PEPPERELL — In his book, Keeping Time: The History and Theory of Preservation in America, William J. Murtagh wrote: “It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future.”
Well, that conversation is a pretty loud one here in Pepperell.
“There are definitely some treasures in this town,” said Frank Kiluk, member of the Historical Commission. “There absolutely are.”
The Pepperell Historical Commission was established under state law in 1974 with the purpose to preserve, protect and develop the town’s historical assets. Members also strive to identify Pepperell’s historical resources and then make others aware of them.
Monday night, commissioners made two appointments before quickly getting to work and discussing ways to promote various historical sites and landmarks within Pepperell, a town that was made into a district on April 12, 1753, according to the commission’s website.
“Our history is what attracted me to this town in the first place,” said Dianne Cronin who was appointed Monday night as chairperson of the commission. “The history is why I cam here.”
Also appointed was longtime member Ron Karr to the position of commission clerk.
Ultimately, the meeting’s agenda outlined suggestions in promoting the town’s historical jewels. They discussed ways to better inform the public about the different areas of Pepperell, including the development of lengthy worded signs on the Rail Trail, the update the commission’s website and creation some sort of flier or pamphlet for when newcomers come in to town.
The main concern with the signs was location.
“We need to put the signs somewhere where people have time to read what is written on them,” Kiluk said.
The group agreed that a sign on the town line would not fare well on the streets because those driving will not have time absorb the information.
They have decided to go through Sites and Signs in Lomar Park, and according to Kiluk, the rough estimate for a sign would be $1,200, and that money would need to be raised through fundraising or private donations.
Cronin said that the Pepperell covered bridge has shown interest in donating to the cause, especially because the commission intends to try and use the signs to steer people off the Rail Trail and into the heart of Pepperell.
“We should try and show the changing look of Main Street throughout the years. Some people want to get off the trail and explore the rest of what the town offers,” she said.
They feel that Railroad Square would be the perfect place to first promote further exploration of the town, and because of its proximity to the covered bridge, the committee is very interested in helping out with the project, according to Cronin.
Another issue commission members felt strongly about was the update of the group’s website. For one, they want to identify more monuments and sites throughout town that have been lost over the years.
“Now, these buildings only exist in photographs,” said Karr.
Karr has been a huge contributor to the online web information. His passion for history is made clear through his writing and compilations.
Finally, they talked about creating some sort of flier or pamphlet that would be available to newcomers in town.
“I know that if I came in to town, I would want more information,” said Cronin.
The group discussed making them available at Town Hall, as well as at real estate agencies around Pepperell.
The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for May 2 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall.