|These beautiful line drawings are by Blake Hughs and available for sale at the Newburyport Printmaker, Inn Street, Newburyport.
Like High Street itself, Newburyport has retained much of its historic context with few intrusions. All but built-out by the early 20th century, the layout, scale and character of the community was spared the suburban transgressions of the post-war and later periods. Indeed it was Newburyport's steadfast refusal to succumb to the urban renewal programs of the 1960s and 70s which set the community on its course of enlightened self-awareness regarding large-scale changes in the city's realm. A by-product has been the nurtured appreciation of not only the "high style" houses but also the vernacular elements of the city's fabric.
The streets and neighborhoods surrounding High Street, like those throughout the majority of the city, retain their residential integrity. The housing stock of the surrounding streets is still composed of its historical mix of setbacks, building forms, massing, plans and materials. To date, the demolition and replacement of existing structures is limited. More typical, and equally troubling, is the wholesale replacement of windows and cladding.
Commercial intrusion has primarily been confined to Storey Avenue, the road that connects I-95 with High Street. Many of the High Street's traffic and speed problems originate from Storey Avenue, as the suburban nature of the shopping plaza developments and fast-food outlets have little connection to the residential and historic qualities of nearby High Street. Visitors, in particular, are surprised by the abrupt change in ambiance when merging from Storey Avenue to High Street, and consequently have difficulty adjusting their driving style and speed.
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