About NBPTMA.com"/>

About NBPTMA.com

History your way not their way…

Help build an online free museum of local memories, share photos and documents so others can  remember the way  it was in”The Day.”    You are the historians who will help write this chapter in Newburyport History.  Remember if you don’t help write it “They will.”   – Then your history will certainly be lost forever!

My Newburyport could actually be your Newburyport! I love the history of this city, but how many books, websites, and museums can you read, and visit all delivering the same historical information. You know the usual suspects, such as Lord Timothy Dexter, William Lloyd Garrison and that woman who choked to death on a pea, but not to be confused with Dexter’s Pickle. Stay awake with me now as we are about to enter the 20th century.

Greatness and admiration in the eyes of a voyeur of someone, something or some place is wasted if you let time take it from you. More often then not, you are just one of many admirers of that special place. However, it is possible you could be the only one, and we may not want to go there with you. Seriously now, help me pack this site with local memories from the decades of Happiness, Love, Indulgence and Greed. The typical Newburyport experience was not that of Dexter and the Cushings. It was that of the common man and woman, many of which lived in the home you are in now.

Do we share the same Newburyport? Contribute, relive and help keep alive this time in Newburyport’s history. You are already a part of it!

Shawn Gearin

My Memory Years 1967-1994


North End

Shawn Gearin

FYI the locations of referenced businesses may or may not be located CURRENTLY at the locations we talk about. If you are using this site as a “find a pizza place” you may be purchasing clothes or knocking at a private residence when you get there. However, if known we sometimes give the present location.  Shawn Gearin is a former resident and Newburyport business owner.

This sight is continuously being updated.

When the time is right the purpose of this site is to document recent Newburyport History by its town folks.   I hope to print this site or drop off the entire electronic copy database to City Hall moments before my death in hopes someone will do the right thing with the information for townies in the 22nd century and beyond to enjoy!


Small print

Statement- this site is in no way passing judgment on anyone, anything or any place. We feel a town or city is constructed of many different individuals, thus making up the populous and feel of a particular place. Negative slamming of an individual is not what this site is about and all comments will be deleted once found. Fact is, if a person, place or thing is mentioned on this site it is because you have added to Newburyport’s local history. We also believe you have a interesting life story to tell. We may even like you! Please note by commenting your comments may be used in future media sources for NBPTMA.com.  We will contact you if possible prior to any use of original comment/ post text.  Your comments are copyrighted to you as the creator.  NBPTMA.com owns the right to remove them or display them anywhere on this site. If authoring a post I agree that the history I enter is truthful & factual. Personal opinions are allowed as always.  If you wish your name to be removed from posts please contact us.  Any private comments may be addressed to this email.

Comments are opinions of the commentator and not necessarily that of NBPTMA.com.  Please address concerns to the moderator at this email.


FAIR USE for NBPTMA.com who is a non profit educational history site for the sole purpose of learning about and understanding  society during the time period of 1950- 1990.

Fair Use Statement

This site may contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of past recent history of, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. we believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

Plain English of Fair Use

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 6th, 2008 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “About NBPTMA.com

  1. Dave Ryan on December 3rd, 2010 at 5:35 am

    In response to your Adventureland post:
    I grew up in Georgetown and remember the view from Route 95. I also wonder how many people confuse their memories of Adventureland with their memories of Pleasure Island in Wakefield, MA. When I am on Pleasure Island Road today, I often think of the Indian waving to us.
    I happened on the following obituary notice for the developer of Adventureland::


