Newburyport: Birthplace of the Coast Guard?

Photo of Newburyport. (Top inset) Contemporary painting of a Revenue Marine cutter, which may be of either the ''Massachusetts'' (1791), or its replacement, the ''Massachusetts II." (Bottom inset) Station Merrimack River crewmembers standing in front of the lighthouse at the station in Newburyport, Mass., Wed., Dec. 2, 2009. Main photo by ##http://www.scottgoodwin.com/## Scott Goodwin##

An article on Boston.com today looks at how officials in Newburyport, Massachusetts, are pushing to have the community recognized as the birthplace of the Coast Guard.

Supporters point out that the vessel Massachusetts, built in Newburyport in 1791, was the first cutter to enter active service under the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, which later became the Coast Guard. This, many have argued, makes Newburyport the official birthplace of the Coast Guard, a distinction marked by a local sign and monument, not to mention a 1965 proclamation signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

However, the Coast Guard Historian’s Office says the birthplace is debatable, in part because how one defines the Coast Guard’s place of birth can differ. Also, because as many as three cutters may have been launched prior to the Massachusetts.

But that hasn’t stopped Newburyport officials from recently taking steps to secure their claim.

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