, Salem, MA

February 5, 2014

Letter: Peabody owes debt of gratitude to Bill Power

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

When I was a member of the Peabody City Council I never gave too much thought about preserving older buildings or statues or pictures or about the history of our city. I was mainly concerned about what was happening at the present time — the tax rate, our school system, zoning issues and the like.

Well, that all changed when I met Bill Power.

I remember when on the City Council agenda we would have an appropriation of money for a restoration of a picture or statue of some historical figure. Bill Power would come along and his words would be, “I really could use your support on this.”

And it was difficult to say ‘no.’ Bill Power was not looking for something for himself. Bill Power was genuinely interested in preserving the history of the city of Peabody.

Bill Power, as has been mentioned in a previous newspaper article, continued his involvement in preserving the history of the city of Peabody. I remember him walking through neighborhoods and fields locating long lost cemeteries ... and seeing to it being restored.

Peabody has a great leather industry history ... and through the efforts of Bill Power and others we now have a Leather Workers Museum so that our children can see what our parents went through 50 to 60 years ago to make a living.

Bill Power, encouraged by the passage of the Community Preservation Act, which allowed the city to spend upwards of $300,000 a year on historic preservation and housing, worked with others to rehabilitate parts of the library, City Hall, the Felton House and many other buildings in the city.

The areas of preservation that Bill Power and his friends worked on will continue to be treasured in our city. It’s great that we had somebody like Bill Power who had the foresight to see that they were preserved.

They say that you are never too old to learn, and I guess that’s me ... Bill Power taught me to appreciate history all the more.

Bill, on behalf of a grateful city, thank you!

Frederick L. Murtagh