2019 Annual Appeal

Dear Friends

After the flood at the museum in 2014, things seemed  quite dire at the Southborough  Historical Society. The building was soaked and moldy; the collections  were damaged  and scattered;  and much of the electronic cataloging effort done in the early 2000s was lost. The easiest thing to do might have been to lock the door and throw away the key. But instead, a dedicated group of volunteers decided  on rebirth. The building was gutted. The collections  were stored offsite for a year, and then arduously rehoused  in a completely  rebuilt interior. And, to bring the museum into the 21st century, an entirely new visitor experience was put into place, along with state-of-the-art cataloging and museum practice. While founded  in 1965, the Society was effectively re-founded  in 2015, and is now a youngster barely four years old.

And boy, how that baby has grown!

Membership  is up 350%. Volunteerism up 500%. Cataloged inventory has increased  by 2000 items. After a year-long $25K conservation  effort provided by CPA funds, our Civil-War burial flag will be returned  and displayed for the first time. Items donated  to the Society have risen by a spectacular 3000%,  thanks largely to a huge gift of Deerfoot Farm material from the late Paul Doucette. And perhaps most heartening  of all, our Winter Speaker’s Series, Heritage Day Fancy Flea, and our Holiday House Ideas Tour have all proven to be hugely successful, and will become  annual  events. (To that end, please remember  to save your unwanted antique  and collectible  items for us—we can even pick them up and store them for you until the October sale. Or, if you might consider  opening your home for next year’s tour, let us know!)

But just like any child, our Society requires expensive,  loving care, and that’s where you come in. I hope you’ll consider  helping this extraordinary  youngster grow and mature through a generous donation. The Society does, after all, hold the key to our Town’s precious  past, and with your help, shows the promise of many wonderful things to come as we enter the new decade.

Our best to you and yours this holiday season.

 

 

 

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Our mailing address is 25 Common Street, Southborough, Massachusetts 01772

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

You donate safely and easily on line by clicking the button below.




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.