Before Route One and the Railroad, Strong Street was actually one of the more prominent streets in the City. At 9 Strong, Joseph Atkins was a successful merchant and established the wharf (on which Michael’s Harborside is on today) at the foot of Market Street. Instead of today’s restaurant, a distillery and warehouses would have been seen.
At 12-14 Strong Street, we have the home of Joseph Wilson, the man who carved the famous figures for Lord Timothy Dexter. The last intact one in existence is located at the Cushing House Museum and which is actually on permanent loan from the Smithsonian! How fitting that it is Napolean Bonaparte that we see today. Concerning how short the Little Emperor was, the statue is definitely life size!
At 28 Strong we have Dr. John Atkinson’s house. This prominent man created a health insurance system for the City and of course, many streets are named after him.
Today, with the Railroad gone and this whole Caldwell’s Area going upscale, and now the Clipper City Rail Trail; you would think this is the time to showcase our priceless historic homes on this avenue. The home’s value is now going to increase due to its close proximity to the rail trail!
Not so – apparently someone isn’t understanding how priceless this building is, built when the Atkins’ wharf was just a few years old and the City was becoming wealthy through commerce. This same building marched through our long years and now we have someone who wants to tear down what makes Newburyport so priceless.
I encourage everyone to show up tonight at the Historical Commission meeting at 7:00, City Council Chambers and find out what possibly could be the incredible justification to tear down our history.*
* Assuming the assessor’s records are current, it apparently seems this is being handled by someone out of town! Figures.