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Friday, April 24, 2015

History Of Newburyport Public Library

The architectural history of the Newburyport Public Library building spans three centuries: the Tracey Mansion, (1771), the Simpson Annex,(1881), and the Molin Wing, (2001).

The first library was established in 1794 by a board of several citizens calling themselves the Newburyport Library Association.  This group formally established a circulation library. However, booksellers had already begun forming small circulation libraries within their stores since before this association was formed.

The idea of a free public library was a new type of institution and the idea was created by Josiah Little, Charles Jackson, and Samuel Swett in September 1854. These gentlemen began the library in Ward Room 4 of the new city hall. The collection began with over 5,000 books.  At first, the operational budget depended on the generosity of private citizens as well as with fees paid by benefactors and the city. Additionally, Little personally contributed $5,000.00.  Following Little, Jackson and Swett followed suit contributing additional money and books.

Due to the successful operationation that was created,  in November 1854, the mayor ordered the foundation of the, “Public Library of the City of Newburyport,” and the City Council approved this ordinance. As a result, the Newburyport Public Library officially began in November 1855. By 1865, the library had become so large and popular that benefactors began looking for a new location.

When the Tracey Mansion on  State Street went up for sale, it was enthusiastically purchased as the new home for the library.  The building then needed to be modified and redesigned both internally and externally. Arthur Gilman, a Newburyport native turned Boston resident, revamped the building at no charge. Gilman placed a time capsule in the cornerstone of the building stating that the building was a, “free gift to the city”. The date was April 6, 1865.

On September 4, 1865 the final deed of conveyance specified among other conditions that this building was to be used exclusively for the city library, and that it, “shall not be open for public use on the Lord’s Day."  The Board of Alderman accepted the gift by vote and the appropriate ordinance was passed.

 In 1870, the first public newspaper reading room was established by the Newburyport Public Library. Then in 1881, a new two-story addition, known as the Simpson Annex was built.  Simultaneously, renovations were made in the Victorian Style of the exterior and portions of the interior.

In 1900 , the stacks were opened allowing patrons to browse and receive books independently. The 1920's brought creation of a separate reference department and a children's room. Then in 1939, the foundation of, "The Friends of the Newburyport Public Library". This organization is still a very important benefactor of the library.  By 1985, public computers had been introduced and it became a member of theMerrimack Valley Consortium (MVLC), a network of 35 other area libraries. Through resource sharing Newburyport library card holders have access to over 3 million items today.  

 In October 1999 the library was  moved to a temporary location , the Anvil Rock Farm in the industrial park, while the library underwent construction .  This newly expanded and renovated faculty re-opened in May 2001 and is known as the Edward G. Molin Wing.  

As of  September 2010 the library had a circulation of approximately 102,000 books and served about 19,750 Newburyport residents.        



Saturday, February 28, 2015

Planning a Wedding?

The Essex Street Inn is excited to take part in the 2015 Greater Newburyport Wedding Showcase!

Monday, February 2, 2015

February Happenings in Newburyport

February Happenings in Newburyport


Saturday, February 7, 2015 


Each year we celebrate the return of the bald eagle, our special winter residents, to the greater Newburyport area. Hosted by Mass Audubon at Joppa Flats and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, the tenth annual Merrimack River Eagle Festival will be Saturday, February 7, 2015.  

For more information: Massachusetts Audubon Society

Newburyport Winter Carnival

Newburyport's free Winter Carnival  has been reschedule for this Saturday, February 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bartlet Mall. This annual event features sledding, skating, snowboarding, snowshoe demonstrations, human dogsled races (yes, humans pull the sleds), hayrides, music, food and fun for the whole family.

Kids of all ages are invited to bring their decorated sleds and join in a Sled Parade that begins at 11:30 a.m. Costumes are encouraged but not required for a parade around the pond. In addition, horse-drawn hayrides will circle the park throughout the day, the Winter Carnival Sled Race will be at 2 p.m. (register at the Information Booth), and there will be a free hot cocoa and cookie tent, Metzy's Taco truck, Orange Leaf frozen yogurt, and skating on Frog Pond.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Revving up for the Holidays New England Style

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's time to start revving up your holiday spirit and embracing those wonderful traditions that come around but once a year.
Newburyport is a quaint New England escape any time of year, but we'd have to admit, the holiday season is our favorite--there's just so much to do!

