Much of the work of historic preservation involves generous people who understand and appreciate the importance of preserving our history and of preserving the artifacts of that history over the centuries. In most cases, these talented people dedicate a part of their lives to the work of historic preservation and to the appreciation of history. Some who own or manage businesses, generously offer to assist local historic preservation organizations by donating their services.

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40D, Section 8D encourages this benevolence by allowing that the “…Historical Commission may accept gifts, contributions and bequests of funds from individuals, foundations and from federal, state or other governmental bodies for the purpose of furthering the commission’s program…”.

We appreciate all of the volunteers, the donors, and the historic property owners who practice historic preservation, and the businesses who support that historic preservation effort in our town.

To all of our benefactors and volunteers, a heartfelt thank you!

∗∗∗  Our Preservation Volunteers  ∗∗∗

20130813 scorgie02v1.0crop

Miss Elvira Scorgie, on the front cover of the Town of Harvard 250th Anniversary Celebration booklet in 1982.

Nearly half a century ago, the town of Harvard with Elvira Scorgie at the lead, chose to begin the work of preserving its historic properties. The history of that work since the 1960’s is not well recorded but the results of the work are and we are taking full advantage of that work today. 
The Roll of our Preservation Volunteers below includes only some of the citizens who since the 1960’s have donated their time to work for or served on the Historical Commission or one of its Working Groups. These are the citizens who understand that unless we become involved in governing our town, some valuable services will go undone, perhaps even historic preservation. These volunteer citizens appreciate the importance of preserving our town history, and its historic properties. It is time that we acknowledge and celebrate those individuals who so generously invested their time and effort. 
SO HERE, WE WILL BEGIN TO ACKNOWLEDGE ONLY THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT WE KNOW OF AT THIS TIME. If you know anyone whose work should be acknowledged, please submit their name to the Historical Commission along  with a description of their work and the date.   
We begin with brief summaries of the key organizations and people who initiated the historic preservation era in Harvard. From the HISTORIC DISTRICT STUDY COMMITTEE, to the early HISTORIC DISTRICTS COMMISSION and the eventual HISTORICAL COMMISSION.


The 1969 Master Plan which was prepared by the Planning Board, called for the formation of a Historic Districts Study Committee to conduct ‘…an intensive study on the desirability of Historic Districts in Harvard…” and that action be taken by the Town Meeting to “…take advantage of the powers granted under Chapter 40C of the General Laws.” The recommendation was adopted by the 1970 Town Meeting and the following members were appointed to the Historic Districts Study Committee by the Board of Selectmen:

Nancy A. Case
Ruth A. Muller
Jerome A. Heywood
R. Lindsay Shives
William Newsham  (appointed Jun 17, 1971)
Rodney C. Eaton, Chairman  (appointed Apr 1, 1971)
Elvira L. Scorgie, Consultant
Lois H. Underwood, Consultant


At the 1972 Harvard Annual Town Meeting, the Historic Districts Study Committee recommended the enactment of the Historic Districts Bylaw (Chapter 48) to form the Historic Districts Commission  and to create the Shaker Village Historic District. Both recommendations were approved. The Commission first met October 17, 1972. At the 1973 Town Meeting, the Commission recommended  the establishment of the Harvard Common Historic District and proposed at Town Meeting that the Commission be give the additional powers, duties, and responsibilities of an Historical Commission. The recommendation was approved. 

Rodney C. Eaton, Chairman
Richard DeBoalt, Vice-Chairman
William Newsham, Realtor, Secretary
R. Lindsay Shives, AIA
Cloyce Reed
Doris Bigelow, Alternate
James K. Skilling, Alternate


The Historical Commission was authorized by the 1973 Harvard Annual Town Meeting. At the 1974 Town Meeting, the Commission recommended the enlargement of the Shaker Village Historic District which was approved. The Commission also studied the possibility of a Historic District in Still River but did not make a recommendation. In the 1975 Town Meeting, the Commission recommended the enlargement of the Common Historic District which was also approved.

