Being Demolished

The Flagg School in 1936. The article lists it as Southborough’s first school, but it was in reality part of a second round of school buildings begun in the 1860s.

 

Dear Friends,

For the first posting of 2019, I thought it would be fun to share this newspaper clipping from a scrapbook once owned by Mrs. Arlene Morrison, who ran the general store in the Sealey Block on Main Street across from the old train station. (Older residents will remember the Gulf station on the corner of Main and Newton street that replaced the block. Both buildings are now gone.)

As you can see, the article reveals that the Flagg school, which is now home to the Southborough Historical Society, and where I now sit writing this, was scheduled to be torn down for timber— a fate suffered by all the other clapboard one-room school houses in town about the same time. What saved the building is unclear. But for whatever reason, calmer minds (or more than likely, continued economic downturn) saved the structure for us to enjoy today.

Which brings me to my main point. Every time we allow pieces of our historic fabric to be destroyed, it has a ripple effect of unintended consequences. In this case, a precious part of our educational history would have been lost forever, and the Museum would be homeless.  Think about the other missing buildings mentioned here, and what they might have been: the Sealey block converted into retail and living space on Main Street; the old train station made into a great pub; the Cordaville mills as condo and restaurant space. Loss is just that, loss, especially when these wonderful old buildings are torn down just to sit as vacant lots or parking spaces.

Finally, a quick reminder to those of you who haven’t sent in order forms for our new book, Lost Southborough or haven’t mailed your year-end contribution to the Society.  Please do! Or even easier, donate online! Contributions so far are lagging last year’s tally and we’ve way too much programmed this year to slow down now!

Happy New Year Everyone!

 

 

 

 

Plenty to Be Thankful For! Our Annual Appeal

Dear Friends of the Society,

As the holidays draw near, almost inevitably I find myself re-watching Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. If you haven’t seen this 1942 classic, or haven’t seen it in a long time, you really should. Not only are Bing and Fred in their prime, but it’s also the film that launched the timeless carol “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” There’s nothing like Der Bingle boo-boo-booing his way through that soulful song, tree aglow and fire crackling in the hearth. There’s another tune, too, which I particularly like, though it’s far less known: “I’ve Got Plenty to be Thankful For.” And with only a slight change in the pronoun from “I” to “We,” this catchy melody could be the Historical Society’s anthem for 2017, for indeed we at the Society have so much to be thankful for! For example, over the past year:

• the Museum building reopened to the public after four months of flood remediation.
• work on rehousing and re-cataloguing the collections began in earnest.
• our brand-new website launched, continually updated with new material.
• our digitization program commenced, with hundreds of new images now available online.
• the voice of the Society began to be heard in real-time preservation advocacy for Southborough.
• our membership doubled, and we successfully competed for and won several funding grants designed to help stabilize our collections and expand the Society’s outreach.

Now, however, 2018 dawns and work begins in earnest: over half our paper collection is still not properly housed; thousands of historic photographs remain to be documented and digitized; and the renovated museum space is just yearning for new exhibits, all of which have to be researched, designed and constructed. Plus, we are determined in 2018 to expand our educational outreach to the Southborough Schools — as a start, this past September we hosted a specially designed afternoon for all seven of Southborough’s 3rd-grade classrooms, an event which received highly enthusiastic reviews from students, parents and teachers alike.

So, this is where you come in. For the second year in a row, we’ve received a 10K grant from the Southborough Community Fund designed in part as a challenge grant to spur outside giving. In essence, every dollar you contribute to the Southborough Historical Society before the end of the year is doubled in effectiveness. I so hope you’ll be able to help us. If you do, we promise to keep the chorus going, making sure we preserve the best of Southborough’s past for its future.

Michael Weishan, President

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Or, by check to the Southborough Historical Society, 25 Common Street, Southborough, Massachusetts  01772

The Southborough Historical Society is a 501(c)3 public charity and your donations are deductible to the extent allowed by law.