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Saturday, March 29, 2014

                                          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). Several citizens calling themselves the Newburyport Library Association,  established a circulation library in 1794. However, the idea of a free public library 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 also made in the Victorian Style to 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 the Merrimack 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.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Newburyport ~ A Seaport for all Seasons

Plum Island Lighthouse
Once a thriving shipbuilding and trading center, Newburyport's maritime history reaches back farther than the city's 250 years.
Shipyards built brigs, frigates, fishing schooners, sloops, and full rigged ships for both the American and European markets.  And, during the Revolutionary war and  War of 1812, Shipwrights built privateers used to capture British supply vessels and merchant ships. 
After the Revolutionary war, shipbuilding declined and nearly one-half of the shipyards were idle by 1786.  Newburyport, in turn, depended heavily on the fishing industry and world-wide Maritime trade that also included China.  The first Revenue Cutter was commissioned in 1790 by the Federal Government.
The first Clipper Ship, the city's iconic symbol, was built and launched in 1844 by Naval Architect, Donald McKay. These sleek and swift sailing ships were designed for speed and built for International Commerce and the expanding American economy.
Newburyport Harbor Light on Plum Island is one of America’s oldest. Established in 1788 (and rebuilt in 1898), this beacon guided ships into the Merrimack River and to Newburyport’s shipyards.  In 1873, two Range Lights were built by the Federal Government in the same position as private Lights had been used to guide shipping from the mouth of the Merrimack River into Newburyport Harbor.  The range lights also helped vessels avoid dangerous underwater rocks. As is typical of range lights, Newburyport has of a pair of towers, a low, wider tower in the front and a much higher tower located a distance away.
The Range Lights were first lit on June 1, 1873.  The front Range Light “was a 14.5-feet high conical iron Tower located on Bayley's new wharf and exhibited a fixed red light 25-feet above sea level.”  The rear Range Light “was a 32-feet high pyramidal-base brick tower located 350-feet behind the front Range Light and exhibiting a fixed green light 47-feet above sea level.”
Front Range Light

In 1950s, the iron lantern room of the Front Range Light was replaced by a 20-foot shingled wooden lantern.  Later, the Tower was damaged by fire and the Tower was renovated with a traditional iron lantern room in 1990.
Rear Range Light
In 1961, both Range Lights were deactivated and the Front Range Light was relocated to the grounds of a Coast Guard Station in 1964.  The Rear Range Light was sold to a a private party and the attached Keeper’s house is a private business.
Newburyport continues to be one of the few seaports in Massachusetts with beautifully preserved and diverse early American architecture that captures the maritime heritage of the Bay state. 
For those interested in the areas maritime history, The Custom House, where vessels from Europe and the West Indies registered their cargoes, is a wonderful Maritime Museum that exhibits the history of maritime Massachusetts and is not to be missed on your trip to Newburyport. Additionally, Lowell’s Boat Shop across the river in Amesbury, is a national historic landmark and working museum. Established in 1783 and the oldest continuously operating boat shop in America, Lowell’s Boat Shop is the birthplace of the fishing dory and worth the short trip across the Chain Bridge to check on during your visit to Newburyport.
Information compiled in this piece was provided by: The National Parks ServiceThe Lighthouse Preservation Society, and the Custom House Maritime Museum.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Celebrate Newburyport!

Newburyport to Gettysburg + 150 Years!

at the Newburyport Public Library

February 9 at 2pm

Newburyport's connection to the Civil War runs deep. Arguably our most notable citizen, William Lloyd Garrison was a leading abolitionist who significantly influenced the political and social course of our nation in the years leading up to the war.

So, it's fitting that the Newburyport Public Library kicks off its series of talks celebrating the 250th anniversary of Newburyport on with a lecture by Bill and Liz Hallett on Newburyport's connection to the famous Civil War battle at Gerrysburg in July 1863.

This lecture will focus on some participants from Newburyport and their experiences at Gettysburg and feature a display of clothing worn by people of the time.

