New Engand Diary



That it is easy to park on the wrong street of the same name one town over in New England is like saying that if you don’t like the weather in New England, wait five minutes and it will change. These are not regional but universal phenomena.

Nevertheless, my experience visiting Salem on Saturday probably belongs in my former editor Robert Whitcomb’s New England Diary.

I drove from Providence to Salem for a house tour on Chestnut Street. I got off 128 North and followed signs for the nearby Peabody-Essex Museum, and finally saw Chestnut Street. I parked next to City Hall but could not find 9 Chestnut. So I was wandering around like a blind man. Lo and behold, I heard my name. Sheldon Kostelecky, president of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, picked me up and off we drove, his GPS locked on the proper stretch of Chestnut.

The tour was sponsored by the ICAA chapter. Afterward, Shel drove me back to my car. Or tried to. We couldn’t find it. We found Salem City Hall but it had changed its stripes. So off we went to the post-tour social, at fellow board member Sally Wilson’s house in Salem. Amid serious hors d’oeuvres, I recounted my tale of woe, noting that I’d thought I had parked next to Salem City Hall.

Sally’s husband John speculated that I had parked at Peabody City Hall. So after the social, having already led Shel on a wild goose chase, I rode shotgun with fellow tourists Don Ceereh and his wife Gail Fenske (of Roger Williams University). It took only moments to find Peabody City Hall, and to my considerable relief there, with a sheepish grin on its grille, was my car.

I will not tell the white-knuckle saga of my trip back to Providence in the pouring rain, which is indeed universal, but will leave the next New England Diary entry to its own diarist.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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1 Response to New Engand Diary

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi David –I’ve been away. Just saw your note about changes at the Providence Journal. Want to write you. Do you have a new e-mail address? Cheers, Clem


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