-house.      When the National Park put their stamp on the NHD, they didn’t go by a map or a survey or a general description of boundaries, they went by the precise inventory.     I had a reader point out that the inventory didn’t mention some of the homes as outlined by the map (made up by the Planning Office not by the Department of Interior) and that the inventory added homes that are outside the map.     The map is a general draft as recognized by the PO.

Here is a sample from the inventory:

Bromfield Court

Street Address

Map & Parcel

Historic Name

Date of Construction





Former Bromfield School

Ca 1875; ca 1930

Italianate school house





Ca 1895

Sidehall Italianate





Ca 1900 (?)



B&M and Newburyport

City Rail Road








Ca 1895






Ca 1930






Ca 1895






Ca 1895

Sidehall Italianate





Ca 1895

Sidehall Italianate


B&M and Newburyport

City Rail Road






There is a code that goes with the inventory:

C stands for Historic, MC stands for a contributing structure that is historic but so radically changed architecturally that the history is blurred or uncertain and INT stands for intrusions which are non-historic homes within the District such as post 1934 construction or of uncertain origin.

Quest what?     What is on the inventory was authorized and stamped.      On the inventory, your house is included and identified based on 1984*.     

It is that simple.

That is why I am digitizing the inventory and then releasing it to all parties after it has been proofread and double and triple checked for accuracy.      It settles all.    The Planning Office needs to post it so everyone knows who is included and not.     The Preservation Trust can work on preserving the District and concentrating on it not on peripheral properties.        The Historical Commission can use it as an accurate, digital identification as to the status as established in 1984 and use it for a reference point for identifying historical properties.        Whether using it for the establishment of Landmark status or establishing the Local Historic District, it will be the key to forward progress in the City.    For myself, I plan on taking the finished document and creating a website that springboards new information on the history of the NHD. (It will be a lot of work.)

Of course, if you are stubborn with disbelief, you simply will NOT TAKE A LOOK.

-P. Preservationist

* 50 years is the bar so now a home that was built from 1964 or earlier would be now considered nominally historic.     100 years as a bar would put all properties before 1910 as solidly historical.


About P. Preservationist

Dedicated to the Enrichment & Preservation of Newburyport
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