FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is The Pink House Story?
- The Pink House is an iconic landmark, not just to New Englanders but to visitors far and wide. Located in Newbury, MA, bordering Newburyport on the road to Plum Island, she sits as the only structure in the grass lands stretching to the horizon under an endless sky. Highlighting the beauty of her natural setting, The Pink House intrigues and inspires all who see her.
- Acquired by the US Fish and Wildlife / Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in late 2011, the house was considered for a bunk house for visiting staff, but FWS decided against it. When the Newburyport Daily News reported it was to be demolished, public outcry began. Based on thousands of signatures and hundreds of testimonials, Support The Pink House formed on behalf of community concern. Since then, many generous volunteers have working tirelessly on the mission to keep the house standing and find a solution for the beloved house to remain in the community in perpetuity, with a Preservation Restriction.
- Begun as a grass roots community group, Support the Pink House formed in answer to a sizable community desire to keep The Pink House standing, as she has for almost 100 years. The first part of our mission, to save The Pink House from demolition, was accomplished in August 2016, followed by STPH gathered several elected officials, area experts and potential stakeholder facilitate new ownership of the house + 1 acre of upland with a Preservation Restriction.
- In 2020, Support the Pink House incorporated and became a 501 (c) (3) non profit, able to take tax-deductible donations.
- The US Fish and Wildlife owns The Pink House. In September 2011, after being marketed for public sale, the Stott family sold three individual parcels totaling 9.29 acres to them for $375,000. The Pink House sits on an acre of upland on one of those parcels.
- The Parker River Wildlife Refuge considered using the Pink House for visiting staff, but concluded they didn't want to refurbish the Pink House, so opted to built a built a structure for that use on Visitor Center grounds instead.
- The structural condition of The Pink House is sound! From the cupola's roof to the basement, there are no leaks or cracks in the foundation, and her bones are good. In Feb 2016, the first thing Support the Pink House Advisor Bill Barrett (a local HIC/CSL builder) did was check for such discrepancies. He deemed the house to be remarkably sound. Since then, this is done annually, as well as before and after every major storm. The house remains stable. Covid has delayed a walk through since February 2020, but before winter 2020, the Refuge did secure windows as requested. FWS cuts plant growth back each spring at our request so the house can breathe.
- The Pink House should not be singled out from the many neighboring houses that have been there for decades, and all the activity that surrounds them. It would be safe to say that if the house were of any threat to the Refuge and marsh, the US FWS would have addressed it. The Pink House is on the mainland, not Plum Island, and there is a difference in what building codes apply.
- No. The Pink House is not located on the Refuge itself, but is on the Plum Island Turnpike across from other homes, 3.4 from the Refuge entrance.
- No. The US FWS cannot outright sell the property. It can be exchanged for land desired by the US FWS. Whatever parcels are identified as suitable for exchange, both will need to undergo a stringent Yellow Book appraisal process and survey.
- Support The Pink House has and continues to work daily with the US Fish and Wildlife, federal, state and local elected officials and area organizations on viable options to transfer the house from federal possession to a new owner. It could become a single family home, serve a low impact educational function or perhaps to be kept as a landmark like lighthouses. What it will become will be framed by zoning, any deed restrictions, and our Preservation Restriction which will keep it pink, the same silhouette, and prevent it being torn down.
- We devoted our focus to working out a viable solution, in lieu of holding meetings, until we had news to announce. This has never been done before, so it was new territory for all, and the process has been complex and time consuming. Support the Pink House intends to see a happy resolution in 2021 in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and look forward to that day.
- Stories of The Pink House and the effort to save her has been well covered by the NY Times, the Boston Globe, North Shore magazine (cover story), WCVB-TV’s Chronicle and on the radio to name a few. Her status grows with each passing month. The house has been added to the Scenic Byway by Essex National Heritage and had a cameo in a Honda commercial. A Pink House clothing line created by the Elephants's Trunk Inc, and featured in an annual fashion show at the Newburyport Art Association. Recently, Google Maps decided to pin TPH as a landmark on their own, among other recognition.
- But it's really the people who have made her famous! STPH continues to receive testimonies reflecting what The Pink House means to the community. There has been a steady increase in visitors to see her, especially in the critical off-season months which brings economic value to the area's shops, eateries and overnight rentals. Birders enjoy the Snowy Owl, baby Eagles, Red Tailed Hawks An increasing number of photographers and painters are inspired by The Pink House and this art has begun to win awards and bring top dollar in galleries. Pink House themed items from local artisans and crafts people have been created in answer to this demand.
- The Pink House is owned by the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, and is private federal property. The house should only be enjoyed from the shoulder of the Plum Island Turnpike; there are photos of its interior on our brochure, social media and website.
- We hope you keep painting, photographing, writing about, and otherwise appreciating this beautiful icon while respecting these politics. But PLEASE DO NOT TRESPASS!