William Hallett is the author of “Newburyport and the Civil War.” Elizabeth Hallett operates a sewing business for period clothing,  The Halletts also periodically host walking tours: Footsteps of Heroes: Civil War Walking Tour of Newburyport.

The Newburyport Public Library is located at 94 State St., Newburyport, MA

And, to learn more about William Lloyd Garrison, be sure to see The Liberator, a staged reading portraying the life of the famous abolitionist, at the Firehouse Center for the Arts on Thursday, February 27.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Merrimack River Eagle Festival ~ February 8, 2014

The Merrimack River Eagle Festival 

February 8, 2014 

Now in it ninth year, the annual Merrimack River Eagle Festival celebrates the pristine and restored habitat for the Bald Eagle. In 2005 the first pair of Bald Eagles returned to the lower Merrimack River Valley and built their nest known in the lower Merrimack River Valley; now there are four known nesting pairs in the region. The past few weeks has offered prime viewing of the eagles. Bill Gette, sanctuary director at the Joppa Flats Education Center, reported to The Newburyport Daily News that both adult and immature birds have been spotted all along the lower Merrimack River in the past two weeks. The mature males and females are unmistakable with their white heads and tails, while the young ones are primarily brown.

Gette reports that, “The Merrimack River in winter really sucks in eagles. I would predict that this is a big year for them on the Merrimack, and the reason for that is the polar vortex. You get all that really cold weather, and it freezes everything up north.”

The Festival is presented by Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and includes a full day of great activities, including:

Visit Eagle Hotspots    9:00 am–4:00 pm

Go on an Eagle Tour    9:00 am–2:00 pm

See a Raptor Show    10:00 am–11:00 am or 1:30 pm–2:30 pm

Pose for a Photo with a Raptor  11:15 am–11:45 am or 12:30 pm–1:00 pm


On February 8th, Eagle Festival information will be available at all festival headquarter sites from 8:30–4pm.
  • Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center: 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport 978-462-9998
  • Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters: 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport 978-465-5753
  • The Newburyport Chamber of Commerce: 38R Merrimac Street, Newburyport 978-462-6680
  • Newburyport City Hall: 60 Pleasant Street, Newburyport
  • Lowell’s Boat Shop: 459 Main Street, Amesbury 978-834-0050

Additional details about the Eagle Festival can be found on the Mass Audubon website.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dragonfly Photography Mini Boudoir Sessions 

Just In Time For Valentine's Day!  


When: Sunday, January 12th 

Time: Choose your time by appointment between 10AM - 8PM 

Where: The Essex Street Inn in Newburyport 

Call Rachel Kloss to make an appointment or for more information: 
  (978) 857-2088 or e-mail;

      Packages & Prices *Sweet: Includes hair & make-up, with one look, $199
Sassy: Includes hair & make-up, with two looks, $279
Sexy: Includes hair & make-up, with three looks, $359
Small-bites and champagne included

Shooting location:  Bridal Suite at the Essex Street Inn in Newburyport, MA

* Current guests of the Essex Street Inn will receive 10% off their package price.

The perfect gift: We have some awesome additional products for guys and girls that would make the perfect gift for any occasion!

·         The Cigar box: We have an array of unique cigar boxes that discretely and cleverly hold your photos. Dragonfly Photography will work with you on just the right package to make this exactly how you want! Price range is $50 - $200

·         The Book: A 20 page album with a red, brown or black leather cover. Price is $399 (2 or 3 looks recommended for this gift)

·         A Magazine:  Every man loves a good magazine, so why not create one exclusive for his eyes only! We feature your love story (written by you) on the pages making this the perfect combination of sexy and romantic! Price is $199 includes 2 copies.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Newburyport Farmers Market Winter Schedule

The Winter Farmers' Market starts Dec 8th from 9am -1pm

The Newburyport Farmers' Market mission is to support our local farmers, fishermen, chefs and creative community through hosting the weekly market and creating compelling events that educate, inspire and delight our community.