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6 Responses to “Go to NBPTMA.com”

  1. dmeaton on October 1st, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Special interest; There used to be a bell at Towles it was quite large it hung in sort of a cement stand on the corner of Merrimac street and Pop Crowley way.

  2. p. j. nichypor on July 7th, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I recall a bell at the Towles entrance to Cashman Park. It could be rung for some time until ithe ringer was weldedin place. I think the neighbors must have complaned of the noise.

  3. p. j. nichypor on September 24th, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Anyone remember riding the train from Washington Street into Boston on the old “Budd” car? I would ride it into town on occasion back in the early 1970’s. The Newburyport “Zephyr” consisted of a single Budd built Rail Diesel Car, (RDC-3). Notice the “3” on the end of the abbreviation. It refers to the style being the 3rd type with a smaller passenger compartment due to the vehicle also having a separate “mail” compartment. The stainless steel body on these vehicles resembled a passenger rail car with a control cab on each end and a “hump” on the roof in about the middle. The “train” made one round trip into Boston in the morning and returning in the early evening, Monday through Friday. On the week-ends, you were at the Mercy of the bus lines.I wasn’t a “regular” on the RDC and always got suspicious glances from those who were, upon boarding. The fare method for me was cash, where-upon the “gruff” conductor would retrieve a pad of paper tickets and proceed to make multiple holes all over the ticket with his “punch”. This was done with great speed and finesse, tiny chunks of “punched” paper flying about in a storm of confetti. When the piece of paper had received the correctly applied holes it was exchanged for the then under two dollar one way fare. Moments before getting underway, one group of passengers had arranged their “walk-over” seats to be positioned facing each other, one of them would reach between the out-board armrest and the inside of the train, producing a cardboard square. I was intrigued to see it laid across opposing pairs of knees to form a platform onto which a deck of cards began to be rhythmically tapped and shuffled. On the return trip later in the day I noticed that in addition to the card table, “beverages” had appeared in some of the regular passengers hands and were sipped slowly by noticeably smiling lips. For the most part, the interior of the Budd car could be described as “spartan” at best. The seats were comfortable but the colors were simply plain and the materials minimal. The roof on this old car must surely have had its share of small leaks. As water was present and seen quietly sloshing inside the translucent glass of some of the interior light fixtures. One of the unique features of this conveyance was that the mail compartment was the “official” smoking section. One only needed to rise from his seat and enter that portion of the train via a steel door. Bring your coat was the advice as that section was unheated and as cold as a “meat locker” when it was winter. The most memorable thing about a ride on this train was that you were always welcome to step into the control cab where the “engineer” ran things…This particular engineer was a “burley”, talkative man named Wilbur Rogers. There was no doubt that you were in goods hands with him at the controls. As the story went, he was a real railroad man. Having apprenticed with his father as the engineer on B&M freights back in the “steam” days. On one particular and “fateful’ drag, his father collapsed at the throttle, suffering a fatal heart attack, ( I have heard this story from a dozen sources, I believe it…). Wilbur supposedly took over the controls, had his fathers lifeless body taken off at the next stop and completed the rest of the run. In those days, the world didn’t shut down in such a situation. Now he had this “casual” passenger run five days a week. And here is where the legend and reputation continue. Supposedly Wilbur kept a pick-up truck of questionable quality at North Station in Boston. Once he had brought the Budd to a stop at the platform there, he would get in his truck and drive it back to Ring’s Island to work on any one of his several boats. Giving himself plenty of time and having followed the same “ritual” thousands of times, he would drive back to North Station, take his place in the Northbound cab of the same train and “engineer” it back to Newburyport… I have spoken to many railroad personnel over the years and when ever I mention his name, a “Wilbur” story is past my way. Those stories are far to numerous to re-tell here. But one attribute about Wilbur on which all see to unanimously concur has come to be known as a “Wilbur deal”. I guess none of his “fleet” of used and supposedly repaired boats that was offered up for sale came anywhere near meeting Coast Guard safety or more importantly, “quality” standards. That aside, the trip back to Washington Street was never routine or boring. As mentioned, a ride up front with Wilbur was an accepted standard on this run. My first time up there, he stood and began folding up his portable chair. He then suggested that I watch the rails ahead of the speeding train while he put his seat away in the mail compartment. “What if somethings on the rails at one of the quickly approaching crossing’s”? I inquired that one time. ” Give em a couple blasts on the horn right here” I was instructed. He was gone for a few seconds only, but it seemed like an eternity at the time. If not up in the cab, you’d notice that even though the Newburyport station, the last stop, was miles away. Those passengers in the know, would already be gathering up there belongings and standing to put on coats and hats, some walking forward into the mail/ smoking section toward the trains exits. As we “streaked” over the deteriorating tracks north of Ipswich, it was apparent that Wilbur was not about to adhere to any speed restrictions,(about ten MPH due to the extremely poor condition of the rails through the Rowley and Newbury marshes and all the way into Newburyport…). I spoke with Tommy Small from Newburyport a couple of years ago in Exeter, NH at the Amtrak station there. He had recognised me from years gone by. We got talking about the old days on the “Zephyr”. He surprised me when he said that Wilbur was alive and well in his nineties living in Newbury. The Washington Street platforms, crossing gates and lights are gone now many years. The rails have been pulled up from there, south past the Parker Street grade crossing. All but a few Budd RDC’s have been sold or scrapped. But the legend still goes on down in Newbury…

