November 10th, 2021

It was a dark and chilly night, one of those that quietly whispered: “Don’t be a fool. Stay put.” Refusing to yield to the seductive call of comfort, 15 intrepid folks made their way to the House of Barnaby for the monthly meeting of the Brookline Historical Society: Bob Canada, Vicki and Jim Pope, Gina Bent, Marcia and Clarence Farwell, Peter Cook, Pam and Elly Austin, Annette Quimby, David Fessenden, George Winters, Eric DiVirgilio, Chris Corey, Peter Webb. It was a striking performance in this era of hunkered-down agoraphobia.

David opened the meeting. Last month’s minutes were deemed passable. Eric reported that the sales of the coveted Historical Society 2022 calendar plug along. They are available at several locations including the library and the town clerk’s office. Thank you to them. They will be available at the BHS during the Christmas tree sale. It is estimated that half of the limited inventory is already gone. People are encouraged to thank our advertisers. We were reminded that another thoughtful holiday gift would be an engraved brick in the front walk to the BHS. Relative immortality for only 50 bucks. See the BHS website,, for the brick order form. Act now while supplies last.

The weekly Wednesday morning work crew has busy, to the extent that old coots can be. There has been painting, lawn care and erecting the Christmas tree racks. There has been filling 7 of our barn’s 12 high altitude woodpecker holes with expanding foam and capping them with painted covers expertly made by Mark Fessenden. One is hopeful that such inhospitable treatment will prompt the birds to move on to Hollis or Mason where there is no building moratorium. And, yes, it is purely a matter of the number of woodpeckers, not the species. Amy Fessenden continues her careful cataloguing and indexing of our collections. Thank you, Amy.

The Christmas trees are to be delivered by flatbed trailer from up north on Saturday, November 20, late morning. Any assistance appreciated. They will be sold starting on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and every Saturday and Sunday thereafter from 10 AM to 4 PM. Volunteers are needed for shifts. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the front door. Thank you.

Talking of our generous volunteer support, it was mentioned that there may be people out there who have the impression that the Brookline Historical Society might be funded to some extent by the town. For the record, that is mistaken. We lease the property from the town for a nominal sum, per approval at a special town meeting years ago. We improved the sloped lot and bought and moved the Barnaby House up from the west side of Route 13 in South Brookline in 1990. We rehabbed the house. We built the barn. We pay for all our utilities. We insure the place. Not a penny from tax dollars. All of that has been thanks to services, materials and funds generated by or donated to the Brookline Historical Society. Thank you to everyone who has helped.

Our offer to sign on as one of the charitable organizations for a local gaming business has not been successful, but our interest remains. Treasurer Cory’s monthly financial report was accepted. Contributions included those in memory of Del Porter and for lifetime memberships. Thank you, Chris. There was discussion of a modest over-55 housing development proposed for behind the former Monius house on Main Street. The concept was welcome for, among other reasons, enhancing residence use in the old town center, perhaps helping to foster the viability of the commercial use of the former Village Store. The story of the gravestone recently discovered in a shed on Meetinghouse Hill continued, with some small controversy. Eric has been busy scanning our collection of old local photographs. Thank you, Eric. The enhanced pictures may find themselves useful in future videos. We welcome contributions of other photographs to allow us the opportunity to preserve them in digital form and to share them with generations of future Brookliners. We’re going to hold off until warmer weather on replacing a cracked window in the barn.

The secretary excused himself at that point to attend to another obligation. It is assumed that the conversation thereafter became much more interesting, but the content will be lost forever in the mists of unaccountability. The next meeting is December 8 at 7 PM. Webb will provide the snacks.