NBPT@3MPH  Lime St. home back in the family    

Courtesy photo/Brendan HughesResidents of 88-90 Lime St. include Jon and Melissa Vespa, Molly Vespa and Brendan Hughes, Kathleen and Tim Mahan, and their daughter, Liv.

Editor's note: This is an occasional feature highlighting historic properties in Newburyport that are best appreciated while walking "@3mph."

As do all of the historic homes in Newburyport, the Federal-style house at 88-90 Lime St. has a story to tell.

The current owners on Lime Street have a unique story that is all about family. They are annual participants in If This House Could Talk, happening this week, and a recipient of a Newburyport Preservation Trust’s historic house plaque.

A bricklayer, Abraham Dodge, built the house formerly known as 76 Lime St. in 1798. It was built as a single-family house with a typical center entrance on the front facade along Lime Street.

Prominent pharmacist W. Lunt Bartlett and his wife, Mary, purchased the house in 1904. At some point, the front door was sealed over and in 1945, the house was officially divided into two deeded half houses.

Descendants of the Bartlett family retained ownership of both sides of the house for almost 90 years.

Former Newburyport Fire Chief John F. Cutter Sr., who married Bartlett’s daughter, owned 88 Lime St. Cutter’s son, John F. Cutter Jr. ("Jock"), who also served with the Newburyport Fire Department, took ownership of 90 Lime St. in 1945.

In addition, Bartlett relative and author David McPhail, who penned more than 100 children’s books, grew up at 88 Lime St.

Both sides of the house were sold out of the family in the early 1990s. However, through a little bit of luck and fortunate timing, the current owners and descendants of the Bartletts were able to purchase both 88 and 90 Lime St.

There are now three generations of Bartlett descendants living at the house, including the great-great-great-great granddaughter of W. Lunt and Mary Bartlett. The house is back in the family.

As you walk around NBPT@3mph during Yankee Homecoming, check out the house stories for If This House Could Talk and especially seek out 88-90 Lime St. Notice that it doesn’t have a front door like most Federal-style homes. Now, you’ll know why.

Barb Bailey is a researcher for the Newburyport Preservation Trust. She may be reached at Barb.Bailey03@gmail.com.

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