The Beautiful People

So when does the invasion, or the perception of, the beautiful people actually happen? My personal educated guess would be around 1990, give or take a year or two.  This was about the time when the old homes on Liberty and Middle St were all getting renovated, and the craze was renovate the old and flip it for a profit.


Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s the term beautiful people really didn’t resonate through the town.  We knew that certain parts of town had newer homes and that made us believe that the families living in them were better off.  High St is not included in this topic as the homes on this main thoroughfare are in a different class.  We just knew they seemed to have money, but they weren’t beautiful.  For the rest of us who didn’t live on Rawson Ave, Turkey Hill, and Phillips Dr, well we just lived in old houses.  Our homes were built around the many factories in town, many within walking distance to one.

Before I Get Carried Away

Definition of Beautiful People – Elitist and or Artsy and or $$  individuals who were better off financially, who decided to claim Newburyport as their Kingdom, and turn it into a vision of white collar workers being able to showcase their homes and gardens to whoever drove by.   They would forsake all others who had lived there for years with family businesses,  driving them out of the neighborhood if the business did not meet the new rezoning requirements for the condo units going in across the street.  They would vote in their own, and take a once financially diversified city and turn it into a landscapers and boat owners paradise.

They Call It Progress

The so called eye sores were pointed out, demolished, and new half million dollar homes and condos arose from the dust making a few rich.  The remaining people who bought their homes off their parents  became poor due to the huge increase in property taxes they never had to pay before.  Their house was still a $120,000 home, but they began paying taxes on inflated worth.   It became more of an investment than a home.  This was not only happening in Newburyport, but in most every town across Essex County and most of the region.  Amesbury, second in line with Seabrook to get torched for having the most abandoned garden style (aka chicken coop) apartments all of a sudden showcased $400,000 riverfront town houses.

John Kerry’s People…

Newburyport is still a great place to live.  Unfortunately, most of the people who grew up there could not afford to buy a home after college.   People from other communities targeted Newburyport as the Beacon Hill of the North (I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the point), but slightly less expensive.  Homes in the 1980’s that you wouldn’t pay $120,000 for; in the 90’s got a fresh coat of paint, crown moulding,  stainless steal appliances and a new realitor that calculated the value of the home to be $300,000+ for a 1700 square ft home.  A lot of work was done on these old homes as new homes popped up everywhere.    The trend of home buying was moving to the North Shore.

Big Brushes Rule…

Obviously I poke fun at the recent real estate history of Newburyport and always enjoy painting with a broad brush.  Shame on me.  However, this was the opinion of a great majority of the last remaining natives  of this city.

Opinions We All Have One…

I love where I live now…A place I can plant a tree without someone complaining it’s not a tree pre-approved by the select few.  The present condition of Newburyport is why I had to make this site.  I enjoy seeing people with no elbow room to breath, paying huge taxes and mortgages on homes with stone foundations, (I.E 1860 <> built) and unknown to them rotting sills.  Just kidding…maybe…

Final Suggestion…

When people ask me where I am from I always include my hometown of Newburyport.  They seem to perk up and say, “REALLY.”  Then they’ll say that’s a nice place we’d like to visit someday. I’ll just say if you want a pic just buy one on Ebay, because you’ll never find a place to park to take one. Of course they don’t get the joke, because they chose to visit Portsmouth instead of Newburyport on their last trip to the area.

“Excuse me sir, where is the parking garage located?” …Portsmouth Ma’am.

Long Live Newburyport!

“A place I”d move back to if I did enjoy eating out so much and saving for retirement!



5 Responses to The Beautiful People

  1. I’d have to agree with the time frame here …if not slightly before ! I enjoying visiting my old hometown …but truly enjoy where I am now without the fishbowl effect of sitting in the yard . I can sit in my “front yard” now and enjoy a cold IPA without someone calling the police for me “publicly drinking”…
    I didn’t mind sitting in the backyard them …when I actually knew my neighbors from the time I was a little kid …then they one by one dissapeared as the “beautiful people” ( I think this is a Howie Carr phrase ) arrived and bought out their lifelong homes .
    I was happy to leave and to thumb my nose at an offer for the family house ( which still stands ) by a developer that wanted to demolish it and put up some 400k + McMansion …
    It’s nice to be one of the “few” that can say they lived there for 25+ years and not just there for the quick “flip” to make a buck at someone elses expense !

