, Newburyport, MA


January 18, 2013

Prospect of Amesbury History Park offers lots to cheer about


Newburyport faced that more than a half-century ago. Amesbury’s are a work in progress.

The photo of the artist’s colored rendering and the detailed news account led me to my walk about the area for a view of outcomes.

There are bound to be hurdles because there always are. But when completed, there will be a lot of people saying “Wow” as I did.

I suspect there may be some who will be saying, “If it’s completed,” because there are always uncertainties, and these are indeed uncertain times.

Newburyport, however, had them, and not all of what was intended for the use of its waterfront was realized.

What is foreseen for the Amesbury site will be a beautiful riverside park uncovering what led to the making of the town’s core — an appreciation for and the harnessing of nature’s power for the common good of a time now long past.

As for that I found a treasure trove, courtesy of Amesbury’s Royal Feltner, whose website,, is a treasure trove of information relating to the breadth and depth of Amesbury’s and Salisbury’s creative industrialists for which the Powow River provided much of the essential resources.

(Note: The boundaries of the two towns were later revised to what they are today.)

I had no clue that the Powow River contained iron ore that was used to make everything from horse shoes for my late blacksmithing grandfather, William Cyr, to the manufacturing of headed nails invented by Jacob Perkins, ships’ anchors from the Amesbury Iron Factory or, despite its otherwise modest shore-to-shore width, the building of ships for more than a century.

So, put me down as a late-life supporter for what appears to be forthcoming as Amesbury’s restoration of that small, but historically enriching section of the Powow that, together with the falls above, will speak to both the past, the present and the future of utilizing nature for the common good.


Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and staff columnist. His e-mail address is

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