    May 01, 2009
    George Spalt, 87
    Harwich Port — George Spalt, 87, of Harwich Port and Tequesta, FL, and formerly of Loudonville, N.Y., died April 21, 2009, after a battle with cancer.
    Born in Albany, N.Y., on Sept. 9, 1921, Mr. Spalt graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, attended Clarkson University and graduated from New York Maritime Academy in 1945. He served in World War II as an officer in the Merchant Marines before returning home to start a career in real estate and development.
    Mr. Spalt was known for his zest for life and charismatic personality. His youthful outlook on life helped him develop several theme parks, including Adventureland in Newburyport, Cowboy Town in Plainville and Storyland in Hyannis. He loved boats and the ocean, and spent summers with family on Cape Cod. He also served on the board of the Stone Horse Yacht Club and the Harwich Port Tennis Club, where he enjoyed many lifelong friendships.
    He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Marilyn; children Patty and Dick Hopple of New Canaan, CT, James and Kristen Spalt of Barnstable, Sarah and Richard Muller of Royal Palm Beach, FL, Peter and Kara Spalt of Harwich Port, and Jennifer and Jack Robbie of Norwell; 21 grandchildren; a great-grandchild; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by two sisters, Esther Koreman and Virginia O’Leary, and brother Charles.
    A funeral Mass was celebrated at Holy Trinity Church, West Harwich.
    Donations may be made in his name to Alzheimer’s Services of Cape Cod, 712 Main St., Hyannis, MA 02601.


    Dave Ryan

  2. pj nichypor on December 19th, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I have a great story I’d like to discuss with you. It spans nearly 50 years. My head is still spinning after a discovery about a week ago that answers some questions. And at the same time, presents new ones and begins a whole different and complex, ‘Odyssey’…
    I’m not sure this is the best way to reach you Shawn. I hope it is. This ‘Is’ Newburyport history at its best and most intriguing!
    Do please email me about this.

