March 10, 2021

The assembled consisted of Susan Laub, Eric DiVirgilio, Bob Canada, Vicki and Jim Pope, David Fessenden, Eric Jensen and Peter Webb. 

Eric D. was thanked for leading last month’s meeting and his fascinating presentation of a sample of Sid Hall, the Elder’s, precious home movies of Brookline public life 50 or so years ago. Eric’s work continues and we all are grateful to Sid Hall, the Younger, for sharing his father’s work with posterity.

Minutes were approved and Chris Corey’s Treasurer’s report was accepted. Relative to financial matters, it was noted that this winter’s heating bill will be more than $2,500. The BHS’s accounts currently total $21,919.73. 

Work on the storage shed is progressing nicely. The Wednesday 12:30 to 3 work party has successfully hung the two doors it made with old-style strap hinges. The clapboards and trim have been replaced and scraped as needed. Holes patched. Indications are that the resident vermin has Vacated for new quarters. There was some discussion about how Stonehenge was built. Levers and rollers may be utilized to move the shed into final position. It is hoped that that exercise will help develop some expertise for straightening up some of the massive stones of our 200 year old town pound. Thank you to Jim Pope, Bob Canada, David Fessenden, and our newest volunteer, Eric Jensen, for his welcome contribution of expertise and historical narrative.

Amy Fessenden was thanked for her work on her most recent project, our House Book. The BHS collects in binders what it can get on old houses in town. The book’s success depends largely on info and photos contributed by homeowners, so all incoming material is appreciated. We are forever in a race against time to collect and preserve the story of Brookline.

The latest acquisitions include a turn of the century photo album, sent to us from far out West. The impression is that the album was once in the former Parker residence at the fork of Old Milford Road and Main Street. Some of the portraits are unknown; some are recognized as Fessendens. Support was expressed for making it a crime to not write names on the back of a photo. The book itself is in rough shape, and we will search for an appropriate replacement for preserving the photos. The album was brought to the BHS thanks to David Fessenden.

Bob Canada, on behalf of the local Legion, presented us with a wonderful early photo of their building, back when it was a school house, complete with children lined up in front. He, by the way, and Jim Pope have for years been rehabbing that building in their spare time. The Legion also donated some early documentation dating back to when it was founded 101 years ago, and a board inscribed by someone many years ago with information on the history of the building. The BHS is grateful and will preserve, protect and share these early Brookline artifacts.

Eric Jensen kept us entertained with stories about his home, the former Milford Street school, and, to the extent appropriate for mixed company, of his childhood in Brookline. We look forward to more, and hope that he’ll put pen to paper to assure that his personal library on the story of Brookline isn’t lost. 

We wandered into the matter of the town hearse, which currently graces the main floor of the barn. The idea of reworking the garage doorway for easy hearse entry and exit was explored, and may be put on the honeydew list. 

Eric DiVirgilio spoke of the recent inquiry from a professional historian hired to research the Bond Street Bridge, preliminary to its needed reconstruction. He and Webb have provided him with information they could assemble and will continue to do so. It was noted that the street and bridge, originally a steel bridge made by Kitteridge, were built specifically for the railroad depot. There were no homes on the road when it was opened in 1892.

There was much more interesting discussion, but these minutes are becoming hours. However, Amy Fessenden’s blueberry cheesecake bars must be mentioned as nothing short of amazing. Your secretary learned that sneaking an extra or two to his pocket was ill-advised. Upon his return home after the meeting, it became apparent that a personal problem had resulted.

The next meeting is Wednesday,  April 14, at 7 PM. Webb is the snackmaster.

As always, the public is cordially welcome.