We are deeeee-lighted to remove two buildings from Southborough’s Most Endangered List, Fayville Village Hall and the barn at 135 Deerfoot!
Fayville Village hall was purchased by Mr. John Delli Priscolli (who also bought and renovated 84 Main Street). He plans to preserve the facade, and renovate the interior as an antiques mart and auction house. This building had been subject to tremendous debate, with previous BOS members arguing that the town should simply sell the property and let the historic hall be torn down. Thanks to public pressure, and excellent work by members of the Southborough Historical Commission, a conservation plan was conceived, and now the Village Hall looks to be headed for another century of active use!
We are also delighted to announced that the barn at 135 Deerfoot Road has been carefully disassembled and is undergoing restoration in Vermont. There are some plans, yet to be confirmed, that it will reappear as part of Chestnut Hill farm. Regardless, it is not in a thousand splinters in some landfill, and that success can be entirely credited to you, my friends, members of the Southborough Historical Society! The Society kept up constant pressure on the developer to salvage the building, and at the very last minute, I was able to locate several parties interested in preserving the structure. Literally days before the lot was schedule to be cleared, they carefully labelled and stored every beam and rafter, so that this wonderful piece of Southborough’s rural history will live on. So if anyone tries to tell you that public advocacy for preservation doesn’t make a difference, you point them to this barn and advise them to think again.
Unfortunately, this good news is tempered by the arrival of bad. I’ll let my letter to John Warren, the headmaster of St. Mark’s school, speak for itself:
It has come to the attention of the Southborough Historical Society that St. Mark’s has requested permission to install 70’ light pylons to illuminate the field directly behind the historic Burnett Burial Park* and the Southborough Museum. We are heartily opposed to this request and ask you to reconsider it. We have already seen the disastrous results of putting these monstrous light towers in front of the Woodward School: they make the area look like a K-Mart parking lot and completely destroy the approach to the historic town center. I highly doubt that is the effect you wish to create at bucolic St. Mark’s, especially as this field has huge historical significance: it is, in fact, the former colonial muster-grounds, where the militia practiced for over a hundred years, and where our valiant residents gathered before they marched off to fight the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
In addition, there is the environmental damage these lights cause. Let’s forget for a moment the tremendous carbon cost of installing and running night lighting. All over the world, night skies are disappearing, and a majority of the inhabitants of North America can no longer look up from their homes and see the stars. Additionally, this light pollution is adversely affecting numerous species already stressed by the climate crisis.
For hundreds of years, our children, and your students, have grown and matured into productive, hard-working citizens without the nebulous benefit of illuminated playing fields. Given there is no apparent advantage to the human species, and clearly documented harm to many other species caused by these installations—not to mention the aesthetic destruction to our town fabric—I would ask St Mark’s not to make the same mistake the residents of Southborough made in approving the lighting for these fields. Few of us had any idea how ugly and destructive they would be. And since we can’t undo our mistake, why not use our town fields for the occasional night game? I’m sure St Mark’s and the town could come to some agreement. But if, after weighing the environmental damage, you MUST light yet another a field, perhaps the one closest to your solar array and out of public view might be an option.
Thanking you in advance for your consideration,
President, Southborough Historical Society
Please consider writing Mr. Warren directly to express your concern at yet another attempt at destroying what remains of our downtown. Also, please comment on My Southborough and help muster support to defeat this proposal. Finally, there will be meetings to determine the status of St Mark’s request on June 17 (ZBA, write here to express your objections to the chair) and June 22 at the Planning Board (write here for the same)
We’ve already seen how public advocacy for preservation works! Once more unto the breach, dear friends!
And thanks, as ever, for your continuing support.
* An earlier edition identified the Burnett Burial Park as St. Mark’s Cemetery. It is in fact the private cemetery of Joseph Burnett’s and his descendants.