October 12, 2022

Surrounded by the pageantry of autumn colors, the BHS barn hosted a gathering of no less colorful Brookliners: Mark Fessenden, Diane Austin, Eric DiVirgilio, Bob Canada, Peter Cook, Chris Corey, Marcia and Clarence Farwell, Gina Bent, Annette Quimby, George Winters, Peter Webb. The absence of Vicki and Jim Pope, was noted with regret. They have everyone’s best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery from what ails them. As always, the general public was more than welcome to our monthly meeting at 7 PM on the second Wednesday of the month. We look forward to their company.

Last months minutes were deemed a thing of rare beauty and approved as passably accurate. We moved on to the more serious topic of a report from our treasurer, Chris Corey. Revenues from our 2023 historical calendar are coming in. We’ve sold 112, more than half printed. They are available at the library and the town clerk’s office at $20 each. We are mailing out ordered copies with a $5 additional charge for mailing costs. The work party is always on duty at the Barnaby house on Wednesday mornings from 9 to 12, and calendars can be purchased at that time. Be sure to count your change. Let the record reflect that not only did Eric create the calendars, he has spent many precious weekend hours posted at the transfer station hawking them.

Chris advised that we’ve received a $2,196 insurance bill. Our electric bill was $150, phone (alarm system) was $50. Our funds currently total $24,473.41. We are pinning our hopes on selling all the calendars, a successful Christmas tree sale, memberships and the continued generosity of our supporters.

A review of our financial records indicates that, for the purpose of pegging the date the barn project began, the first related bill payment was on 9/9/11. Chris estimated that the dollars spent to build the barn, separate from volunteer goods and services and discounts, was $140,475.00, $31,250.00 of which was from the BHS treasury (largely the result of years of working bingo). The balance of the expenditures, $109,225.00, was donated. Astounding. Thank you to those whose generosity made it possible.

There will be another trial, no-charge, cribbage night at the barn on Wednesday, October 19, from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Diane Austin (d-austin-58@hotmail.com) will be in charge. Bring snacks if so disposed. No Alcohol. Prepare for simple fun and fellowship.

We were reminded that the BHS facility has heat, A/C, smoke and motion detector alarm. So, it is the perfect repository for cherished Brookline treasures. What’s more the treasures will be preserved and shared with future generations of lovers of all things Brookline. Thank you to the scores of folks who have contributed to our collections. We recently received a late 1897 volume of biographical sketches of Hillsborough County residents from Steve Gesel. The details of the lives of more than 20 early Brookliners are in the book. The articles are being scanned to minimize the books wear and tear, while making the articles available to the public. We also received from Mark Fessenden a remarkable paper posting of the September 26, 1892 schedule of the west and eastbound trains of the Brookline and Pepperell Railroad. We are in contact with the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, MA, and will ascertain what it would cost to properly treat and frame this irreplaceable piece of history. Chris Corey also blessed us with the care of a priceless photo of a group of locals at the counter inside the Railroad Snack Bar, a Corey’s Mobil business card, and a copy of a community calendar from the Brookline Community Church. That calendar, fondly recalled by many, used to list the birthdays, etc., of local residents. What’s more, Peter Cook donated 2 rare pieces of local script: an 1862 3 cent note issued by J.C. Tucker and an 1862 25 cent note from the Tucker & Styles store. We, our predecessors, and posterity, thank Steve, Mark, Chris and Peter.

The scale model of the Brookline Meetinghouse has been largely completed by the work party. Clapboarding and roof shingling remain, and will probably stay that way for a while. It is a memorial to the building that stood on the top of the knoll across Springvale Avenue from the Barnaby House from 1792 until its loss by fire in 1915. The work party and the celebrated study committee have settled on a plan of attack for building a new insulated interior wall and exit door inside the large barn doors. The purchase of the necessary materials will be the next step. Should the weather get ahead of us, the temporary foamboard panels will be reinstalled.

We then retired to enjoy the company of others and the refreshments. Our next meeting is November 9. I think it was the Gina who offered to do the refreshments next meeting.