1973 HHC Charter Members

Rodney C. Eaton, HHS; Chairman; 1975
Richard DeBoalt, HHS; Vice Chairman; 1977 
William Newsham, Realtor; Secretary; 1976
Elvira Scorgie; HHS; 1976
Richard Case; Planning Bd; 1977;
Louise Fletcher; ConsCom; 1977
Alan P. Dodge, AIA; 1975
James K. Skilling, Alternate
Louise Griffin, Alternate

Honor Roll of Preservation Volunteers
Our Roll begins with the earliest volunteers to the most recent. We will continue to add those from the past as we discover them...  (To read the credits for each individual, move your cursor over the name.)

scorgie eaton
case nancy newsham
case richard deboalt
shives fletcher
bigelow reed
griffin skilling
dodge newton
martin reifenstein
ostberg coots
lee cutler
saalfield sprague
frechette minar
feist horowitz

∗∗∗  Our Historic Preservationists  ∗∗∗

The Historical Commission wishes to honor the very special efforts and actions by some historic property owners and managers to preserve our historic assets. We reserve this section to focus on those very dedicated individuals.

The Historical Commission and the town of Harvard wish to congratulate Phil and Beth Wilson for the preservation of a very important historic property “Captain Thaddeus Pollard – Isaac H. Marshall House” at 327 Still River Road.


“Captain Thaddeus Pollard – Isaac H. Marshall House” at 327 Still River Road known by the owners, Phil and Beth Wilson as ‘Captain Pollard’s Flintlock Farm’. Click to learn more about the historic property.

Many years ago, the Wilson’s committed to restoring and enhancing the quality of the property which they have named “Captain Pollard’s Flintlock Farm”. Most recently, the Wilsons secured the preservation of the 16 acre property by inviting Historic New England to administer a perpetual historic preservation restriction. Thanks to their generosity and their expertise in preservation, the preservation of this most important historic property in the town of Harvard has been secured. A hearty thanks from the town of Harvard to Phil and Beth Wilson. The Historical Commission recently focused on the ‘Pollard-Marshall House’ as a ‘Historic Place of the Month‘.

A most successful historic preservation and expansion project is the Old Bromfield Library project that was led by a team of volunteers that included Roy Moffa, Pete Jackson, and Mary Wilson. Historical Commission architect Doug Coots remarked that “The new addition was designed with thoughtful respect and without imitation.” The Historical Commission congratulates the team for its resounding historic preservation success.


View of Harvard library with Old Bromfield building on left and new building on right. Click to enlarge.

Built in 1877, the Old Bromfield schoolhouse was transformed into a modern, community-focused library. The Queen Anne-style architectural and ornamental details on the interior and exterior of the original building were carried over to the new addition. The most dramatic improvement took place in a one-time classroom on the second floor, where acoustical ceiling tile was removed to expose magnificent old wooden trusses. This space was refashioned into Volunteer Hall, a new space for community meetings, performances, presentations, lectures, and cultural events. Today, the Library is an important architectural gem and civic center. The finished building received the AIA New England Design Award and the Massachusetts Historical Commission Historic Preservation Award.

∗∗∗  Our Donors and Benefactors   ∗∗∗

The Historical Commission is thankful for the generosity of the local businesses and others who donate their time and services to the Commission to advance historic preservation in the town of Harvard. We reserve this section to take special note of those businesses and individuals. We invite our donors to advertise here in this section. We encourage our residents to support these organizations who have been so generous to the Town of Harvard.


Click to visit the Harvard Lions Club website.

The Historical Commission wishes to thank the Harvard Lions Club for their generosity in supporting one of our historic preservation projects: the reproduction of the Shaker Cemetery gate by Scout Pat Pesa as part of his effort to qualify for Eagle Scout. The project was under the direction of the Historical Commission and was a collaboration with the Harvard Cemetery Commission, the Harvard Boy Scouts and the Harvard Lions Club.

robert adam

Click to visit the North Bennet Street School website.

The Commission thanks Robert Adam for his generosity in donating his time to serve as the Preservationist for our Powder House restoration project.  Robert serves as special advisor to the Preservation Carpentry program at North Bennet Street School. An accomplished cabinetmaker and carpenter with teaching experience in secondary, vocational schools, Robert implemented Massachusetts’s first historic restoration curriculum at the secondary level. Robert has a private restoration carpentry practice and is active at the state and local levels in increasing public awareness of preservation issues. As special advisor, Robert assists the full-time instructors and works collaboratively with both first- and second-year students on special projects. 

 jeff baer logoJeff Baer generously donated his time and services to prepare the old granite post at the Shaker Cemetery for its new gate reproduction. The craftmanship was superb and the new hinges fell right in place. Thank you, Jeff!

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