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Town Anniversaries 

The 100th Anniversary - 1735

According to tradition, the first centennial anniversary of the settlement of Newbury was "duly noted in the front yard of Colonel Joseph Coffin's house" (today the Coffin House Museum).


The 200th Anniversary - 1835

The second centennial was celebrated May 26, 1835.  Public exercises were held in the meetinghouse of the First Religious Society, Pleasant Street, Newburyport.  Dinner was served in a temporary pavilion erected on land near the Newbury town-house (corner of State and Brown Street, now within the bounds of Newburyport, near the entrance to Oak Hill Cemetery).  According to Currier's History of Newbury, "interesting and eloquent speeches, appropriate to the occasion, were made by Hon. Edward Everett, Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, Hon. Caleb Cushing, Hon. George Lunt, and other distinguished guests who were present.


The 250th Anniversary - 1885

The 250th anniversary was celebrated on June 10, 1885, under the direction of the Historical Society of Old Newbury.  Held in Newburyport's City Hall, the celebration featured musical selections by a chorus of male and female voices under the direction of Norman McLeod, accompanied by an orchestra.  An original ode by Mrs. Louise P. Hopkins was read, and Rev. Samuel Colcord Bartlett, president of Dartmouth College, delivered an historical address.


After the exercises in City Hall, dinner was provided for over 1,000 guests in a spacious tent erected on vacant land near the corner of High Street and Bromfield Street, Newburyport.  Brief after-dinner speeches from men prominent in the social and political life of Old Newbury occupied the time and attention of the assembled company until 7:00 PM.


In the evening, a reception was held back at City Hall where citizens from Newbury and neighboring towns gathered to listen to the music of "a small but well-trained orchestra," to greet old friends and acquaintances, and to examine a large and valuable collection of paintings loaned for the occasion on the walls of the common council chamber.


The 300th Anniversary - 1935



The 350th Anniversary - 1985



The 375th Anniversary - 2010

The 375th anniversary was overseen by a committee specially formed in 2005 to plan and coordinate the event.  A year-long slate of festivities was held, with the main focus being the weekend of May 1-2.  On Saturday, May 1st, a reenactment of the landing of the first settlers took place at boat ramp near the Parker River bridge.  Hundreds of onlookers assembled for the reenactment and historical address.  A proclamation from the Governor of Massachusetts was presented and read, and lunch was served on the Lower Green by the local Boy Scout Troop.  That evening, a huge chicken BBQ was held on the Lower Green, and picnickers were treated to music by Sweet Loretta's Snakeoil Band and the Newburyport-area rock band Soul Robot.


On Sunday, May 2, dozens of exhibitors, reenactors, and historians assembled on the Lower Green for a day celebrating Old Newbury.  After enjoying a breakfast served by the Boy Scouts, visitors checked out old farm equipment, a steam engine, baby animals, gravestone carving demonstrations, and many other artisans and exhibitors.  A perfect bright blue sky and cool breeze made the day one to remember.


The autumn prior to the 375th anniversary saw the Anniversary Committee build a salt haystack near the Plum Island Bridge, and throughout the anniversary year lectures, art exhibits, concerts, and presentations were held at various locations.


Looking ahead to the 400th - 2035

What will the 400th anniversary look like?  As neighboring towns all begin planning and executing their Quadricentennial celebrations, we will take note of how they celebrate this milestone and undoubtedly plan a year of exciting events.  Planning will begin in early 2030.  See you then!

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