Help Save Our Lyscom Apple and Attend an Heirloom Grafting Master Class!

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, our Lyscom Apple, the oldest living tree in Southborough, is in very rough shape. So this spring we’ve decided to do something about it. The Society has ordered 20 semi-dwarf apple root stocks, and we’re going to graft 20 new Lyscom apple trees on Saturday, April 6th at the museum during our heirloom master class. If you’ve ever wondered how grafting works, or wanted to produce your own custom apple tree with multiple varieties on a single tree, now’s your chance.  After a half-hour introductory seminar inside the museum, we’ll go out in the parking lot and actually produce the trees. (Note for safety’s sake, unless you are an old hand, I’ll be doing the cutting, as the grafting knives are razor sharp; the rest is very kid friendly.) You’ll help gather and prune the scion wood, plant the root stock in a pot,  bind the graft together, and seal it. Plus, if you want, you can buy a tree, take it home, and plant it!

Class only $35/adult; $20/senior
Families with children $65
Add tree $75 (18 available)
Where SHS Archives and Museum 25 Common Street
When: Saturday, April 6th, Noon


Trees are grafted onto 1-2′ single bare root stems. Your grafted tree will be about 1.5′ tall, but should grow 2-3′ a year and produce  apples or two in three years, a few at first, then in increasing amounts. Not all grafts take; there will be no refunds for failed trees, however the tree amount may then be deducted as a charitable donation. Apples require a site with good soil and 8 hour/day of sun. Young trees must be protected from gnawing rodents and staked. Care instructions will be covered in the seminar.

Sign up required HERE

Southborough Historical Society Launches List of Endangered Historic Buildings

The barn at 135 Deerfoot Road

In keeping with its renewed mission of actively promoting historic preservation in Southborough, the Society today launches its list of historic structures that are threatened with demolition. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing you to various buildings around town,  explaining the factors that threaten them with destruction, and offering some suggestions for their preservation.

#1 The Barn at 135 Deerfoot Road

Number one on our list of endangered structures is the barn at 135 Deerfoot Road., which Brendon Homes purchased earlier this year as part of a 25-acre agricultural parcel, and then almost immediately applied to demolish. It is currently subject to the Demolition Delay By-law, though these protections will shortly expire. Some of you will remember my criticism of the Board of Selectmen for choosing not to place this agricultural parcel in front of Town Meeting to debate its acquisition and preservation—despite the recommendation to the contrary of every relevant Town committee and commission. And in fact, my comments turned out to be exactly on point. Instead of keeping the land out of development, the former farm will now be carved up into six housing lots,  the 1870s farmhouse will be destroyed, and more traffic and more school-age kids and more demands on our already overtaxed Town services will be a reality.

However, there is still hope for the magnificent barn.

This wonderful 19th century structure is in pristine shape. Made mostly of now-extinct American chestnut, the 3-story wooden barn is sound and almost entirely free of rot or pests.  Best of all, it is largely of mortise and tenon construction, meaning that it is put together with wooden pegs and fitted joints, much like Lincoln logs. This makes buildings like these very easy to disassemble and move—essentially you label the pieces and simply take them down in the reverse order they were put up.

Both the Historical Society and the Historical Commission have urged Brendon Homes to help move and preserve the structure, and there may be a glimmer of light here.  We have been investigating whether or not this magnificent barn might find a new home at Chestnut Hill Farm, where there is a need for  additional educational and meeting space.  What a fantastic act of civic responsibility it would be if Brendon Homes would subsidize the moving and preservation of this structure!

Let’s hope the agricultural gods hear our prayers, because it would be a crime to lose this very rare survivor of Southborough’s agricultural past.


Editor’s Note: Our Endangered Building List consists of structures that are actively threatened with demolition, demolition by neglect, or by changing patterns of use that would harm their architectural integrity. Buildings are added to the list in the order proposed, and their numeration does not necessarily indicate ranking or perceived  level of threat.