Reflections of the Waterside ... throughout the generations
A retrospective ~ folio 4 ~ The Market House ~ Firehouse
portfolio intro ~ folio 1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7 ~ 8 ~ 9 ~ 10

In July 1795, Dexter ~ (always ahead of the wave) ~ offered to build a Market House on Market Landing at his own expense. His proposal was waived due to an ongoing dispute with proprietors over common land ~ which had commenced shortly after the Waterside Third Parish of Newbury formed the separate town of Newburyport in 1764 ~ and which was not resolved until October, 1826, two generations after it began, and exactly twenty years after Dexter's passing in 1806.1

Nearly a generation after Dexter's proposal, the Market House was constructed in phases ~ and generations thereafter saw a transformation from market and meeting house to firehouse and now The Firehouse Center for the Arts. The latter venture, under the auspices of the Society for the Development of Arts and Humanities, remarks its 15th anniversary this year.

Coincidentally, this year also marks the 15th year milestone of the Newburyport Waterfront Trust's formation ~ launching their stewardship of the five "historic wayes to the Waterside," Market Landing Park and the boardwalk.

Scanned images of half-tone prints in
John J. Currier's History of Newburyport, Volume I

Here images of the Market House circa 1851, scanned from half-tone prints in John J. Currier's History of Newburyport, Volume I ~ in a section which records that "the selectmen of Newburyport were authorized, August 5, 1822, to build a Market house of brick, one story high, on the spot where shambles once stood; and March 10, 1823, they were granted permission to add another story to the building provided it could be rented to advantage." Evidently, the Newburyport Chair (caning) Company occupied the unfinished room until the lease was vacated on January 28, 1830, at which point the town voted to finish the hall at an expense not to exceed 800 dollars and rent it to the Lyceum association, an arrangement which continued until 1851.

In 1834 the town voted to finish the second floor hall, then reconsidered, and not until April 8, 1834 was money appropriated to complete the project. The following year, the March annual town meeting was held "in the new hall over the market house." The hall actually holds the distinction of accommodating the last annual town meeting ever held in Newburyport on March 18, 1851 ~ which was then adjourned to the new City Hall ~ before Newburyport was organized as a city form of government on June 24, 1851.

The accompanying image depicts "the landing place in the rear and at the (south)easterly end of the market house (which) was used as a dock for boats and barges.

In 1864, the butchers' stalls on the first floor were removed so the space could accommodate the new steam fire engine, "Eon," depicted in this image. Currier records that twenty years later, extensive repairs were made to the building, with the first story occupied by the Steam Fire-Engine and Hose Carriage company, No. 1, Hook and Ladder company, No. 1, Supply Wagon, No. 1 and by the city marshal and other officers of the police department. The northwesterly end of the second story was used as the police court room, and the southeastery end as a hall for the convenience of the companies. (See link within for more information.)2

Scanned image © 2006 Bright iDear ~ courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
at the Newburyport Public Library

© 2004 Bright iDear ~ click on iamge to see
enlarged marker tile of the ship, Dexter inserted
Here, Lord Timothy Dexter ~ embodied by Paul Jancewicz ~ poses at a marker for the "historic waye to the Waterside" to the east of the Market House (now Firehouse) and Market Landing Park. The photograph is taken five generations after the above image of the boats docked at this very site, which is part and parcel of Market Landing itself. (More insight can be found at hyperlinks to this link within.)

This, the Year of Common Ground (March 25, 2006 - March 24, 2007) a proposal was made to restore the original reference to the "historic waye to the Waterside" commonly known as "Market Landing waye" ~ forwarded in a Motion of Comity to remark the aforementioned generational milestone ~ and to encourage today's generations of the Waterside people to seek ways to establish common ground. The motion was waived ~ or perhaps deferred ~ at this point in time. History repeats itself ...
Often coming full circle. To the right of the "waye marker" on the other side of this historic waye to the Waterside to the east of Market Landing (behind what the easterly corner of whats is now the Firehouse Center for the Arts) stands in a circular monument, sitting atop brick pavers which follow that same pattern. Dedicated in 1984, the monument marks a major step along the restoration and redevelopment of Newburyport's waterfront and downtown. Dedicated the same year as the Market Landing engraving near the embayment behind the Market Landing stage ~ this simple circular plaque reads ~




© 2004 Bright iDear
Come to know more about the Waterside's storied past, present and future on stage and page. Join in the Waterside community gam held at Market Landing Park after the Yankee Homecoming noontide opening ceremony. Arrive early to meet Lord Timothy Dexter as the quintessential Yankee comes home again, arriving at Market Landing (link within).

Lord Timothy Dexter is after all Newburyport's eternal entrepreneurial spirit ~ and the distillation of all generations of the Waterside people.3

1 These lands included the area now Market Landing Park and the "historic waye to the Waterside" to its east, as well as the common grounds surrounding Frog Pond, as follows. And during litigation two hundred years later, way 5 and way 6 were (only) referenced by the antecedents Middle Shipyard or Market Landing --- citing the October 28, 1826 as its justification as public trust land by way of the Newbury proprietors’ quitclaim:

“Reserving the road of one and one-half rods wide on the easterly side of the Middle Shipyard or Market Landing, so called, from Merrimac Street to the River … also a four rod way at the southerly end and a four rod way at the northerly end of Frog Pond … also a strip of land one rode (sic) wide all around said Pond adjoining thereto and on the margin thereof, being for public use and at no time hereafter to be appropriated to the private and exclusive rights of said inhabitants.” (Currier’s “Ould Newbury,” page 621, with a copy of said quitclaim soon availed.)

2 The above link within on the Web site offers some insight about all five historic wayes to the Waterside ~ many of which were once wharves and tidal flats. The stipulated fact summarized at the above link within explains that Market Landing was explains the infilling of the landing which began in 1861 ~ primarily to allow for the construction of the railroad later that decade. In the image of the firehouse above, an outbuilding to the east and north of the then Firehouse, indicating that Market Landing had been substantially infilled at the time the photographs was taken, which was likely in the mid-1860s.

3 Come to know more about these very ways Lord Tim himself roved in his various walks of life ~ as the tanner who lived across from Somerby's Landing, going to meeting at the Waterside Third Parish Meetinghouse in Market Square, bowing beneath the bowsprits as he made his way to the bark house east of Market Landing, to pick up his tanning supplies. And then, when his ship came in and moved up in society (and up State Street to the Tracy House) ~ his "haunts" during his daily constitutionals down to the waterfront to check on his ships, visit the counting houses and experience the commerce (and familiar commerce) of Market Square. And along the way, come to know more about yourself ~ as one othe Waterside people born here or drawn here to this special place where we can see our tomorrows dawn.

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