Historic House Sign program — apply ASAP (Updated)

Owners of qualifying historic homes can apply for a free sign from the Historical Commission.

Above: If you have a historic home in good condition, you may qualify for a free sign to mark your pride in preserving a piece of Town heritage. (scroll down for photo credits*)

After a long hiatus, Historical Commission is promoting its relaunched Historic House Sign Program. It is encouraging owners of qualifying homes to apply prior to June 30th to receive a free sign.

The Town’s website promotes:

example of the new Historic House SignThis program offers owners of historically and/or architecturally significant Southborough homes or other buildings the opportunity to show their commitment to historic preservation and to Southborough’s rich history with a plaque commemorating the building’s date of construction and, in most cases, its historic name. Participation in the program does not restrict the property owner with regard to current or future renovations.

Although free, the program is limited to homes that the Historical Commission agrees meets its criteria.

The house must be a “Historic Building”. Those are mostly 85 years or older, but I have seen some built as recently as the 1950s included in the historic registry based on details deemed historically/architecturally significant.

Homes must also “be in good repair, contribute to the streetscape, and retain sufficient integrity of features to convey its original architectural and/or historic identity.”

For details on qualifying/applying, click here.

The commission’s program was originally launched ten years ago. It was part of members’ efforts to encourage the preservation of historic homes in Southborough.

Unfortunately, the program had to be put on hold after the maker of the original hand-lettered wooden signs died from Covid-19.

Over the past year, the commission has been working on the relaunch. First they found a new sign maker (Signarama in Southborough) and finalized the details of the new version of the sign. (The signs are now printed on PVC. While not hand lettered, they are expected to hold up better in the long run.)

(Left to right in photo: Annie Pfaff, Vice Chair; Kevin Miller, Chair; Karen Mutalik; Praveen Mutalik. Photo: Marci Jones)They were able to award the first of the new signs last fall. Miller and member Annie Pfaff presented one to Karen and Praveen Mutalik, owners of 28 East Main.

The sign highlights that the home was the “Andrew Sellers House”. Miller noted that the architectural style of the home built circa 1875 was Second Empire

Rather than quickly promoting the program to the wider community, the Commission decided to take time to refine their criteria and terms for the program and update the town’s web page. That included voting to offer the signs for free.

The signs cost the commission about $75 each. In hopes of making the program self-sustaining, the commission is encouraging donations. (See the website for details, under the “Cost” header.)

According to Miller, the Historical Commission now has an donation account administered by the Town Treasurer. Right now, the commission is seeking to encourage applications before the end of this fiscal year.

Anyone with questions about the program is encouraged to email the Historical Commission at historical@southboroughma.com

*(Cover images L-R: example sign from Town website, contributed photo by Marci Jones of the Mutaliks receiving their sign from the Historical Commission.)

Updated (5/24/24 9:00 am): After a commenter raised issues about problems using the original email address the story and Town website shared for inquiring/applying (and some back and forth through comments), Kevin Miller shared that the website was updated and that the new email address the public should use is historical@southboroughma.com.

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Andre Fortin
25 days ago

Hi Beth,
I tried to contact the commission this morning on this story, but was unable to get through to their posted email. This is the automated reply I got:
“The group historicalcommission only accepts messages from people in its organization or on its allowed senders list, and your email address isn’t on the list.”
I’m not sure how to contact them otherwise. The Town Website doesn’t have any further info that I could locate.
Thanks for any info!

Kevin Miller
25 days ago
Reply to  Andre Fortin

Andre (and Beth), what would preserving the old be without the occasional kick in the pants from the new?
In any case, the good folks in IT have resolved our technical glitch, and the Historical Commission is open for business. Thanks for your interest!

Andre Fortin
25 days ago
Reply to  Kevin Miller

Hi Kevin and Beth,
Many thanks for your quick response.
I’ll try this again!

Andre Fortin
25 days ago
Reply to  Kevin Miller

In any case, the good folks in IT have resolved our technical glitch, and the Historical Commission is open for business.

Unfortunately, not yet. I tried twice (12:49PM and 2:09PM) and still receiving this same message from the postmaster:
Try again tomorrow? :)

Screenshot-2024-05-23-at-2.04.04 PM
Kevin Miller
24 days ago
Reply to  Andre Fortin

Andre, from your screenshot, it looks as if the email address you used is still the old one (it was updated on our webpages by IT yesterday morning to simply historical@southboroughma.com, and messages to that address are definitely getting through to me). But you (or anyone) are also very welcome to email me directly at the address on the Historical Commission’s landing page: kmiller@southboroughma.com. Thanks for hanging in there, Andre–I think you’ll be glad you did!

Last edited 24 days ago by Kevin Miller
Andre Fortin
24 days ago
Reply to  Kevin Miller

Kevin, thanks for your reply and additional info. I hadn’t picked up on that update. I’ll use the new address now.
Thanks again, and best regards,
Andre

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