August 9th, 2023

These minutes are thanks to the thoughtful kindness of Diane Austin, who has the handwriting of a penmanship instructor.

Present were: Diane Austin, George Winters, Eric DiVirgilio, Chris Corey, Christine St. George, Mark Fessenden, Bobby Canada, David and Amy Fessenden, Jim and Vicki Pope, Marcia Farwell, Gina Bent, Michele Decoteau.

Minutes approved. Treasurer’s report accepted: incoming = $120 from calendar sponsor, $20 from a 2022 calendar sale, $190 from cribbage; outgoing = $51 phone, $103 electric, calendar printing $1057.85. Balance remaining: $28,195.53.

Vicki reported that the Lion’s Club Penny Sale is on for Saturday, November 4, at RMMS. Folks willing to help out should contact Vicki. Eric has created a timeline illustrating the history of the railroad in Brookline. It is to be hung on the wall behind our railroad artifacts display case (also his gift). We are grateful and look forward to setting it up.

The town is looking to relocate the 1890 town safe from the town hall basement. They don’t use it. It weighs a godzillian pounds and is adorned with fancy landscape painting. Clarence Farwell can recall many years ago moving it from the first floor, outside and into the basement. Brookliners were surely much sturdier back then. We believe it should be preserved and we agreed to accept it. The challenge will be somehow moving the beast to the BHS basement, where it will enjoy the company of the 1909 town hearse and the 1856 Democratic cannon, among other treasures.

Eric DiVirgilio had asked us to try to identify an intriguing antique contraption of undetermined function. Great minds concluded that it may have been a tobacco or sugar cane cutter. Other minds were certain of it. Eric also mentioned that the BHS needs to respond soon to our propane company’s proposed agreement.

Mark Fountain forwarded an email showing his progress on what is certain to be the Sistine Chapel of Brookline, a mural of classic Brookline scenes that will cover the wall behind the cannon. He’s thinking completion may be shortly after Halloween. We want to have an open house/celebration on opening day.

Our 2023 Brookline Historical Society calendars are once again moving quickly. They’re available for $20 at the BHS on Wednesday mornings, 9 to 12. Contact one of the above attendees if that’s more convenient for you. The several gift-giving holidays are approaching and what a better way to show your love than a Brookline Historical Society 2023 calendar? Cribbaging continues on Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 8:30 at the barn. All are welcome.

The group addressed a proposed generous and important gift from Stephen Homoleski, a Brookline native son. The proposed gift includes extensive personal items, much relating to his impressive West Point and military career. It was decided that we are unfortunately limited in what we can handle to the items that are specifically Brookline-related. We will convey that to Mr. Homoleski. That was done after the meeting and he graciously understood and expressed his willingness to donate those items for our care and preservation. Mark Fessenden noted that the military museums at Fort Devens and in Portsmouth would welcome the military items.

The Nashua Historical Society is hosting a roundtable discussion for local historical societies on October 14 from 9 to 3. Issues facing those organizations today will be on the agenda. George and Christine have signed up to attend. John Wiedman gave Jim Pope a bush hammer for the BHS. It was used in granite work locally. Thank you, John for thinking of us. Mark Fessenden will get to Absolute Mechanical for input on a basement dehumidifier.

The Brookline Planning Board is working on a periodic updating of the town’s Master Plan, an informational report which is a statutorily-mandated comprehensive assessment of the Town’s physical circumstances and the townspeople’s preferences and goals. A town’s planning and zoning is to be predicated on the Master Plan it develops.

We were delighted to learn that the Brookline Lions’ Club anticipates being able to make a donation soon of $1,000 to the BHS. Thank you to the good people doing good work to help support their community and its organizations.

Michele Decoteau, Town Planner, joined us for input on the role that the Town’s heritage should have in Brookline’s planning process. We are grateful for her outreach. It was the consensus that the BHS must continue its efforts to promote our heritage in any way we can, including: identify and record historic structures, make signs available for historic structures, offer presentations on relevant subjects at the BHS, get more people involved, work on inventorying and cataloguing Brookline’s historic assets. A preliminary survey going out to the townspeople will raise these issues for their input.

Christine will do the refreshments for our next meeting on September 13.