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Merrimack Valley

July 26, 2013

Homecoming offering lots of historical lectures, tours this year

Yankee Homecoming abounds with history walking tours, lectures

NEWBURYPORT — Yankee Homecoming is only 56 years old, which borders on being young by Newburyport (founded 1764) standards.

But numerous local historians will be leading heritage tours and events in the next week, and the focus on the past starts Saturday at 10 a.m.

Yankee Homecoming, the city’s week-long summer festival, officially kicks off this weekend with a wide variety of activities, culminating in the Aug. 3 fireworks and Aug. 4 parade. But throughout the week, local historians will be presenting numerous programs and walking tours highlighting the city’s proud history.

The resurgence of the history tours is a relatively new phenomenon, and this year’s schedule builds on past year’s successes.

Here’s a look at what is scheduled:

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — “Clipper Heritage Trail Day,” with historian Ghlee Woodworth. She will be at the First Religious Society, Unitarian Universalist to consult with visitors about the new online heritage trail. The new tour can be accessed online through mobile online devices, and the free mobile app can be found at www.clipperheritagetrail.com. There will a sign outside the church, and participants can win prizes.

Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and also 5 to 6:30 p.m., — “Footsteps of Heroes: Civil War Walking Tour.” Authors William and Elizabeth Hallett lead a 90-minute walking tour focusing on sites from the community’s Civil War history.

Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. — “Wharves, Range Lights, Coal and the Coast Guard,” Newburyport Art Association, 65 Water St. Local residents Skip and Marge Motes talk about what the community was like in the 1700s.

Saturday, 4 to 5:30 p.m. — “Tiptoe Through the Tombstones,” Oak Hill Cemetery. Woodworth will lead a tour that focuses on long-ago residences, and in this tour she discusses the city’s gravestone restoration project.

Sunday, Powder House, 1 to 3 p.m. — The Powder House (circa 1822) is located at 57 Low St., and replicates a storage facility used in the aftermath of the War of 1812 and during the Civil War. A tour starts at the site.

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