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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 11, March 12, 2006, Article 8

PLAN IN MOTION TO SAVE PERKINS NEWBURYPORT MINT BUILDING

Dick Hanscom forwarded a link to the latest story about the
old Jacob Perkins mint building in Newburyport, MA.

"The Historical Society of Old Newbury is proposing trading a
piece of land behind its Cushing House Museum headquarters for
the historic mint building on Fruit Street.

The swap would be the first step in a $500,000 project to
renovate the former currency-printing plant and turn it into
a museum honoring one of Newburyport's greatest inventors.

The 200-year-old building, which has been used recently as a
garage and storage building, sits in the back yard of a house
at 18 Fruit St. owned by local attorney James Lagoulis.

The building was the home of Jacob Perkins, who invented the
first secure printing technology for U.S. currency. His method
and the Fruit Street building were used to print currency that
was distributed across the East Coast."

"This building is extraordinarily significant," said David Mack,
co-president of the society. "It was the first truly functioning
bill-printing mint. It has a certain degree of national importance."

"Mack hopes to seal the deal before the society goes before
Community Preservation Committee with its request for $184,500
to support the first phase of the mint restoration project. The
society is one of 11 agencies and groups seeking a share of $800,000
in community preservation money available this year. The money is
raised through a surcharge on property taxes and state matching
funds.

That initial work would take a year to complete. It would include
structural repairs to the roof, floorboard replacement and period-
appropriate restoration of the brick facade, chimney, moldings and
entryway. Interior repairs would include the construction of new
staircases, elimination of steel beams and installation of correct
brick flooring.

"We see it as a fully functioning adjunct to the current museum,"
Mack said. "The goal is to have a central place portraying what
Perkins did and the importance of what he did. We want to do it
and we want to do it right."

The society is seeking money from other local and national sources,
including the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American
Bank Note Company, the successor to the company that absorbed
Perkins' business."

To read the complete article, see Full Story
+page_0

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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