After enjoying the big game and lots of turkey on Thanksgiving, you're invited keep the celebration going at the Black Friday Holiday Reception and unveiling of this year's, artist-created wreaths at the Custom House Maritime Museum. Bid on your favorites, as the Silent Wreath Auction will continue through Saturday, December 13th at 4:00 pm! Or, head over the the Blue Ocean in Salisbury to check out the The Sea Festival of Trees that runs through the holiday season.
A tradition for more than 25 years, Santa arrives in Market Square by boat on Sunday, November 30 to light the city's Christmas Tree! And, his Workshop opens for the season (weekends) on December 6, so be sure to bring the kids for a visit and a picture.

Of course, shopping for gifts for your loved ones is central to this time of year. The first two Friday's in
December are reserved for "Invitation Nights," when the city's shopkeepers stay open late and welcome friends in to enjoy refreshments while exploring the wares. 
Of course, there are many fabulous shops in Newburyport where you can find one of a kind gifts from wooden-ship models at Piel Craftsmen to charming vintage finds at Flukes & Finds & Friends. If you're all about the holiday spirit and the decorations that go with it, you will most definitely want to check out the Partridge in a Bear Tree and Candle Shop in Market Square.  Voted Newburyport's best gift shop, time and again, the Partridge in a Bear Tree is an ever-changing delight of gifts and holiday treasures!
And, if you've ever been curious about the beautiful,  historic
homes lining Newburyport's streets, you won't want to miss this year's Holiday House Tour. This year's tour celebrates the city's 250th anniversary and maritime history by inviting guests into Newburyport's finest homes from the last four centuries--all decorated for the holidays. 
When the shopping is done and it's time to unwind and enjoy the company of friends and family, you'll want to attend the Newburyport Choral Society's holiday concert "Peace on Earth"--Saturday December 13 and Sunday December 14.
Yes, there is so much to do and see! Have fun.

To stay up to date will all that is happening in Newburyport, be sure to like the Essex Street Inn on Facebook and check in with our blog.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Experience: The Sounds of Newburyport

Firehouse Center for the Arts

The Firehouse Center for the Art is a 191-seat intimate theater on the waterfront in beautiful downtown Newburyport. A vibrant cultural center, The Firehouse offers national, regional and local live and has been a hallmark of local culture and arts, drawing patrons from the local communities as well as a large tourist crowd in the spring, summer and fall. Programming is broad-based, but great music is at the center of it all. 

Between now and the end of 2014, the Firehouse presents favorites:

Sunday, October 5, 2014
The Crossing ~ Celtic music filled with rich harmonizing vocals.

Friday, October 17, 2014
The Lonely Heartstring Band ~ A fresh take on traditional bluegrass which will engage your mind, heart and soul.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
John Gorka ~ Singer-songwriter shares his music filled with fresh lyrics, stunning baritone, and witty humor.

Sunday, October 26, 2014   
All for Opera ~ Symphony by the Sea. Selections by Rossini, Puccini, Bizet & Mozart.

Friday, October 31, 2014
Livingston Taylor

Monday, December 22, 2014
The Sweetback Sisters ~ Christmas Sing-Along with honeysweet voices backed by a rollicking roadhouse band!


Newburyport Chamber Music Festival

Founded in 2002, the Chamber Music Festival began as a week-long event held every August. Today it has grown from three musicians and three concerts to, twelve artists, thirteen events and six venues.

The Festival's first venue was the 1863 granite Neo-Gothic St. Anna’s Chapel on the campus of St. Paul’s church. With no stage, and seating in the round, the 90-seat chapel provided the degree of intimacy for which chamber music was originally intended. To accommodate larger audiences, however, the Festival has added the larger St. Paul’s Church as their principal venue, and takes advantage of an eclectic collection of spaces, both public and private, indoors and out, historic and modern, which are available in the greater Newburyport community.

