Making Cathy’s Country Kitchen the ‘Fall Guy’

Fowles when first restored in 1974Newburyport Development is setting up Cathy’s Kitchen to fail.       As Dyke Hendrickson in his editorial today indicated it is quite noticeable how ND likes to treat properties they would rather not have around.   The miserable state of the stretch of Merrimac Street from Horton’s Yard to Route One.   We all have noticed the deteriorated state of the Oldies Market, and now the Fowle’s News stand sign which is left to be in such a faded condition that it sticks out like a sore thumb.     

At one time, the art deco signage was sharp when the Downtown was restored but now it is faded and as Mr. Hendrickson has so noted, “Fowle’s was permitted to lose its luster.”     Who owns the place?    Newburyport Development.     It is clear who is responsible for this deterioration.Fowles

Our wealth is in the historic preservation of this Old Newburyport Seaport City.     People are attracted by our history and the setting of the Federalist-style buildings.      But ND has lost their way and now it’s Adam Smith’s ‘silent hand’ that rules.  But now it appears that this large corporation wants to use a successful small business as its fall guy by having the community ‘angry’ at Cathy’s Country Kitchen.

With full assent from ND, she indicated in the Boston Globe article,

Moulton said she plans to preserve the historic neon Fowle’s sign over the door. The faded Art Deco façade will be redone to bear the new name, but she said she’ll preserve the marble counter inside and as much of the mid-20th-century décor as she can. She knows what it means to people.

This exterior Art Deco Sign is one of the significant post cards that are currently produced to represent our City’s history.      That’s why a preservation easement (Since left expired) was placed to preserve the exterior signage.       Gary Calderwood’s brazen removal of all historic preservation design review from the new downtown signage ordinance has cleared the way for anyone to make any changes they want.     Just as long as it satisfies the City’s sign ordinance as if our Downtown has the same status as Storey Avenue!

I remember Ferlita’s, a fabulous Northern Italian eatery, that was in the present location of Agave’s many years ago.       The food was so good that long lines could be seen at the entrance as people on Friday nights patiently waited for a table.     Then the owner got into a big fight with Shirley’s Hot Dog stand and the local community became upset and an unofficial boycott was leveled.     As the tourists disappeared at the end of the season, Ferlita’s was left abandoned and empty.        It closed shortly thereafter.

The Lagasse’s are going to stand by and setup Ms. Moulton to deface the front sign and then when people get angry, they’ll say, “Hey, she did it.”     Isn’t this the same scenario when the CVS expanded?     ND pushes out the White Hen Pantry and tells CVS to go on ahead, and guess who everyone is furious over?      The big bad corporation.       Well, fool us once but now we’re onto your modus operandi.       I’ll be sending a letter to Ms. Moulton warning her of the setup.       It will be up to her if she wants to be a fall guy or not.

She was around during Ferlita’s demise.       I will confess, “I still miss that restaurant” and from what I have heard of her establishment in Rowley, “We may soon be missing it too!”

-P. Preservationist

PS.    With no LHD imposed downtown, we will be seeing more and more of disregard for our historic architecture and our historic setting.    Is this really what our City wants?

PPS. The Daily News was fully aware of what she is planning to do (They can read too) and cleverly avoided a picture of the Art Deco signage.     Shame on them!

About P. Preservationist

Dedicated to the Enrichment & Preservation of Newburyport
This entry was posted in Art & Culture, Businesses, Demolitions, Developers, Downtown, Health and wellness, Heritage Tourism, Historic Demolitions, History, Local Historic Districts (LHD), Organizations, Preservation, Preservation History, Real Estate, Restoration. Bookmark the permalink.

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