October 11th, 2023

The fall foliage this year has been different. Maybe it was all the rain we had? One thing that remains constant, however, is the monthly gathering of folks with a fondness for the story of the little patch of earth that we, for the moment, each call home: Bobby Canada, Peter Webb, Diane Austin, George Winters, Eric DiVirgilio, Vicki and Jim Pope, Chris Corey, Clarence and Marcia Farwell, Amy and David Fessenden.

The minutes from last month’s meeting were approved by a slim majority without much enthusiasm. Chris gave us an update on our finances. We received $700 in calendar sales. 138 calendars remain and we just got an order for 13. Thank you to Tom Humphries and Diane Austin for camping out at the transfer station to sell calendars. Cribbage paid in $180 for a couple week’s work. Expenses consisted of electric – $30, phone – $51.92, HVAC filter – $94. Someone will look into the phone service as it is only for the alarm system and seems high. We will have our yearly insurance bill next month – $2,289.00, as well as a $2,000 payment for the Christmas trees. We are $316 short in the fund for the artwork behind the cannon. Mark Fountain projects an 11/1 completion. We plan to have an open house when the work is installed. Our treasury has a current balance of $29,468.94.

The Christmas trees are to be delivered to the BHS on Saturday, 11/18, at approximately 10AM. Thank you in advance to the sturdy souls willing to join us that day to help unload, rack and price the trees. The trees will be sold starting the Friday after Thanksgiving and each Saturday and Sunday thereafter, 10 AM to 4 PM, until we’re sold out. Thank you also to the folks willing to help us sell the trees. A schedule will be posted on the front door of the Barnaby House for sign up. It’s actually fun getting together with new and old friends and neighbors filled with a holiday spirit. Bring along a safety jacket, if you have one, so that the customers know whom to ask for help. Thank you lastly but not leastly to our loyal customers. We are grateful for your business. Parents: members of The Brookline Lions Club will be doing cookie decorating on Saturday, December 2, at the Christmas tree sale.

chronological display of the history of the railroad in Brookline

Eric DiVirgilio has built and donated a magnificent work that he just completed. It is a large chronological display of the history of the railroad in Brookline. Most of us know the remaining vestiges of the railroad: the Cottons’ home that was the former depot, the rail trail hiking paths, the trestle abutments across the Nissitisset by Mason Road on which Clarence Farwell built the covered bridge. Eric has now provided us with a visual depiction of the full story, from 1844 concept to 1939 abandonment. A gifted carpenter, researcher and graphic artist, Eric has assembled a timeline with copies of rare documents, diagrams and archival records. The work party crew managed to hang the display with a minimum of bloodshed. Thank you, Eric. And thank you to his family for their patience.


We have been blessed with another important donation. Jay Chrystal has generously donated a local millstone to the BHS. There was a time long ago when Brookliners got their flour from local water-powered gristmills. Those mills used round flat millstones to grind the grain. Two such stones were stacked on top of each other on their side with a small gap between them. The grain was poured into the gap and crushed between the stones as one was turned on top of the other. One of the stones had grooves chiseled in the surface to force the ground grain outside of the stones where it was collected. The mills are long gone, but several millstones still remain in town. This one had long-served as a well cap at the old Monius place on Main Street. The house was far beyond repair and Jay Chrystal is currently working to develop the property. Dan and Gina Bent once again helped provide the know-how and heavy machinery to install this 400-or-so pound artifact in front of the Barnaby House. Thank you to Jay and the Bents.

Speaking of moving ridiculously heavy stuff, we need to gather the forces to liberate the old town safe from the furnace room in Town Hall. Webb will see if he can muster the folks and equipment necessary to do so. The safe is a true work of art and hasn’t been used by the town for many years. It will be relocated to the concrete floor of the BHS’s lower gallery.

The next convocation of local history aficionados will be November 8. The public is always welcome. Refreshments will be on a potluck basis.