NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

June 18, 2014

Beauty along the river

Point Shore garden tour to support preservation of 1835 church

Almost three decades ago, Carol Finn was taking a shortcut along the Merrimack River on the way to her family home in Andover.

As she turned onto Main Street in Amesbury’s Point Shore neighborhood, she felt like “someone had just shot me in the head.”

“I had to pull over, I just started crying,” Finn said. “My daughter, who was 7 at the time, said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and I said, ‘I just came home.’”

Both her daughter and husband reminded her that they had a home. But Finn was insistent.

“We came to an open house the next week, and the Realtor said he would call if anything came on the market that we would like,” Finn said. “He called 13 years later. So here we are. We have been here 14 years.”

The Point Shore neighborhood is one that inspires loyalty like Finn’s. Geographically, it is a point of land that extends on Main Street east to west from just beyond Lowell’s Boat Shop to the Union Congregational Church. The church sits at the confluence of the Powow and Merrimack rivers, and water culture is part of the local homesteader appeal.

This stretch of land is dominated by 18th-century historic homes that once belonged to shipbuilders and to families that worshipped at the local church, built as the Union Evangelical Church in 1835. Times have changed and so has church membership, but neighborhood loyalty to the iconic structure of the church as part of the New England landscape has remained.

“That vision of being able to see the church from every angle is important because it is a piece of the history of the town, part of the heritage,” said Joe Finn, Carol’s husband. “And aesthetically, it can be seen day and night, adds value to the experience of living here and passing through the area.”

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