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In Harvard, we all love our town government … the volunteers, the Town Meetings and the sense that we are all participants in the decisions that determine our direction.

One such decision was made back in 1971, when those who were here at the time decided that our historic properties were precious and we were losing them. We needed to protect them.

So we invoked the laws of Massachusetts to establish a Historical Commission by adding a bylaw for historical preservation: Chapter 48. We had a choice: We could limit its responsibilities to (1) just advising the town on how to preserve its historical properties, or (2) to actually regulate and limit the changes that were made to the exterior of the properties in certain historic areas of our town, or (3) we could require that both be done.

We chose to establish a Historical Commission that would do both. It was a great decision. And, a few years later, the town identified two historic districts, our Common and our Shaker Village, which would both be regulated by the Historical Commission.

This commission consists of nine volunteers who are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. We are down to seven volunteers and we may lose another commissioner soon, which will severely limit our abilities to do our work.

The two positions that are vacant are both alternate commissioner positions, each with one-year-terms. The positions offer the best way to learn about the historical preservation, history of Harvard, our inventory of historic places, etc.

We meet once a month, on the evening of the first Wednesday of the month in the Fireplace Room on the Center at the Common, the Old Library. The meeting, of course, is open to the public, so all are welcome to join us.

Would you please consider volunteering to join us? Visit our website at hhcommission.wordpress. com. You are welcome to browse our very rich website but do visit the JOIN OUR TEAM section and leave us a note that you are willing to put your “oar to the water” for your beautiful Harvard.

Joseph R. Theriault

Vice Chair, Historical Commission


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