Richard Burke Jones Fine Art

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View of 1850's Newburyport from the Harbor

View of 1850's Newburyport from the Harbor

View of 1850's Newburyport from the Harbor
Giclee on Paper - Limited Edition of 900

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Aerial view of Newburyport from Fruit Street to Market Street showing the Mary L. Cushing and the Dreadnought ships in the harbor. The viewer heads in over the old wharves and buildings on the waterfront when the water reached to the back of the Market House and to the foot of Green Street. It is that magical time of twilight when the buildings and streets are still visible and the street lights and store lights have been lit. The view was created by utilizing the 1850 map showing the footprints of the buildings and by referencing old photographs of the 1850's and 1860's.

Detail  It is 29 x 40 oil/canvas that is a bird's eye view from the harbor in the 1850's spanning from Fruit Street to Market Street. It shows how the fingerlike wharves and warehouses were before the filling occurred - in other words it shows the water coming up to the back of the Firehouse/Market House and up to the bottom of Green Street. there is Granger’s Wharf to the left ( east ), Ferry Wharf is straight ahead and Hales Wharf (formerly Tracy’s Wharf) to the right of the Market House. There are activities happening along the wharves - men and carts, horse drawn wagons, etc. reflecting a time when goods such as textiles, china and silks from all over the world came into Newburyport and ultimately made there way out to the towns and villages beyond.

In the foreground is the Elizabeth Cushing, a ship built in Newburyport by John Currier, Jr. up river at Merrimack Court, and most likely would have been ‘rigged out’ and loaded up here at one of these wharves. At Hales Wharf is the ‘Dreadnaught’ which was one of the most famous ships of the nineteenth century. It was built in Newburyport at the foot of Ashland Street by Currier and Townsend and commanded by Samuel Samuels; it was known alternately as the ‘Wild boat of the Atlantic’ and the ‘Flying Dutchman’.

Behind the Cushing ship and heading straight back is Market Square and State Street which, in those days, had many awnings across the sidewalks. This whole Market Square area was constructed out of brick ( ballast from the ships ) in response to the devastating fire of 1811, a fire that destroyed everything in its path from Green Street to Fair Street. These three storied buildings were built to withstand the test of time and represented a Federalist Newburyport and a determined, proud citizenry.

Across from the Market House you will see Inn Street as it was... leading up to Pleasant street. Next to the Unitarian Church with its marvelous spire there was the Bartlett Steam Mills complex destroyed by a tremendous inferno in 1881. Looking beyond the Unitarian to the left on Harris Street you will notice the neo-classical Harris Street meetinghouse ( now the location of the Greek Church). The Federal period ‘block house’ to the right - the home of Capt. Nichols - still stands at the corner of Harris and Green. Behind the Nichols house is the Immaculate Conception Church, although build in 1853, the steeple was not completed until 20 years later.

Behind the I.C. Church is Putnam Free School on the corner of High and Green Street - now the site of the I.C. Parish Center. Across the street on ‘Frog Pond’ is Bulfinch’s neoclassical-style town and Court House of 1805. You will notice to the left ( but still on the pond) is the East Schoolhouse constructed in brick also. On the other side of the Court House down near Auburn Street is the West Male Grammar School made of brick in the late-Federal period.

You can follow the many Federalist homes down Green street till you come to the Baptist Church steeple and the handsome City Hall. To the right of City Hall is Brown’s Square with the Garrison Inn and Central Congregational Church. Heading toward the water you will see the buildings along Merrimack Street which brings you back to the Market House.

I worked off the 1851 map of Newburyport which shows the footprint of the buildings but not the 3D image of the buildings - and so I worked from any photographic reference I could find - which usually meant the photographic references were 10 or more years later ( when photography was more common in the 1860s and 1870's ). I obviously had the original building to observe in many cases

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