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Newburyport Superior Courthouse - Newburyport, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Telomere
N 42° 48.488 W 070° 52.439
19T E 346778 N 4741211
Quick Description: Essex County Superior Court system utilizes this building, historically known as the "Newburyport Superior Courthouse".
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 8/16/2009 9:31:44 AM
Waymark Code: WM70VC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 2

Long Description:
In 1804 Newburyport was ranked as one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, mostly due to the thriving shipping trade. In this year the townspeople authorized the building of a new courthouse, and hired noted American architect Charles Bulfinch to design the structure and supervise it's construction. It was completed and opened to the public in 1805.

Located on the "Bartlett Mall", (which was modeled after London's Pall Mall) and adjacent to the 'Frog Pond' - an ancient glacial kettle hole, the brick building has been remodeled several times, eliminating a second peak on the roof, deleting the "Lady of Justice" statue on the roof, and reconstructing the first floor to create interior space where graceful columns and arches had enclosed a small front arcade. More recently, the entire building was coated with mastic cement to resemble stone, but this was later removed to expose the original brickwork.

John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster tried cases here; In one of Webster's cases he actually convinced the jury that the victim of a robbery had fabricated the incident to frame the alleged perpetrators. Owing to this chapter it the town's history, the location of the supposed robbery is still known as "Sham Hill".

A political group, the "Fred Hampton Unit of the People's Forces" managed to set off a bomb in the front lobby of this building in 1976. In reading the details of the subsequent trial, it appears this building was chosen as a target merely because their other choices were too secure. The explosion blew away a corner of the building, and blew out every window. The damage was soon repaired, and although old bricks were used in the repair, the difference in still visible.
Street address:
High Street
Newburyport, MA USA


County / Borough / Parish: Essex County

Year listed: 1976

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Historic seat of Jurisprudence and Litigation.

Periods of significance: 1805 to present day.

Historic function: A courthouse.

Current function: A Courthouse.

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Privately owned?: Not Listed

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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