  4. p. j. nichypor on September 24th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Every once in a while I start thinking of some of my favorite places that I grew up with. Many remained as they were recently enough for my sixteen year old son to remember. Some date back a few more years. I know I’ve mentioned them in other categories but I feel that one list will help people trying to think back . The Sportsman’s Lodge, Hicks’s Bakery, Chagro’s Package store, Silva and Son’s Luncheonette. The Hog Penny, Polish Club, Howard Cleaners, Horace’s Barber Shop, Izzy’s Market, Korny’s Market, Tony Baker’s Grocery. Kay’s Corner Cafe, Rochette’s, Saunder’s drug Store, Stickney’s. Patto’s Variety, IGA, Helen’s Market. Paul Kessler’s market. The Cobbler on Federal St. at Atwood. The Tannery, SiNiChro, Billy Schwarts Grocery, Link’s Lock Shop. Zoto’s Beauty Salon, Muriel’s Hair Salon, The D.A.V.. Atkinson’s oil tanks, Rangelight Marina, Goodwin’s Fish Market, THurlow’s Clamshack, Haverhill Gas co. tanks at Flatiron Point. Newbury Shoe, E.P.I. Grave’s Ski, Snell Acoustics. Esbenson’s Bakery, Fred Hawks Upholstery. The Log Cabin, Graff Bros. Port Laundry, Knight’s Grain, McGlew Welding. Checkoway’s Salvage. Morril’s Paint , The Daily News, Fitzgerald Pontiac. Eastman’s Hobby, Ray’s Taylor shop. Those are the bulk of the ones I remember just in the South end. More recent businesses to leave have been Leighton’s Bakery, Premier Market, Bergson’s, The General Store, Friendly’s, Taffy’s, ( happy to see someone came to their senses and at least brought the name back…). The old Public Library configuration, Shirley’s Hot Dog Cart, The Sports memorabilia shop next to Fowle’s, The old Fowle’s floor plan… The French church, The church on Brown Square. White House Seafood restaurant on the Salisbury causeway. Pirate’s Fun Park, the Frolics. G&G on route 1. The pirate ship at Perkin’s playground, etc… Things and places have begun to vanish not just in Newburyport, but all around… The places and businesses we had up until recently enjoyed and took for granted are closing up for good, ( or for bad…). My son still misses “gummy worms’ and bags of chips from Stickney’s. We hardly missed a Friday night out at Whitehouse Seafoods. We will someday soon be inundated with Franchises and too few choices…

  5. J. Frost on September 26th, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Whitehouse Seafoods ? Was that the “Riverview” once upon a time also ? ( though you couldn’t see the river from there )

  6. p. j. nichypor on September 29th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    It was indeed the “Riverview” . As the “Whhitehouse Seafood ” restaurant, I took my son there for dinner every Friday night for about a year or so. We ate there the night it burned to the ground a few hours after we had left. Each time we would drive by the ruins, he would tell me he wished they would re-build it because he’d enjoyed it so much…

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