SALEM — Newburyport’s restoration of its historic powder house won a regional award at the annual meeting of the Essex National Heritage Commission last week.
The Newburyport Powder House Restoration Committee was honored with a Pioneer in Partnership Award for its perseverance and dedication to preserving one of New England’s few remaining powder houses. The powder house, located on Low Street, dates to 1822. It served for many years as Newburyport’s safe repository for gunpowder and munitions for defense.
The committee restored the exterior and plans to restore the interior and create a small historic park.
The committee was one of a handful of organizations in the county that won the annual award.
The Heritage Commission welcomed over 100 business and community leaders from around Essex County to its annual fall meeting on Nov. 8. The meeting was sponsored by the Peabody Historical Society and held at its Smith Barn at Brooksby Farm in Peabody. The business portion of the session focused on the importance of sustaining the region through youth engagement, partnership projects and regional support. Members elected new members of the commission and announced the recipients of the Essex Heritage Awards.
Each year the Essex National Heritage Commission presents its Pioneer in Partnership Awards to individuals and organizations who exemplify the commission’s spirit of collaboration. The award recognizes those who build partnerships and celebrate the historic, cultural and natural resources of Essex County. Lindsay Diehl was recognized for her role at the Wenham Museum and a moment of silence was held to honor the passing of Glen Mairo from Essex Harmony. Awards were presented to Bread & Roses Centennial Committee, Capt. Michael Rutstein of the Schooner Fame, Danvers Rail Trail Advisory Committee, Newburyport Powder House Restoration Committee and The House of Seven Gables.
U.S. Rep. John Tierney provided special congressional citations to Rutstein of the Schooner Fame, Danvers Rail Trail Advisory Committee, Newburyport Powder House Restoration Committee and The House of Seven Gables.
U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas provided a congressional citation to the Bread & Roses Centennial Committee.
A “State of the Heritage Area” report by Executive Director Annie Harris highlighted the local and national efforts to promote and encourage Heritage Areas. Harris described the national significance of this region and talked about the importance of the Essex National Heritage Area in protecting historic, natural and cultural treasures. Harris spoke about the unparalleled resources in this region — the first Puritan landing site at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester; our nation’s first museum at the Peabody Essex established by the East India Marine Society, and the oldest continuously operating boat shop — Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury.
“The real importance of the Essex National Heritage Area lies not in our being first or best in historical events — but in what remains today,” said Harris. “It is our mission to knit this region together, to help people make connections between their lives and these sites, and to engage the larger public in sustaining these places.”