    J. Frost August 21, 2010 at 10:37 am Reply
  2. Sorry, I can’t resist… Found myself in the “Yankee City” on a mid August night on some business. During some off time, I took a walk, ( I hate the word “Stroll” …) through downtown. If you have a desire to see what a modern day “Boomtown” is like, complete with Saloons and the accompanying “Habitues”, look no further. The majority in Newburyport’s “C.B.D.” on a Friday or Saturday evening are the “Over-Served”. Many of these also seem to be the “Over-Dressed”. At least for the evening’s mission of getting “Rat-Assed” at one or several of the over-priced bars, restaurants, clubs, or whatever one calls those places these days. The job is the same. Be seen and heard. It’s the same down on the waterfront too. Not a “Working” boat in sight. Plenty of “Fur” boats though, with the same over dressed entertainers and guests. It is an exclusive and restrictive crowd down there these days. If your floating status symbol doesn’t meet the minimum requirements in size and cost, you better cast off and drift off toward the flats, you simply don’t belong…”Fine” wines and cheeses have replaced the more common and practical light refreshments of the now vanished and “Banished”. You’re not likely to hear, “Pass me another Bud” and a “Pickled Egg” any time soon now that the river has become saturated with such “Beautiful” people. I was relieved to see the Port City in the rear view mirror as I ventured North toward home and a less pretentious and far more “Grounded” life-style. “Beautiful People”, as far as I know, have no business outside of places like Newburyport. They just tend to look and sound ridiculous…

    p. j. nichypor September 5, 2010 at 2:04 pm Reply
  3. After reading all of the above, so glad I left for good on a snowy January day in 1991 – seems like I made the right choice.

    Rollie September 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm Reply
  4. I raised in Newburyport, and at the age of 51, I am still here in the house I grew up in. We still have a few of the older families I grew up with on my street, but it is mostly new neighbors (I can’t complain as they are very nice people as well). I miss the old Newburyport where you would wander around downtown and know practically everyone…..we were a city, but it always had the small home town feel and I miss that. What is sad is that my husband is from Haverhill, but he knows more people in Newburyport than I do as he is a school custodian….almost everyone I have known has moved away. Even though Newburyport is no longer what it was and some changes I don’t like, I will forever be drawn to Newburyport and I still have a few places I can go that bring up old memories. Living here is very different than it was years ago, and even though I wish things were the same as they were years ago, I can’t bring myself to leave (although I often feel that I should)….living here is like that warm comfortable blanket you can’t give up, even though its tattered and torn. For now, I am still here…..if I decide to move away as I get older, Newburyport will always be in my blood!

    Maria Hayes Gilfus February 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm Reply
  5. As a loong time native with lots of my family’s generations before me, all Newburyporters, I am saddened to see the way the city’s turned into an angry place where “the beautiful people” think they’re smarter and better than the natives, and “know better” than we do. They claim we only live here because we couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. Not so. I was educated in Boston and live in Nbpt because I WANT to. No all are this way, but there are so many that do that it’s causing problems. They want to decide what color you can paint your house, what trees you can plant in your yard, etc. They come here, and then do everything they can to change it. Very sad and we natives can’t let them change what makes Nbpt, Nbpt. Growing up, did you remember seeing a sign posted in Market Square that reads, “NO PLACE FOR HATE”. Huh?? Never ! I wasn’t thinking of hate until I saw that sign. It’s nuts. Great way to greet the tourists. Thanks, “Beautiful People”.

    krm May 23, 2013 at 11:25 pm Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Hand Tubs / Firemen Musters/

Built: 1878 Manufacture: Button Cylinders: 10 Reg #: 650 Fire Department: Newburyport, Ma Class: A Neptune 8 – is owned by the Neptune Veteran Firemen’s Association of  Newburyport Ma. ————————————————————————————————————- Ould Newbury Protection #1 -This pump’s hometown is Newbury, Ma. Built: 1865 Manufacture: J Cylinders: 10 Reg #: ?? Fire Department: Newbury, Ma Class: A […]

Social Media