They Make “If This House Could Talk” Happen

It’s been another great year of “If This House Could Talk” in 2022 — the best YH yet, post pandemic! Close to eighty homes participated!

Year seven is in the books. I originally thought this was a one year add-on event to Yankee Homecoming, but, to steal a phrase, these talking houses have legs!

But it takes a lot of effort, even to pull off an event that is fairly spontaneous, grass roots, and left to its own devices. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give kudos to everyone behind the scenes, like:

Ghlee Woodworth: Ghlee encouraged this project early on and made it part of her “Heritage Tours” section of Yankee Homecoming

Barb Bailey: Barb helps with publicity, articles, ideas, signing up north end homes, getting poster board and markers for distribution at the library, and as an active Preservation Trust member, encourages homes with Newburyport Preservation Trust markers to be a part of the effort.

Mary Baker: Our biggest rooter and supporter- Mary is always encouraging more homes to put up signs, and even launched her own online version that captures the information for eternity at “Newburyport: Keeping the Story Alive“.

Chris Edmonds: Without Chris “If This House Could Talk” couldn’t happen – he updates the map of homes daily in the run-up to the week of Yankee Homecoming – no small feat to keep track of the list, and manage the technology! Chris has mastered the intricacies of online publishing, and manages the creation of the “If This House Could Talk” book. The 2022 edition will come out in October. Receipts from the sales of this pictorial retrospective go directly to the Newburyport Preservation Trust.

Sharon Spieldenner : Sharon and her volunteers at the Newburyport Public Library Archival Center are key to helping residents find out more about their homes. They pass out materials every year, like poster boards for making signs, and the paper listing of homes. And the library staff do an amazing job on the sign for Nathaniel Tracy’s home – today’s library building!

Bob Watts: Bob’s photographic skills come to play to capture photos of the homes and signs. Those become part of the Biennial “If This House Could Talk” Book. His “Come for a Walk With Me” Facebook posts are immensely popular, and he carries the same spirit into his efforts to capture as many of the “If This House Could Talk” homes as he can…

Organizations like the Newburyport Preservation Trust have been extremely supportive; The NPT funds the poster materials, while encouraging members to participate. All proceeds from the event are donated to them. Let’s not forget The Museum of Old Newbury – an original and ongoing supporter of the program, which often displays their own sign in front of the Cushing house on High Street.

It’s been an honor for me, Jack Santos, to be part of the team that makes it happen (in fact, there is not much left for me to do after this crew gets started!). Many people have noted that in addition to the fireworks, the parade, the bed race, the nightly concerts, “If This House Could Talk” has become a key part of Yankee Homecoming for them — a real “homecoming” experience, true to the original intent of the celebration.

Thanks most of all to all the residents that participate, all the people that read the signs, and all the folks that make this event a memorable experience….see you next year!
Watch for the book in the fall!

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