  3. Pete Nichypor on August 2nd, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    Turn back the clock forty five plus years. Newburyport was beginning a trend that continues to this day. Its self destructive path of transformation into a mecca for the ‘beautiful’ people. I was participating in a program at the high school referred to as ‘Work Study’. Must have been 1971 or so. My memory for dates was never good.
    Work Study gave students an opportunity to attend classes at NHS part of the day and work at a job outside of school mid day to whenever. The beauty of this was that you received ‘credits’ for working… Pretty good deal at the time. What kid in the ‘Sea Level’ neighborhoods of Newburyport, couldn’t use a part time wage to put money away for a car or college in a year or two?
    My job was at Viking Welding across the old Route 1 bridge on Ring’s Island. I was taking a “metals’ class at the High School. So the job a possible starting point for a career after graduation.
    I recall leaving school sometime after lunch. I’d have enough time to walk the mile or so distance to the then family home in the lower south end. What the ‘new’ take joy in referring to as ‘Joppa’. Franklin Street was at best, barely on the fringe of that now venerated section of town that seems to have been artificially expanded to March’s Hill. And to what would have been seen as disgraceful in days of old, along High Street to State Street and who knows how much farther???
    After a brief visit at home to change into work clothes, I would walk the old City Railroad bed from the beginning of Joppa Flats at the American Yacht Club. From there, I hugged the then deserted and avoided waterfront of the much maligned Merrimack River. It was at that time grown over with scrub weeds, ruins of the old docks, with remnants of defunct businesses and industry. I could stay on this familiar path from my youth without needing to cross a road or to stride on pavement of any kind. This ended when I came to the Summer Street approach to the old bridge.
    It was the start of an era of not on ly destructive ‘Urban Renewal’ but also of long overdo changes to infrustructure. The bridge had been posted with signs warning of ‘Restricted’ weights! “No Trucks and especially vexing, no Busses… A brief historical tidbit is in order here. Route 1 used to run North from Boston, over the Newbury marshes, and into Newburyport crossing the Boston & Maine tracks at grade level and without the as yet to be constructed ‘ Super Highway’ of the early to mid 1930s that eliminated an entire neighborhood between Summer and Winter Streets, (and More…) continued along State Street. Rte. 1 crossed High Street and brought motorists through the heart of Downtown. Picture a business district that would and does put the current ‘Hollywood Set’ that has replaced it, to shame… The Wolfe Tavern was on of the first of the old businesses to suffer along with lunch counters and a multitude of service and gas stations. Hotels that had catered to those on their way further North through the ‘Gateway to the Northeast’ along with a Diner and other ‘Tourist’ and ‘Motorist’ oriented establishments began to suffer and disappear after the opening of ‘New’ Route 1. Along with a devastating fire that consumed much along Merrimack Street from Summer Street toward Market Square, it began yet another decline in Newburyport. Thus, a downtown and waterfront that was left to rot on the vine providided me my shortcut to work.
    The Gillis Bridge was then in process of being built as a replacement for the “GreenBridge’ as it was commonly called. The new construction was taking place between the Green Bridge and the unused B&M railroad bridge. Minor ‘Deconstruction ‘ of the old bridge was underway. Non-structural parts and pieces were being removed in anticipation of closing it and opening the Gillis.
    It was late Fall as I approached the wood decked walkway on the Green Bridge. Workers were busy on both structures, finishing up before dark. After work, and in increasing darkness, I started across the same route over the river and towards Newburyport. Once accross, I nearly tripped over a pile of signs and various metal scrap that I recognised as having been flame cut from the old bridge. Out of curiosity, I began rummaging through the pile. To my surprise and amazement, the ‘Builders’ plaque that had been riveted to the first angled structural support girder, the one I had read and admired for years, was at the bottom of the heap. I guessed, probably accurately, that this entire pile that had been carelessly dumped on the pavement portion of the pedestrian walkway, was destined for a landfill along with the rest of the bridge. I lamented my pre driving and car ownership young age. Wishing to save the house window sized piece of cast bronze. I had had and still have an unquenchable interest in local history from an early age. I still have my 1967 Jackman School Fair ‘blue’ first prize ribbon that my History Project partner, Bill Tobin and I had won for our Newburyport History Presentation.
    I did what I had to do and pulled the very heavy object out of the junk pile and began dragging it home through the old boat yards. The flame cur rivet ends were still in the corner mounting holes and dug in to my hands if I wasn’t careful. Once safely across Water street and dragging up Franklin, I was now tasked with deciding where to store my treasure…
    I settled on the narrow and already cluttered space between the garage and the neighbor’s fence. It was safely tucked away and covered with pieces of old sheet metal and discarded clapboards that had been put there I was told, some time in the 1930s. Safely and secretly, it stayed for years to come. Save for my uncovering it at times to show it to friends. All of whom responded that it was ‘cool’. Years past, I moved on and eventually moved away. I had lost track of some of my old ways and interests. Mom had the garage resided and later had a new fence installed. I didn’t keep track of the changes in time or those of structure…
