Newburyport was settled in 1635 as part of Newberry Plantation, now called Newbury. The new town was the smallest in Massachusetts, with an area of 647 acres and a population of 2,800. In the years following, the town prospered as a fishing, shipbuilding and shipping center and became a city in 1851. Since then, Newburyport has been governed by a mayor and an eleven-member City Council.
The city’s historic downtown section was set to be razed in the early 1970s as it had fallen into disrepair during the previous decades. A last minute decision saved the city’s buildings and earmarked Federal grant funds to complete the renovations and restoration of the historic cityscape. To this day, Newburyport is often cited as an example of how to maintain a city’s architectural heritage and landscape while preserving the functionality.
Some “firsts” for Newburyport include the first United States Coast Guard station, the first Tea Party rebellion to oppose British Tea Tax, and the first state mint and treasury building.
Newburyport resides in Essex County and is easily accessible by Interstate 95 (Exit 57) and U.S. Route 1 and Route 1A, as well as the MBTA commuter railroad. The city is located 37 miles north-northeast of Boston, and five miles south of the New Hampshire border.