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 US Fish and Wildlife / Parker River Wildlife Refuge late in 2011 to use as a bunk house for visiting staff, but they decided to abandon the idea. In 2014, when the Newburyport Daily News reported they were to demolish it, public outcry began. Based on thousands of signatures and hundreds of testimonials, Support The Pink House, a grass roots community group was borne of that concern. Since then, many generous volunteers have working tirelessly on the mission to stay her demolition and find a solution for the iconic 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. Our mission was first to save The Pink House from demolition. Upon succeeding in August 2016, STPH gathered several elected officials, area experts and potential stakeholder to seek ways to free the house and her acre+ of upland and facilitate new ownership, with a Preservation Restriction. Support the Pink House incorporated and filed for tax exempt 501 (c) (3) status from the IRS, so we are able to accept tax-deductible donations.
- The US Fish and Wildlife owns The Pink House. In 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 only one of those parcels, totaling 2.9 acres.
- When the Refuge bought TPH, they had thought to use it as a bunk for visiting rangers. But the decided to build a structure on the Visitor Center grounds instead, and therefore do not want to maintain the structure.
- The Pink House is NOT in terrible shape! The Pink House roof has no leaks, there are no cracks in the foundation, and her bones are solid. The first thing STPH did was arrange a walk-through with the PRNWR manager and Bill Barrett, and a trusted, HIC/CSL local builder who deemed the house to be remarkably sound. Since then, the walk through is repeated yearly, and often more. Bill Barrett has checked before and after every major storm since, and confirms that The Pink House remains structurally stable.
- STPH requested plant growth be cut back to allow it to breath, and that her windows be properly sealed from weather. Any windows seen from the street were covered in plexiglass to preserve the look of the house -they are not broken! Inside, she's swept of cursory debris. Her full sized basement, while naturally damp, does not flood, even when all of the PI Turnpike may be covered in water during Nor'Easters. It will be great to see her with a new roof, fresh paint, etc... but let it be known that the Pink House is far from ramshackle.
- The Pink House is on the mainland, not Plum Island, and there is a difference in what applies to mainland homes vs those on the island. Further differences would apply if the house was to have a public use vs. returning to an individual occupancy home vs. becoming historically registered, and we have thoroughly left no stone unturned in exploring them all.
- 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. As to the location in relation to wetlands, the marsh, and the nearby waterways, like the Parker and Merrimac Rivers, it would be safe to say that if the house were of any threat to the Refuge and marsh, the US FWS, who own the house and the Refuge, would have addressed it years ago. Land abutting the house and all around it is hayed with heavy machinery. People boat, SUP, kayak and Jet Ski in the waters along the marsh, as well as fish and run their dogs. Snow plows, road salt, oils, and gasoline as well as trash rom the PI Pike all could affect the environment.
- We live in a part of the country with historic buildings. A great deal of them were built at a time where different materials were used than now. Countless homes and cottages from that time period all up and down the seacoast --and inland -- have been lived in, repaired, and updated safely. In fact, our experts assure us that keeping the house causes less stress to the environment than if it were torn down, and there is much research to support that.
- The Pink House is not located on the Refuge itself, but is on a main, heavily trafficked road, 3.4 from it's entrance! The parcel falls under the purview of the Parker River Wildlife Refuge, but nothing protected is nesting there. It's small parcel is abutted by large parcels privately owned by a local farmer, and further, belonging by organizations and agencies, that are hayed.
- No. First question we asked! The US FWS cannot outright sell the property. There are options though, among them to swap the land... but not for just any land. Whatever parcels are identified suitable for trade may need to undergo a survey and appraisal process.
- STPH Inc has and continues to work daily with USFWS/PRWR, federal, state and local elected officials and area organizations on viable options to transfer the house from federal possession to a new owner -- whether a private citizen to resume her former identity as a single family home, a non-profit, a consortium of stewards who may keep her as a landmark similar to the Motif #1 in Rockport or the Nubble Lighthouse in York, ME, an educational, artistic or research institution. Whomever becomes the owner must restore her within the edicts of The Pink House's Preservation Restriction.
- The process has been extraordinarily complex and time consuming. Red tape and moving parts working with several stakeholders have made this take longer than anyone expected. STPH decided to devote everything to it, in lieu of holding meetings, events for operating costs and awareness. Support the Pink House Inc intends to see a happy resolution in 2020. We look forward to resurfacing!
- 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. She has been added to the Scenic Byway by Essex National Heritage, made a stand out cameo on a Honda commercial, a Pink House clothing line was created by the Elephants's Trunk Inc, which is featured each year 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. We've seen an increase in Pink House themed items from local artisans and crafts people in answer to the demand.
- Your enthusiasm is great! However - please remember that The Pink House is owned by Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, and on private federal property. The house can be enjoyed from the shoulder of the Plum Island Turnpike only. It's imperative to respect the Refuge and its policies during this process. We hope you keep painting, photographing, writing about, and otherwise appreciating this beautiful icon from the shoulder of the road -- but PLEASE DO NOT TRESPASS!