Dark days for Newburyport

April 27, 2008

desration of the ridge

Well, it finally happened. The wooded area behind High Street and adjacent to the Oak Hill Cemetery has been leveled. Construction began last week, as the above photo from the Daily News clearly illustrates. If you read the article that went along with the photo you would know that the 4 homes destined to be constructed on the sight are going to sell for $1 million dollars or so. So not only has the physical character of the city been destroyed, so will the personal character, as more yuppies flock to a promise of a brand new Mcmansion in our town. My biggest problem with the situation is that the owner of the land , Todd Freemont-Smith, said he wanted to develop the land so that he could build a new home for he and his family, since they aren’t happy with their historical home on High Street. I think the public would have been able to swallow Smith build a new home for himself on the Ridge, but the fact that he’s building 4 means his desire for a new home of his own is a bit disingenuous at best. The real kicker is that while he and his family may live there for decades, they will more than likely, as many who move to Newburyport these days, live there a couple years until they move on to their next business or financial opportunity , leaving us with their legacy, and leaving perhaps the city’s greatest resident, William Wheelwright, spinning in his grave. But at least he’ll have a nice view of those new homes…



  1. Two thoughts. 1) The Old Ladies’ home charity that sold the land really got taken. I wonder who advised them to sell so cheap? 2) Newburyport is a city. Cities have wall-to-wall buildings. If you want woods & grass, I suggest one of the Newburys. (That ought to start a fight. :-))

  2. Dick, we were a city that had woods and grass, which is why it attracted people to it. To see such a unique situation destroyed is what most natives have a problem with.

  3. Mr. X, I’m no native to Newburyport but I agree with both of you.

    I agree with Dick’s comment that cities and urban renewal, urban development, residential subdevelopment construction, call it what you will, are linked; you won’t find a city without construction or development, including devastation of wilderness.

    But I also agree with you, Mr. X, that trees are important not just for pastoral pleasures and conservationism but also because deforestation causes climate change and we all know the result of that.

    I’m not sure what the happy medium is.

  4. spoken like a true newcomer. the reason people don’t like the development is because it destroys the character and beauty of the city, all in the name of greed, the last 15 years are proof of that. Climate change is the last thing anyone is worried about when it comes to Newburyport.

  5. “Climate change is the last thing anyone is worried about when it comes to Newburyport.”

    Really? Talk to me when PI is under water.

    It’s not a bad development, as far as developments go. I regret more the condos going in by Cashman Park and the buildup on PI. All that is much more visible.

  6. Plum Island has been under water before, and will be again. It is a barrier island, and building permanent homes there was foolish to begin with, but now is more so. I don’t want to get into a debate about global warming, but it is a natural process, history shows dramatic climate changes that were never the result of mankind.

  7. Point taken!

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