To the editor:

It has been my privilege over the past four years to take an idea and make it real for Newburyport. That idea was “If This House Could Talk.”

When I first “stole” the concept from Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, I knew that Newburyport was a unique city. I knew that my neighbors had a love of place, of history, of home. People change, families move away, new families move in, the flavor of Newburyport adjusts, but the history, the homes, the spirit of this “place” continues on.

“If This House Could Talk” couldn’t have happened without people like Mary Baker – who is our guiding saint of talking houses. Ghlee Woodworth, Stephanie Niketic, the Newburyport Preservation Trust, and Susan Edwards of the Museum of Old Newbury all played important roles in the start or development of the program.

There were countless individuals who jumped onboard – as “street captains” or just general vocal supporters and encouragers. Thanks to them, too! And thanks to the businesses and nonprofits that participated, including Mary McDonald at Tinkerhaus (which hosted a sign-making workshop this year), Mary Anne Clancy and the Institution for Savings, The Grog, the Essex Street Inn, Page Insurance, Brigham Manor and (of course) the Newburyport Daily News for their wonderful coverage.

“If This House Could Talk” has become the event during Yankee Homecoming that reflects the community and people-to-people interaction that founders Jack Frost, Joe Mathers and George Cashman were hoping for. Seeing families walk the streets, read the signs, and enjoying the stories – it’s just magical.

And of course, let’s not forget the huge role that Newburyport’s library and archival center played. Without the volunteers there, people like Linda Tulley and her history workshops, and the leadership of head archivist Sharon Spieldenner, our city just wouldn’t have the appreciation for Newburyport history and homes that we have today.

Finally, thanks to everyone who put up a sign! Your enthusiasm is infectious, and with neighbors like you, there is no question that any challenge we meet, any controversy we argue about, any crisis we get put in, we’ll pull through it together as a community because we’re Newburyporters. Yeat!

Next year is year five. We’ll be back. Let’s make it a memorable one. Thanks, everyone!

Jack Santos