NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Port in Progress

March 19, 2007

An unwelcome glimpse of the future

Click here to return to the Port in Progress Homepage

It was a wake-up call.

In the summer of 1964, Newburyport's urban renewal program began to change when local people got a good look at the changes that were planned for their hometown.

The city had signed on to the federal urban renewal program in 1961. Urban renewal at the time emphasized "slum clearance" and Newburyport's central business district certainly fit the definition of slum, with its many vacant, boarded up buildings.

There were still some stores downtown, and one of them -- Kray's Store for Men -- played a pivotal role in altering the direction of the city's redevelopment.

The Newburyport Redevelopment Authority had approved what was for the time a typical urban rewal plan: Most of the downtown -- from Pleasant Street to the Merrimack River -- would be torn down and replaced with new stores and plenty of parking. The city's center would be essentially turned into a mall.

The downtown that was to be wiped out by urban renewal dates from the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1811, which destroyed the city's Colonial-era business district. A new building code drafted after the fire mandated brick construction with firewalls.

But after Kray's owner Stanley "Ty" Tucker agreed to display an architectural model of the new Newburyport in the window of his store, people weren't sure they liked what they saw.

"It seemed to me that one of the problems was that people couldn't visualize the changes," said retired Daily News editor and general manager Bill Plante, who persuaded Tucker to set up the model in his window.

Kray's was on State Street at the time, where Chase and Lunt Insurance is now. (The store later moved around the corner to Pleasant Street, into the space currently occupied by Greta's Great Grains. It went out of business when Tucker and his wife, Elaine Kray Tucker, retired.)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Port in Progress

Offbeat
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans