, Newburyport, MA


November 30, 2012

A walk to the past on Crow Lane

I was enriched during Thanksgiving week by a letter from Betty Cooper Nason Amirault, a lifetime resident of Newburyport’s North Atkinson Street, in response to a column I had written on a walk taken together with those seeing to the preservation of Crow Lane woodlands and pasture.

I have written about the lane several times over the years, but nothing has been more definitive than what she has written of what it meant to those who brought cows to pasture there lifetimes ago.

I thought it should be shared, so, with her permission ...

“Bill brought back many memories as a young girl growing up in a farm family,’’ she wrote.

“I am a Cooper, daughter of George and Louise.

“Many would think ... a farm in Newburyport?

“I have to tell them there were many while I was growing up. Our farm was small — more land than animals. Our land on Crow Lane — all the way to the old Route 95, and (easterly) across to Hale (Street).

“Unfortunately, it was sold to NAID in hopes of use after my father died.*

“The land still sits dormant.

“Back then, we would daily take our cows down North Atkinson Street across Low Street and down Crow Lane, past the dump to our pastures.

“It was a beautiful country lane and the view from the top of the hill on part of the pasture overlooking Newburyport was always my dream to built a house out there.

“Of course this never came to be because of increasing regulation in the dairy business and the main barn and outbuildings surrounded by the city on all four sides — having the school behind us, increasing housing in the area, the Poor Farm torn down to make for the elderly housing, the Country Manor Nursing Home on the corner, and much more traffic on Low Street.

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