Yes, what you are gazing at below is the lovely western-most Merrimac Street entrance to the Newburyport Historic District.
Notice the upright stone on the left – it commemorates the building of one of the world’s largest and fastest of the clipper ships in the shipyard that was located directly behind. At 1 Ashland Street is a vacant lot and on the other corner is a blacktop sidewalk up against a concrete building.
How much I would love to see the City purchase this empty lot and turn it into a park with a sign* indicating the beginning of this National Register district. I honestly don’t know if SFLS Realty LLC would be interested in selling** but it would certainly boost our heritage tourism! In fact, if it was done before the Hines Bridge was opened up, it would become a major promotion as large amounts of tourists travel in from the Amesbury side.
At the very least, brick sidewalks should replace the blacktop to signify that an area with 2,765 homes and the beginning of several shipyards have been entered into. Shipyards that produced a vast volume of ship tonnage over the entire span of the 19th century!
* I would make sure the ‘Trust or the Chamber supplemented by volunteers was in charge of its construction and maintenance. The City can’t take care of what it owns now let alone adding more burdens on our DPS!
** Assessed for about $200,000.