NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

January 17, 2014

Air browsing at 1,000 feet

I was browsing on my computer via Google Earth midweek from an altitude of an estimated thousand feet, and found some startling changes in the ocean bed between the southernmost groin at Dartmouth Way and the one south of the bend in Fordham Way.

It appeared to have been taken at a half tide that covered bulbous mounds of sand jammed between the two stone beach groins.

It could not have been seen from shore level, and I wondered about its significance relative to beach property damage in that area.

We have come a very long way in inventing and adapting means of aerial discovery and responses thereto.

I have used Google Earth over and again to view the greater Newburyport area towns and cities as they are and how they may well be a century hence.

But how to look into their future?

Perhaps by looking at the changes from their not-so-distant past.

I think of that when I pretend to soar over them at low altitudes courtesy of Google Earth.

I begin at the southern most tip of Plum Island, south of Newbury, and travel counter-clock-wise at various altitudes through Newbury, Newburyport and Salisbury before turning westerly to Amesbury and West Newbury and back to Rowley.

It’s a cluster of old communities with shared roots and family offsprings over nearly four centuries.

The towns and cities are larger than they were at the time of my birth in 1921.

Except for recent construction of comparatively large houses along the beaches at Plum Island and Salisbury, the towns are not so much changed as they might have been, but change there is.

High Road, in Newbury, was essentially farmland prior to our Second World War.

In 1952 there were only 11 homes on the 2 miles of Hay Street when we moved into the small house we would enlarge as the family grew.

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