NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Breaking News

Port in Progress

March 23, 2007

Page building a forerunner of Port's transformation

Click here to return to the Port in Progress Homepage

NEWBURYPORT | When Arthur S. Page walks through Newburyport's bustling downtown these days, in his mind he can still see what the city's commercial center looked like 50 years ago.

"Newburyport was in bad shape," Page recalled in a recent interview. "Inn Street looked like a bombed-out street in Europe after World War II. All the buildings were in bad repair. Many of them were uninhabitable."

But if the once-thriving city had fallen on hard times by the 1950s, the insurance company Page had taken over from his father was booming. It had outgrown its office space on Pleasant Street, and Page was looking for a new office location. In 1959 he moved into the building at 57 State St., and shortly afterward began renovating the building, an early investment in a struggling downtown that was still a decade away from its comprehensive revitalization.

"I'd like to think that I was far-sighted and I was investing in the downtown because I saw all the changes coming," Page said. "But that's not true. In 1960, I was 31 years old, and I didn't know any better. I just needed the space."

The building at 57 State St. had been built in 1853. A hardware store originally occupied the first two floors, while the top floor housed Newburyport's Company A Cushing Guard, a unit that later distinguished itself in the Civil War battle of Antietam. Over the next 24 years, the building changed hands several times, being used for a period as a carpet warehouse.

In 1877, the building was bought for $8,300 by the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for veterans of the Civil War. A severe gale blew the roof off the building in 1882, and it underwent renovations. As the generation of Civil War veterans began to die through the early 20th century and membership in the Grand Army of the Republic diminished, the building was transferred to its successor organization | the Sons of Union Veterans | which continued to use the top floors of the building, leasing the ground floor to a dry-goods store.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Port in Progress

Offbeat
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans