The Shirley Historical Society will lead narrated tours of the Shirley Shaker Village on Sundays, Sept. 12 and Oct.10, starting at 1 p.m. in Building No. 20 on MCI property.
Since this 200-year-old historic site is part of the state prison system, access is limited. The property was once home to 150 men, women, and children who lived, worked, and worshipped together. They built large dwellings, workshops, and barns.
The Shirley Shakers made brooms, mops, and applesauce to be sold to provide any food or other goods that they could not make themselves. They packaged spices and seeds, kept diaries, and wrote songs.
Every Shaker had a job to do, putting their hands to work while they gave their hearts to God. In 1909 the property was sold to the state of Massachusetts to be used as an Industrial School for Boys.
In the 1970s the Boys School closed and the prison opened. Since then, a medium security and maximum security prison have been erected on the site.
The cost is $15 to learn about Shaker history and go inside three of the old Shaker buildings. Special tours can be arranged for groups of eight or more. Reservations must be made in advance so we know whether or not a tour will actually be able to go forward. Call 978-425-9328 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.