    Fast forward to about twenty five years ago. My son was visiting Grammy at Franklin Street. He was curious about all my play areas and my adventures. I remembered the plaque. I squeezed into the confines between fence and garage and began to dig out the relic. After a half dozen forays in search of it, I gave up, it was gone.
    I figured it was discovered when the garage was reconstructed in the 1990s. Or maybe in the 1980s when the fence was installed. There had been so much junk thrown in there over the years. I figured it got carted off to the scrappy or to anothe dumping place. Story over… Or ‘Not’ !
    It was this year, 2019 that I noticed an event that had occurred on year prior at the Custom House maritime Museum on water Street, opposite where the ‘Real’ Elbow Lane had once been, (story for another time…). The guest speaker’s topic had been about the SS Haddock. The Haddock was a retired and stricken from the U.S. Navy’s roster of active and reserve vessels, a WW2 Submarine. It was purchased by a local scrap and junk dealer who by coincidence, used the Custom House as a storage dump. I remember seeing it from all angels, bristling with metal objects of what seemed to be all shapes and sizes. The building overflowed into the fenced in back lot almost to the tracks and the river. The man who spoke of the submarine which was in turn tied up at Rangelight Marina, now the Coast Guard Station behind the Starb’d Galley, went by the name Checkoway. His father, Jake Checkoway owned bothe the scrap business and the submarine. I was intrigued by the presentation as I had been treated to a peak from my Dad’s 1949 4 door Ford, at the Haddock in about 1961. It looked and actually was, bigger than life. Well at least to a six year old. My next birthday yielded a toy sumbarine thar was propelled by winding a black plastic crank on the front, ( bow!) and then having it shoot through the tide pools at the Reservation buy rubber band power!
    On a whim, I paid a visit to the Maritime Museum in search of any and all information, documents, pictures, etc. of the Haddock. I inquired at the lobby gift shop just inside the entrance, about any information they may still have with regard to the sub. The young woman told me that she was unable to offer anything. But that the ‘Currator’ was in house in the basement offices and that she would ask him to come up to speak with me, I thanked her and followed a short distance behind her to a set of very old and very unique granite stairs that went up as well as down. I watched as she descended the stairs, thinking about what I was going to say…
    As this woman turned at the first landing half way to the basement, she turned there to traverse the second landing and what I logically assumed was the bottom floor. It was at that moment that I stood in stunned silence and amazement!!! There on the wall at that first landing was something I’d not seen in over forty years, ‘My Plaque’!!!
    I’ve no idea how long I stood there, transfixed. Next thing I noticed was a hand being extende and a voice saying , “Hello, I’m Kevin”… The Curator was introducing himself and all I could say was, “That’s my Plaque’, pointing at it. He turned to look at what I was entranced by. As the conversation was established and we adjourned to subterranean space bellow the Museum. I launched into my tale. He listened as I spared no detail about the adventure and about how trilled I was to see the plaque after so many years. It was in a way a closing chapter on what had been a mystery that though not keeping me awake nights, it was non the less, as until a few minutes before, an unfinished chapter in my life.
    Kevin was curious as to me excited new interest in the museum piece. He seemed alarmed when I suggested that it had been in my view, taken from what was private property. But more than likely had been absconded with by someone who realized its value. Either as a profit as a scrap or more than likely its historic connection to the Maritime History of the City. I was troubled when he said it was too bad I hadn’t marked it somehow. I suppose alluding to me having any likely or legal claim to it… I did suggest that I would be satisfied to have some sort of acknowledgement of my part in saving it from total loss or destruction so many years ago. Kevin seemed like he could live with the idea and suggested that he would make inquiries as to how the museum had acquired the piece…
    Thus I am relieved of having an unsolved mystery in my life finally solved. But with a new and interesting quandary . I want my story to be part of the exhibit. Perhaps a plexiglass covered few paragraphs with my name and mention of the exploits of nearly half a century ago.
    I told an old and dear friend over 50 years about the discovery and the ensuing dialog I had at the museum. To my amazement he said something that validates every aspect about my youthful escapade. “Don’t you remember, I told you to ‘MARK’ it” “And you did”… Only we two know how I did it. Not the end of the story after all. Newburyport Daily News will love this.

Leave a Reply

Upload Files

You can include images or files in your comment by selecting them below. Once you select a file, it will be uploaded and a link to it added to your comment. You can upload as many images or files as you like and they will all be added to your comment.

Log In

Thanks for visiting NBPTMA.com Re-live your history, contribute, add posts, photos and comments – circa 1950 -1990

Thanks for visiting NBPTMA.com Re-live your history, contribute, add posts, photos and comments – circa 1950 -1990

Photographers / Photos Wanted

If you want to be listed on a new page as a writer or photo contributor please email me at questions@nbptma.com We are looking for pics from about 1950 to 1995 that tells the History of NBPTMa.


SIGN UP HERE NOW! Use Facebook or Wordpress to login.


Random Memory Quotes

“Richard will be missed and remembered by all that knew him . A great boss and farmer . I learned a lot working there , and have many fond memories of the place.”
by JFrost NBPTMA.com – History Your Way Newburyport Ma Circa 1950-1990 » Waterfront Farms 1944 – 2009

Click For Next Quote




Updated Posts

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

People Places and Things




High School





Newburyport Blogs/Sites

Tagged Posts