July 14th, 2021

On yet another rainy evening, the following had the temerity to meet at the BHS barn: Marcia and Clarence Farwell, Eric DiVirgilio, Manuela Bajenaru, Vicki and Jim Pope, David Fessenden, Gina Bent, Bob Canada, Peter Webb. As always the public was welcome to our 7 PM meetings on the second Wednesday of each month. The minutes from the last and eminently inspiring meeting, sent by email to all people who have requested to be on the BHS group address list, were approved. The report of our faithful Treasurer, Chris Corey, was gratefully accepted. Of note were donations in honor of the 60th anniversary of Marcia and Clarence Farwell, as well as 2 lifetime membership payments at the current bargain price of $50.00 each, were noted. It has been suggested that the modest cost of a lifetime membership is a reflection of the advanced age of our membership. Actually the price was set when a dollar was worth a great deal more. A study group to adjust that price to present day values may some day be formed. Further, George Winters, who was rummaging through the records of this late, mother, Ellen Farwell Winters, donated a fifty dollar bill. That money had been a gift from the Brookline Fire Department to his grandparents, Grover and Pearl Farwell, over 60 years ago, in honor of their 50th anniversary. The gift had remained in the original envelope among the family records ever since. Thank you, Grover and Pearl.

The upcoming 2022 historical calendar of Brookline, the fine work of Eric, was discussed. Gina and Marcia had great success in quickly securing 12 business sponsors for the calendar. Nine have already paid the $100 sponsorship fee. The calendar, with photos and text of local historical significance, is being finalized. They will be available for sale at $20 in August. The printing will be limited, so interested parties are encouraged to let their interests be known. David called our Xmas tree supplier for an order form, and we look forward to a response.

Vicki and Jim, prime movers of the event, spoke of the 4th of July parade. It is anticipated that an article and photos will be available shortly. Given events of the recent past, getting the event up and running again was a bit novel, but they pulled it off. The parade was from the Pine Grove cemetery to RMMS. The viewing crowd was surprisingly large. The participants included the BFD, the BPD, 2 restored WW II jeeps driven by people in period attire, the Legion Color Guard, a Lions Club float, Selectpeople, elected officials, fancy sports cars, old trucks, local youth dancers, a very proud horse. The low cloud cover prevented a flyover from the Brookline Airport, but the parade was a very welcome return to normalcy.

A developer and the Planning Board sought BHS input on a road name, and the group recommended the name Woodlock Road, in recognition of an earlier owner of the subject property off Russell Hill Road.The BHS received complimentary admission tickets from Old Sturbridge Village for 4 people at a time throughout the summer. They are available upon request to the public. The portico roof off the barn needs attention again to secure the metal roofing to the outside wall of the barn. Great minds and hands will assemble to effect a more permanent remedy. The replacement window for the back side of the barn has been received and will be attended to on an upcoming Wednesday morning by our illustrious work party. The shed roof off the back of the barn remains stalled. We need a sketch, a calculation and the purchase of the materials. Eric Jensen has recently been indisposed and unable to continue his leadership of the project. The group sends its sincere best wishes to Eric.

The work party traveled this week to Greenbriar to visit one of their members, Del Porter, who had a recent fall. They were pleased to see that 97 year old Del’s feisty spirit remains intact, despite his lack of enthusiasm for the cuisine. The work party looks forward to Del’s return soon. The move of the hearse from the main floor of the barn was gratefully acknowledged, the work in large part of BFD’s Mark Fessenden and David Joki. An article with photos on the move appeared in hollisbrooklinenesonline.com. We thank the BFD and their crew. Track lights to best illuminate the hearse are in the works. With the freeing up of our floor space, we now have the ability to host small events and functions in our picturesque barn.

Eric reported that another project he has championed is about to become a reality: a state historical marker along Route 13 commemorating the story of the Fresh Pond Ice Company on Lake Potanipo (aka Muscatanapus aka Muscatanipus aka Tanapus). It is anticipated that the marker will be installed this fall. It will stand as an impressive memorial to the decades of ice business in town and a testament to Eric’s dedication to this remarkable story. Thank you, Eric.

The group engaged in an interesting discussion regarding Brookline mill stones. Parker’s History provides extensive albeit dizzying data on the many mills in town. See the BHS index. The vast majority of the mills were saw mills, but they also included scabbard mills (thin slices of wood used to construct boxes), a fulling mill (to process woven wool cloth), and a kit mill (whatever that is). There is scant information on local grist mills where grain was ground into useable flour. Nevertheless, there appear to be various mill stones, presumably of local origin, around Brookline. Five were identified in the course of our discussion, although the full stories of these artifacts are largely lost. One that was used as a headstone in the Pine Grove cemetery by Geraldine and Lot Phillips was said to have been found on their property on their Meetinghouse Hill Road property (now Liston). A second, purchased many years ago from Elmer Lathe on Pepperell Road, where it served as a well cover, is on on a pedestal on the lakeside Farwell property. A third, acquired from Dorothea Beaubin by Grover Farwell, is on Jerry Farwell’s property. There appears to be a fourth on the lawn of a property on Mason Road, formerly the Doll residence. The current owners will be asked for confirmation and any information they may have. There was information that a fifth exists on former Farnsworth property. Discussion included distinguishing a stone well cover, an equally interesting artifact that can also found in town, and a mill stone, some of which had a later use as decorative well covers.

Manuela has suggested tweaks to our website. The group agreed with her recommendations. Gina will explore the replacement of a cracked thermopane window on the Meetinghouse Hill Road side of the barn. Initial thoughts on hosting small functions were shared.

Spent by the volume of cognitive activity, a motion to adjourn was coaxed out of Vicki, seconded by an anonymous source and approved. All retired to enjoy the snacks provided by Amy and David Fessenden. Amy’s reputation as a gifted baker remains intact.