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The E-Sylum (5/16/2010)

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Dick Hanscom forwarded this article from Friday's Newburyport News about the festivities surrounding the opening of the restored Jacob Perkins building in that Massachusetts town. -Editor

It's been a day decades in the making.

After a year of intense work, the first phase of the restoration of the historic Jacobs Perkins Printing and Engraving building is complete.

And tomorrow, it's time to celebrate.

The Historical Society of Old Newbury, Cushing House Museum, will be holding a ceremonial ribbon cutting at 1 p.m. to honor the purchase and first phase of restoration of the mint.

"It's been years in the process ... it's actually been decades," said Jay Williamson, Historical Society of Old Newbury curator.

In 2007, the Historical Society of Old Newbury was able to purchase the building from then-owner James Lagoulis using a $200,000 grant from the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank. The society also received a $184,500 grant through the Community Preservation Act to cover the cost of the restoration.

The building on High Street — the address was recently changed — housed the first mint in Massachusetts in the early 1800s when Jacob Perkins printed currency for the state and other parts of New England. It abuts the rear of the Historical Society building on the corner of High and Fruit streets.

It is the oldest surviving printing/engraving plant in the country.

Last spring, contractors began the project, which included replacing sheeting and doing beam repairs. The timber framing on the second and third floors was also restored, and the brickwork was re-pointed.

The goal was to restore the building's external appearance to its original look.

Jacob Perkins "Right now, the building is stable. It's well-preserved, so that stage is 'mission accomplished,'" Williamson said. "It was a community effort from start to finish."

Following the ribbon cutting, participants are invited to tour the mint with the Historical Society and the Newburyport Five Cent Savings Bank before heading to the Firehouse Center for the Arts where Dr. James Haxby, an obsolete bank note expert, will give a lecture on Perkins and the birth of currency in the United States at 3 p.m. Admission is free, but participants must first visit the Perkins building, due to the limited number of seats at the Firehouse.

Jacob Perkins would be proud.

To read the complete article, see: Historic mint is restored, reopens this weekend (

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