The Sturbridge Historical Commission is charged by statute as the local authority to determine the significance of local historic assets. Its goal to assist in the preservation of those assets, including but not limited to individual buildings, historic sites, open areas, artifacts, documents, and other real and personal property.
During 2005 and 2006, the town created digital replicas of town meeting records from 1738 through 1865. The purpose is to make these priceless documents more accessible to the general public, and to preserve them in case the originals might be damaged or destroyed at the town hall, where they are currently stored under less than ideal conditions. As individual volumes of “The Mind of the Town . . .” are completed, printed replicas and duplicate CD-ROMs join the Joshua Hyde Public Library’s collection. Each volume features an original interpretive essay placing its contents within the context of the times. Examples appear below.
With more than 2500 pages scanned and now available at the Library, the first phase is complete through the Civil War. The 2006 Annual Town Meeting approved an article to continue the documentation preservation project from 1865 through 1945, which will make another 2500 pages of town records available.
Also, over the past few years the Commission has expanded the town’s historical interpretive signage. The general boundaries of the Common Historic District are now noted by signs on Main and Haynes Streets. Additionally, informational markers have been erected at the Common, the Center School/Old Burying Ground, the North Cemetery, and the Snellville School, today’s Senior Center.
Funding for these projects comes from Community Preservation Act monies designated specifically for historic preservation. We deeply appreciate the support of both the Sturbridge Community Preservation Committee and the town’s voters in these endeavors. The Commission also works closely with the Board of Selectmen, the Joshua Hyde Library, the Town Clerk’s office, the Department of Public Works, and other elements of town government, and is grateful for their cooperation and understanding.
The Historical Commission meets regularly at Town Hall.