Celebrate Southborough’s Historic District – June 27th

Join the Historical Commission for a "casual reception" at the Community House

Above: New signs highlighting Southborough’s Historic District are one of the ways the Historical Commission is seeking to encourage the community to preserve historical assets. (contributed photo)

Have you noticed the new signs for the “Southborough Center Historic District”? The Historical Commission is excited to announce that six of seven signs marking the entry points have been installed,

The commission is inviting the community to a “casual reception to celebrate” next week. At the event, members will also discuss potential future historic districts in town.

The event is announced as a celebration of:

Photo of Historic District sign (contributed)the culmination of a many-years-long effort to organize, define, research, win state and federal support for, and mark the Southborough Center Historic District, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The reception will be held on Thursday, June 27th at 7:00 pm, in the Southborough Community House, 28 Main Street. (A fitting location, since it’s a historic building in the heart of the district.)

Commission Chair Kevin Miller asked me to invite readers “to celebrate a little—at last—​and with a threefold goal”:

  • To thank everyone who has helped to make the district a reality—from neighbors in the district, to citizen volunteers on the boards and committees who offered invaluable support, to key Historical Commission alumni, to town employees who helped us get to the finish line.
  • To briefly explain the history of the effort and the shape of the district’s outline.
  • And to chat informally with interested folks about future National Register districts in Southborough. The Southborough Center Historic District may have been the first, but it should not be the last such district in our town. Could your area of Southborough be next? Let’s talk!

On behalf on Vice Chair Annie Pfaff and HC members Jim Blaschke, Grant Farrington, Michele Hokinson, Dan Blanchard, and Kelly O’Brien, I sincerely hope you’ll join us next Thursday evening for some celebrating (with treats!) and for a chance to chat with friends, fellow board and committee members, town officials, and neighbors about a future for Southborough that continues to honor our rich and vital past. Please drop by and say hello!

Miller’s message shared that the bronze signs, which were paid for using ARPA funds*, were installed by the DPW and the “installation team” led by DPW’s Chris Leroy at the following locations:

  • Historic District sign on Main St - westbound (contributed photo)Cordaville Road (northbound)
  • Middle Road (northbound)
  • Latisquama Road (northbound)
  • School Street (southbound)
  • Main Street (east and westbound)

The final sign will be installed near the intersection of Marlborough Road and St. Mark’s Street at the new Southborough Heritage Park.

The commission first announced its plans to pursue having the area of Main Street around the Town House recognized as an Historic District in the National Register in 2015. The official recognition happened in December 2021.

The bronze signs highlighting the area are just one of the ways that the commission is promoting the community to take pride in the Town’s historic buildings.

example of the new Historic House Sign (contributed photo)Recently, they rebooted another sign initiative. If you missed that news, click here to read about how owners of historic homes can apply to get a free Historic House Sign .

*The Town is entitled to spend about $3M of the American Rescue Plan Act funds approved by the Federal Government in 2021. An ad-hoc committee was formed to solicit community feedback and make recommendations to the Select Board. They recommended approving the Historical Commission’s request to use an estimated over $26K to pay for the signs. The Select Board agreed. The Select Board’s ARPA update in April showed that the actual project costs came in under budget, at $22.3K.

The ARPA Committee had justified supporting the project by stating it was among the Town’s Master Plan goals. (That wasn’t quite accurate, since it isn’t specified in the plan. However, the action is consistent with the intent of recommended steps listed on page 158 of the plan under “Protect and preserve all historical assets of the Town of Southborough”.)

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