Coming Up:
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Ensemble Epomeo with Anne Azéma, soprano
Music of Jay Reise, Krzysztof Penderecki, Thomas Whitman (World Premiere) and Ludwig van Beethoven

This is the fifth annual NCMF collaboration with the Custom House Maritime Museum.


Belleville Roots Music Concert Series 

The Roots Music Series at the Belleville Congregational Church, founded in December of 2010, celebrates music ranging from a cappella to zydeco and includes a diverse range of blues, bluegrass, Cajun, Celtic, country, folk, gospel, Irish, jazz and world music. The Roots Music Series also, importantly, raises funds to restore and maintain the historic 1867 Belleville Meeting House and adjacent Fiske Chapel complex at 300 High Street in Newburyport. The Roots music series helps to maintain the Meeting House and adjacent complex as a gathering place for many generations to come.

Coming Up:
October 11th, 8PM: Doug Seegers
Friday, November 14th, 8PM: New Orleans Suspects
Saturday March 14th, 2015 8PM: Girsa


Newburyport Choral Society

As one of the oldest choral groups in the United States, Newburyport Choral Societ is known for the exceptional quality of its programs. In two concert series each year, NCS presents works from the Renaissance to the 20th century including major works by Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Brahms, and Verdi as well as more contemporary composers. Concert performances are accompanied by professional orchestras and feature up and coming professional soloists.  No two concerts are alike, and they represent musical offerings that span hundreds of years, a multitude of nationalities, and a multitude of musical styles from oratorios to American spirituals.  NCS has also commissioned world premiere performances of new choral works.

Coming Up:
The Newburyport Choral Society will present their annual Winter concert “Peace on Earth” on December 13 and 14, 2014 under the baton of new Music Director, Dr. George Case.


Blue Ocean Music Hall

Opened in November 2009, and heralded as the “best live music venue on Boston’s North Shore,” Blue Ocean Music Hall at The Pavilion on Salisbury Beach is an oceanfront facility showcasing top national and regional bands, solo artists, stand up comedy and more.  Blue Ocean Music Hall presents musicians in a wide range of genres, from rock and R&B, to jazz and country.  With 100+ concerts annually, performers to date have included Peter Wolf, The Little River Band, Todd Rundgren, Blues Traveler, Paula Cole, Eddie Money, Ingrid Michaelson, Little Feat, Martin Sexton, The Wailers, Donavon Frankenreiter, Gomez, Dave Mason, Comedian Lenny Clarke, Marshall Tucker Band, and many more.

Coming Up:
Thursday, October 9, 2014: Kansas
Thursday, November 6, 2014: Todd Rundgren
Saturday, December 13, 2014: Gary Hoey’s Ho Ho Hoey Rockin' Holiday Show
Sunday, December 27, 2014: Jillian Cardarelli


As always, don't forget to make your reservations the Essex Street Inn!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Newburyport History Museum Tour

Newburyport's rich history and prosperous shipbuilding era are showcased inside this elegant federalist period mansion that has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Graceful rooms are appointed with fine collections of silver, furniture, portraits, clocks, needlework and more from New England, the Orient, and far away ports. The garden, including an herb garden, fruit trees, a summer house, cobbled yard and carriage house, has been restored based on  historic documents and a sketch done by Margaret Cushing showing the garden as she remembered it from her childhood in the 1860s and 1870s.
   Tours are given Wednesday-Sunday, May through November.

Located in the heart of downtown Newburyport, the Custom House was built in 1835 to facilitate growing overseas trade and tax collection of imported goods on the waterfront. The Museum's vaulted ceilings and cantilevered staircases are hallmarks of architect Robert Mills's work. Today, the Custom House serves as a maritime museum, preserving the regions maritime heritage and its role in American History, including Newburyport's role as the birthplace of the Coast Guard. With permanent and rotating exhibits, the museum features an outstanding collection of model clipper ships as well as shipwreck and salvage items.     
Open through December, Tuesday - Sunday. 
Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm is a beautiful 230-acre property that includes a manor house built in 1690 that served as the country seat of wealthy Newburyport merchants for most of the twentieth century.  A National Historic Landmark, this family-friendly site will transport you back in time with  activities and insights into life on a farm over the centuries. 
Open Thursday - Sunday, June 1 to October 15.

For Reservations: