May 8th, 2024

On this night, 13 people were present to honor the heritage of this little spot on the bottom of New Hampshire: David Fessenden, Jim and Vicki Pope, Tim Austin, Chris Corey, Lynn Giblin, Vince Chamberlain, Bobby Canada, Judy Cook, Peter Webb, George Winters, Annett Quimby, Gina Bent. Others were welcome, but apparently chose to do so in their own manner.

The minutes of the last meeting received their usual tepid reception. For the lack of another version, they will just have to do. Treasurer Chris Corey reported on our finances. Incoming: $80 delayed Xmas tree payment, $190 for a family and a lifetime membership, $50 guitar raffle, $125 donation in memory of Loring Quimby, $1,000 donation for railroad poster conservation, $95 for town histories and index, $60 calendars, $31 donation can; total of $1,7556. Outgoing: $104.73 two months phone, $153.62 two months electric, $434.33 propane, $1,380 Xmas tree down payment, $75 State non-profit filing fee; total of $2147.68. In addition to funds of $14,403.99, we presently have $20,462.45 in certificates of deposit. Scrimp and scratch, we persist.

Judy Cook reported on the impressive work being done by those willing to be responsible for the cemeteries in town our Cemetery Trustees. Judy, in particular, has been heroic. We are grateful that those in eternal rest in our graveyards are being attended to with such diligent care. She is looking into having an old map of the Pine Grove Cemetery conserved. We agreed to pay $100 for a copy.

We have 3 large three-ring binders of old house info, mostly old photos of the early houses in town. Many irreplaceable photographic images have been donated. It is not uncommon for people to stop by the BHS and ask for information on a home they’ve bought or in which their ancestors lived long ago. Everyone with such photos or other house info is encouraged to allow us to protect and share such materials (or copies) for future generations. We feel that it is important that we do what we can to save this aspect of the story of life in our town. To make what we have manageable and accessible, we need someone to help organize the collection. We’re not sure what the best system might be. We need to have the homes somehow individually referenced and indexed. Street address would be necessary. Ideas are welcome. If this project is something you could help us with, please let us know: brooklinenh.historical.society@gmail.com. Thank you.

The town Planner, Michele Decoteau, requested the BHS’s advisory opinions on four street names for new streets in two developments in town. The local zoning directs that that is to be done. The consensus of the BHS is that new street names should be relevant to local history. By that practice, the new development becomes a bit more of a part of the local community from the outset. Further, the town fosters a bit of its historical identity. We discussed and proposed various names of early and noteworthy Brookline families for consideration. We are hopeful that the Planning Board will consider our proposals.

Lynn Giblin brought in a wooden chest top with a carving of the Scout insignia. She intends to have plaques made and applied to the top with the names of Brookline’s Eagle Scouts since the program’s inception. She asked whether this example of Brookline memorabilia could be displayed as a part of our collection. We unanimously approved.

There is an interest in facing the poured concrete walls of the lower gallery. Doing so would brighten up the space and provide more walls for hanging and displaying artifacts. Our diligent but antiquated Wednesday work party crew would welcome input on current cost-effective products for the project. When one member asked where we pick up some lath, we knew we probably should consult with someone who had knew about more current options.

Valerie Bergen donated a number of wonderful items, including precious old photos (with names written on the back), a stunning surveyor’s plan of Lake Potanipo and all properties surrounding it (done for the Fresh Pond Ice Company) and much more.  Thank you to Valerie and to her mother, Peg Ward Hall, for taking care of and donating these treasures. We also received some precious artifacts from Susan Fenske McDonough, sister of the late Mark Fenske, including a small milk bottle with a paper lid of the Delbert Porter diary business (the father of the Del most of us knew and whose farm was on the north side of Steam Mill Hill Road). We all fondly recall Mark, as well as his parents, Helen and Arthur. We were delighted to have Ron Rouleau pay us a visit. He came from south of Dixie with fond memories and cherished photos relating to his grandfather, who lived in the Visnaskas/Holcombe house. His grandfather had a granite quarry business in town. We had a wonderful talk.

Concern was again expressed about the condition of the cast iron watering trough on the Daniels Academy lawn. The trough originally stood in the road in front of the Village Store, in the middle of the intersection of Main Street and Steam Mill Hill Road. That was a time when the normal means of conveyance often needed a drink. As I recall it, an unplanned meeting or two with a motor vehicle contributed to it being moved to the town hall lawn. Anyway, forces are in motion to provide the ancient trough with needed care.

We agreed to sponsor a roadside Lions’ Club American flag. We’ve cinched a fixed price with Rymes for propane at $1.979/gallon. Christine St. George attended a NH Historical Society program on the American Revolution. She is deep into researching Brookliners who served in the Revolutionary War, in anticipation of the nation’s 250th celebration.  She noted that the Hollis Historical Society has kindly invited the public to view the magnificent colonial home of Fredericka Olson. The Brookline Lions Club will help support Gina’s work beautifying the Barnaby House’s flower boxes. Florence would be grateful. George Winters is working hard to come up with affordable options for the conservation of the 1892 poster announcing the celebration of the opening of the Brookline Railroad, a gift of the Brookline Library. The recent generous financial contribution to that project will help.