WEST NEWBURY — Seventeen homes and a specific area in town were identified as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, according to a property survey initiated by the Historical Commission.
As the second phase of an initiative started in 2017-18, the project was financed in part with federal money from the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior through the Survey and Planning Grant program of the Massachusetts Historical Commission. The remaining funding was provided through a matching grant from the Community Preservation Act account.
Historic preservation consultants Stacy Spies and Wendy Frontiero surveyed 108 buildings throughout town for this phase of the project.
The homes — circa 1717 to 1917 — are presently used as residences. The survey consisted of four phases and followed the procedures of inventory work: field survey, research, evaluation and production of inventory forms.
The consultants also related cultural resources to historic patterns of cultural development, land use, economic development, social and demographic history, and events that had an impact on the community. Many of the identified properties are eligible under multiple criteria, the commission reported.
The consultants proposed designating an area along Maple Street as a historic district, and the homes within the district were recommended for national recognition for their association with residential, educational and industrial development from circa 1803 to 1874.
Workers in the town’s Manufacturing District lived in many of the residences on the street, which is located right off Town Square. These Maple Street homes include 4, 6, 8,12-14, 18, 22, 24, 32, 38, 40, 56, 58, 62, 66, 70, 72, 74, 78, 82, 90, 94, 96, 00, 106, 114, 118 and 122.
Six properties on Crane Neck Street — 75, 81, 84, 112, 155 and 158 — fit the National Register’s criteria for homes settled during the Colonial and Federal periods. Before 1729, Crane Neck Street served as a connector between Main Street and Newbury.
“This area was known as the Upper Commons for Newbury until pressure mounted to open the commons to development in 1686,” the commissioner’s report notes.
West Newbury features many properties that illustrate architectural development across early periods in the country’s history.
Four properties that each showcase a central chimney with symmetrical fenestration and side-gabled roofs — architecture associated with the Colonial Period from 1700 to 1775 —were recommended as potentially eligible for the National Register. These properties include 70 Bridge St., and 81, 84 and 155 Crane Neck St.
Architectural development during the Federal Period from 1775 to 1830, which typically features two-story, five-bay blocks with center entrances and side elevations with one or two bays and gabled roofs, were identified in four properties: 75 and 112 Crane Neck St. and 3 and 9 River Road.
Examples of vernacular Greek Revival style — popularized during the Early Industrial Period of 1830 to 1870 — include 23 Farm Lane, 374 Main St., 6 Merrill St., 3 Pleasant St. and 35 Prospect St.
Prominent features of these West Newbury homes tended to be conservative forms — rather than temple forms or mansard roofs. The property at 35 Prospect St. was constructed out of stone, the commission noted.
260 Main St., built in 1912, offers “an excellent example of early 20th century residential development,” the commission stated, describing the structure as “locally-unusual.”
Construction in West Newbury had slowed dramatically at the turn of the century with the loss of industry by 1915. The property was recommended as potentially eligible for the National Register under the context of architectural development during the Late Industrial Period, from 1870 to 1915.
The property at 384 Main St., known as the Lutie Odiorne store, is a locally significant example of an early commercial building established to supplement the slowing local economy.
“By 1915, no manufacturing businesses remained in town and the local economy reverted to agriculture,” states the commission. The property at 382-384 Main St. was deemed potentially eligible for the National Register for its commerce-related development during the Late Industrial and Early Modern periods of 1910 to 1937.
As part of the consultant’s recommendations, 74 properties were identified for a future survey. The Historic Commission plans to submit a warrant item at a future Town Meeting to conduct the third and final phase of the project.
Phase 1 of the project identified three historic areas on Main Street: the Manufacturers’ Row Historic Area east of Elwell Square, the Training Field Historic District, and the Way to the River Historic Area. The consultants also recommended 23 individual properties for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Information on the surveys and commissioners’ reports are available at GAR Memorial Library and on the Historical Commission’s page at www.wnewbury.org.