City must honor its history to regain respect

To the editor:

On July 24 I went to Haverhill to visit the Chamber of Commerce hoping to see the “woman that would be mayor.”

For some time I had been thinking about that jungle in front of the old Haverhill Academy, but Mr. Jajuga seems to have been bothered by the same overgrowth and did something about it. Twenty years from now that building will be 200 years old.

As I climbed the front stairs I took hold of the wrought-iron rail on the left side. Thank God I did not put very much weight on the hand rail because it is completely broken away from the concrete stairs. I went inside and met a member of the Chamber, who said he was also a member of the Historical Society. We spoke for a short while as I conveyed my sentiments about the Chamber finding somewhere else to conduct its business.

I told him the building we were in was always connected to the education department in some way. Then I told him the Chamber should remove its sign from over the doorway and the sign that says the building was the Whittier Building, because the building was the old Haverhill Academy.

I told him (John Greenleaf) Whittier was not the only reputable person to attend that school. So he asked me to name another, but I was unprepared to answer him. Surely other people of note must have gone there.

The Hon. Leveret Saltonstall made the dedication in 1827 and Whittier read one of his poems.

In 1841 the commonwealth put pressure on the town to build a high school. Town fathers and the school board arrived at an answer for the state. In the rear of the building an addition was constructed and the two buildings became Haverhill High School. Then in 1879 Haverhill built a new high school opposite GAR Park.

In eight more years we will be celebrating Haverhill’s 375th birthday. This will be a prelude for the big one in 2040 — of course, I will be long in my grave by then.

If there were more people in the city that thought along the lines of Mr Valhouli, this city that once was a place of culture, whether you all know it or not, might regain some of its former respect.



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