The Cushing House
The brick, Federal mansion that houses the Museum of Old Newbury's headquarters was built in 1808 for Captain William Hunt. The home boasts many architectural elements typical of the Federal period, including its symmetrical design, hipped roof, double-hung sash windows, louvered shutters, and the fanlight window over its front door. The house has served as both a single and two-family home, and over the years, its grounds have evolved to include a carriage house, garden, orchard, and privy.
In 1818, Captain John Newmarch Cushing purchased half of the large Federal home from Captain Hunt’s widow, as the captain himself died at sea before the house’s completion. By 1823, Cushing owned the entire house and grounds, and for the next 132 years, the Cushing family called 98 High Street home.
Captain John Newmarch Cushing married twice and had five children who survived into adulthood. Two sons, William and John, Jr. followed in their father’s footsteps as merchants and ship owners in Newburyport. Caleb Cushing became a successful lawyer, politician and diplomat, serving as mayor of Newburyport, US Congressman for Massachusetts, Attorney General under President Franklin Pierce, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court justice, and US Ambassador to China.
John, Jr. eventually acquired 98 High Street and raised his family here. John, Jr.’s daughter Margaret was the last Cushing to live in the house, and at her death in 1955, she had spent all 100 years of her life here. The Cushing heirs then gave the building to the Historical Society of Old Newbury (now the Museum of Old Newbury).
Today, when you visit the Cushing House, you will see a mix of period rooms and gallery spaces that tell the stories of the past 300 years in the Newburys. Many features, such as carpeting, light fixtures, balustrades, and faux-marbled floors, remain intact from the home’s long occupancy by the Cushing family. Against this historic backdrop, the stories of the Newburys unfold, including those of ship captains, craftsmen, politicians, and artists.