City of Newburyport History – a Timeline
Located on the south bank of the Merrimack River before it empties into the Atlantic Ocean, Greater Newburyport MA was originally inhabited by the Pawtucket Indians. Later, in the 1630’s, European immigrants settled here, founding the city of Newbury MA. The small port of Newbury quickly became a popular fishing and trading center, with the rest of Newbury turning to agricultural pursuits. By 1764, the port was so prosperous and densely settled that it broke off from Newbury to become the city of Newburyport.. Maritime trade fueled the city’s economy, sparking extraordinary building activity in the decades following.
Newburyport thrives today thanks to an inspiring history of ship builders, merchants, and industrialists. But it took a village and an historic movement to save our amazing backdrop.
Visitors who travel to Greater Newburyport with a curiosity for its history and culture are greeted with much to discover and enjoy. If you relish in studying historic documents, visiting historic sites, and seeing historic architecture, there are plenty of things to do in the Newburyport area.
Historical Places to Visit
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First Religious Society Church and Parish Hall
26 Pleasant Street, Newburyport MA 01950 978-465-0602 The church building was constructed in 1801 by the First Religious Society, which was founded in 1726. It has been suggested that noted Salem builder Samuel McIntire designed the building. This place of worship was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Newburyport Superior Court House
145 High Street, Newburyport MA 01950 In 1804 Newburyport was ranked as one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, mostly due to the thriving shipping trade. In this year the townspeople authorized the building of a new courthouse and hired American architect Charles Bulfinch to design the structure and supervise its construction.
The Bartlet Mall
High Street, Newburyport MA 01950 Located near the Newburyport Superior Court House, the ancient glacial kettle hole is a jewel in the crown of Newburyport.The Mall, also known as “Frog Pond,” was modeled after London’s Pall Mall and is a popular destination for dog walkers, families feeding the ducks, and skaters during the winter months.
Oak Hill Cemetery and Chapel
Brown Street, Newburyport MA 01950 978-465-7959 Walk through the Oak Hill Cemetery and you’ll find the gravesites of clipper shipbuilder Donald McKay; authors; past mayors; and other prominent citizens. Consecrated in 1842, Oak Hill Cemetery is one of the first rural garden cemeteries in the United States.
Powder House Park
57 Low Street, Newburyport MA 01950 978-462-3459 The c.1822 Powder House, located a safe distance from the homes of the era at Goff’s Hill off Low Street, stored gunpowder, flints, musket balls, and camp kettles used by the local militia to defend the community.