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PEPPERELL — Since mid-July, a collaborative effort headed up by the Pepperell Historical Commission, with help from the Public Cable Advisory Committee and Historical Society, has been documenting the town’s past.

Living history is based on spoken word and physical sources like discussions or photographs. Diane Cronin, chairwoman of the Historical Commission calls the project a true community effort.

“We definitely are doing this to share information with others, but also to give more perspective and document it for future generations,” she says.

The Historical Commission has been working with volunteers to plan talks, lectures and other events to educate residents.

“People have been helping by sharing experiences or referring us to other people who lived through events,” Cronin said.

“We even get suggestions for topics such as the mill, railroads and businesses that have disappeared.”

Uncovering a list of “lost landmarks” has also been very exciting, says Cronin. Through faded images and interviews, which have been documented, an old picnic grove and theater were brought to light.

She says that one of the hardest things to do is create a venue where people feel comfortable. Cronin says small groups work best.

“Informal settings like in people’s houses and things have been very good for the project,” she says, adding that sometimes collective conversation, especially among seniors, is the most fruitful.

The Pepperell Historical Commission is still looking for volunteers. People who have ideas, referrals for sources or want to help out are encouraged to get involved.

Recently, North Middlesex Savings Bank offered a donation to enhance the project’s distribution capabilities and several interviews and lectures will be packaged on DVD.

A World War II discussion on July 22 went so well, Cronin says, that attendees were pushing for a second. Veterans were identified from a picture of a Homecoming Dinner in September 1946 there.

To get involved call 978-433-3232, send an email to:, or visit the Pepperell Living History cause on Facebook.

Upcoming events include on Aug. 19, a Memorabilia Morning program that encourages people to bring heirlooms, photos and relics will be held at 9:30 a.m. Both events will be held at the Senior Center.

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