Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
The Heartbeat of Haverhill blog and Facebook page are acts of love and discovery for my often under praised city of Haverhill, Massachusetts. As much as I relish sleuthing and coming upon new places and people, the real joy for me is in the sharing – when someone gives me a lead on something new and terrific or old and nearly forgotten, when I can bolster the pride of a community, neighborhood, or individual by showcasing something so remarkable that a reader wants to boast about living in Haverhill, rather than naming their neighborhood to hide it or vaguely describing home as on the North Andover line, north of Boston, right by Boxford or even almost New Hampshire. (NOTE: Click on photos to enlarge them)
I’d never thought about fixing myself a place in history where sometime 25 years from now or a hundred years in the future someone might actually come across the name The Heartbeat of Haverhill or my own, Alison Colby-Campbell and wonder if only for a second “Who the heck was that?” and then be able to find out with a little bit of Googling that I was a self designated promoter of Haverhill who earned a spot in a time capsule.
Today along with a dozen or so other people ranging from a second grader at Tilton School to (and I am guessing) an octogenarian, The Heartbeat of Haverhill among many others placed a piece of myself (The Heartbeat of Haverhill 2016 calendar) in a time capsule brought to life by Team Haverhill and scheduled to be positioned in the wall of the almost completed first phase of Harbor Place. It will next be visited 25 years from now. Harbor Place is a piece of local history in and of itself created when a vast group of believers (including the Greater Haverhill Foundation, Massachusetts State Representative and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Brian Dempsey, Planning Office of Urban Affairs in Boston with Lisa Alberghini, president, Mayor Fiorentini City Council) and charged after a better use of the downtown space formerly occupied by a long vacant and decrepit Woolworth Building. It will ‘harbor’ among other things a satellite campus of UMass Lowell, HC Media, Pentucket Bank, and, I believe, it will help usher in a strong new era for Haverhill.
The time capsule ceremony highlights included the reveal of exactly which items would be placed inside the capsule. Four generations of one of the oldest families in Haverhill (the Carbones) came to the podium with a photo of two hard hatted youngsters who made an unauthorized visit to the Woolworth building shortly before demolition, a student from each of the following schools, Tilton Elementary, Hunking Middle, and Haverhill High School added a letter to the future, their teachers supplied photos of the classes, “Free Tom Brady” and “Haverhill Hillies 2016” t-shirts, a commemorative brick from the Woolworth Building, an HC Media thumb drive with a video of the ceremony, historic photos of the Merrimack River, Haverhill’s Downtown, and photos of the collective group behind Harbor Place, a portrait and summary of Haverhill advancements made during Mayor Fiorentini’s 13 years of leadership, a business card from the oldest continuous operation company (Haverhill Bank), a copy of the day’s Eagle Tribune newspaper, Northern Essex Community College Alumni Magazine, a Market Basket receipt, currency (a $20 bill that is scheduled to change after 2020 and a penny that many predict will become obsolete) was provided by Pentucket Bank, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce 100th Annual Dinner program, and THOH calendar. Before I added the calendar, I took a photo of the crowd to remember my moment (and fortunately Beverly Dunn Donovan from the Greater Haverhill Chamber took my photo as an additional reminder.) I took the photo really quickly asking everyone to smile their best “the future is going to be awesome” smile. And they were ready. The crowd looked so amazing I wished I’d spent another minute to fine tune my settings to do the group justice. What a good looking crowd!
The atmosphere at the Pentucket Bank Community Room where the celebration was held was bright, energized, and fun filled. Yet I, was more introspective. Without getting too maudlin about it, I was deeply moved by my opportunity to say “Hello” through the calendar photos to 2041. Second graders THOH met today will be 32 or 33 years old many with careers and families of their own, and they will have been guided by their dedicated Haverhill teachers, mentors and family along the path to become the good kind of neighbors that make way for an old lady, offer to bring her cookies (I like chocolate chip with nuts), or assist in her slower walk to the front of the room. You see, the student participants in the ceremony were each given a little commemorative bottle with an enclosed invitation to return for the opening of the capsule. I asked for one as well. I intend to cash in that invitation. At that 2041 viewing, I can become a living part of history who remembers dialing a rotary phone, the introduction of computers to schools, cable television to homes, the AIDS epidemic, the tragic ending of the Challenger space mission, the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the first Harry Potter book, Donald Trump, twerking, the end of the Berlin Wall, solid silver American coins, the 911 terrorist acts, and Haverhill on the cusp of unprecedented greatness.
Here is The Heartbeat of Haverhill’s scaled down visual timeline of the transition to the new Harbor Place from the derelict Woolworth.
Thanks Team Haverhill and Tim Jordan, for this amazing chance for The Heartbeat of Haverhill to face the future.
If anyone is interested in purchasing any of these copyrighted photos, please contact Alison Colby-Campbell at AlisonsBrain4Rent@gmail.com