There was a nice letter published in the Daily News written by Steven Lindsay entitled Defend Beauty, Culture and Heritage. He captured, using only a few paragraphs, an idea shared by many who live in this area. And it's a thought provoking read.
Steven was visiting Plum Island and became inspired by the idea that the effort to preserve some of the original aesthetics of the area, in this case in the form of original cottages and homes, is a way to maintain our and the area's heritage. Further, he suggests that these remaining stand as symbols of a simpler time, and serve as a way of grounding ourselves in a world that's become pretty topsy turvy.
His call is for us to continue to defend these symbols — because it's important.
We know change is a constant. Some improvements are good, and some are inevitable but there are certain things worth fighting to keep for posterity, to retain the charm so many moved to this area precisely because they are there. And why others are drawn here, which greatly helps keep local businesses, and all the people and services who are needed to run them, artists, and cottage industries afloat. Our heritage is a critical to link to preserving what makes our area so special.
In this case, Steven included The Pink House among them, speaking for the many who do too. He makes the point that he world may feel like it's turning upside down, but when you drive out and see these places you get a sense of how important a service it is when some things remain stable.
The Pink House, for example, has stood in its marvelous setting for nearly 100 years. What do you see and feel when you dive out to sit with it? Or photograph it The sky stretches out endlessly. Birds fly in formation going past. One or whole flocks may alight on that iconic rooftop. On certain days, you can hear the steady coming and going of the ocean waves, or marvel at the spectacular beauty of the marsh on either side at high tide, or when frozen over. The idyllic scene as the Colby farmers hay the salt grass on their property surrounding the house harkens back to simpler times.
As the moon and sun rise and set over The Pink House, you witness splendor running the gamut from a riot of color through to the gloaming when all the is left is that signature silhouette. And as you take it all in, you will feel a primal relief, a sense of grounding.
Preserving what matters is powerful.
By Rochelle Joseph
Sunrise on February 14th at The Pink House revealed something hanging on the chain drawn across its gravel driveway. Closer inspection revealed it was this wonderful Valentine!
Someone had taken the time to make this by hand, and brave temps below freezing to bring it as a surprise for all to see. A result, we have learned, of a program The Newburyport Preservation Trust began a program for young preservationists in 2019. We learned that this valentine was made by a third grader, likely from the Francis T. Bresnahan Elementary School in Newburyport.
Each year, The Newburyport Daily News has covered this wonderful appreciation event that teaches kids to care about history and preservation! As they grow, none of them will look at what makes New England special the same way again. Some may go on to become preservationists. It's very similar to animal conservation. Once you have close encounters and make a connection, you develop an interest and respect for the animal (or houses) and if they're not cared for properly, you'll notice, and often speak up or pitch in to protect them.
New Englanders are lucky. There are so many historic homes the region -- and others that are just very special, for all sorts of reasons. They may have interesting architecture, or their occupants may have played an interesting role in the town or the trades. They may inspire artists, or have a story behind them.
In The Pink House's case, there's the urban legend that it is a spite house. It has certainly brought global attention to the house, but our researchers did a very deep dive into all the records and photos that exist, along with many conversations with old timers or their families. By constructing the evidence based on facts, we came up with a very different scenario! The house has in fact been lived in and loved by many families. It's pretty interesting, so please visit our history page to learn what we discovered!
Whatever the reason, all the homes bring charm to a place, and make people want to visit, live, or stay here. And that is a great reason to show them some love on Valentines Day—and celebrate year round!
If you'd like to learn about the periods of houses and how to identify them based on their architectural features, you might really enjoy reading THIS page on the Newburyport Preservation Trust's website. It goes through each home's period, complete with a photo of each example of it, starting with the First Period (1625), up to the Victorian Period, which runs till 1900. It's a fascinating and fun read. You may want to print it out to use and plan to walk or drive around to spot homes and figure out what period they belong to!
FUN FACT: A house must be over 75 years old to be considered for historic recognition in MA. Built in 1925, The Pink House will be 100 years old in 2025!
Written by Rochelle Joseph