Henry Cooke, IV, Chair
41 South Main Street
Randolph, MA 02368
Henry Cooke IV, Chair
D. Joseph Griffin
Stetson Hall accepted for listing on the National Historic Register.
Randolph Historical Commission - Annual Report for 2011
2011 proved to be a challenging year for the Historical Commission.
The year opened with the Commission trying to find a way to stabilize and preserve the town’s oldest house, the Stetson Homestead. Unfortunately, by Spring the Commission was no closer to that goal than when they started, and while a Friends group had started to generate support for the preservation of the house, it proved to be too little too late. The Building Inspector deemed the building to be unsafe and ordered it to be torn down in June.
A positive offshoot to this unfortunate event was the renewal of interest in local history and historic preservation. Towards that end, the Commission is applying for a state Survey and Planning Grant for the purposes of developing a comprehensive Preservation Plan as an addendum to the Town’s Master Plan. The current Preservation component of the Master Plan is of very limited value as a planning tool. If successful, the Commission will work with a preservation planner to identify and evaluate Randolph’s significant historic resources of buildings, structures and open spaces, and develop the planning tools needed to permit community development that will consider and respect these tangible aspects of our heritage.
To foster a renewed interest in Randolph’s history and its preservation, the Commission met jointly with members of the Randolph Historical Society, and the Randolph Women’s Club, and began to develop the conceptual outlines of a town historical museum. The Commission will be expanding the discussion in 2012 to include the Turner Free Library, the public schools and others in the creation and operation of a museum that would have displays in multiple locations in town, as well as portable displays in public buildings and traveling exhibits that would take history into the classroom, where students can experience it in a direct, hands on manner, perhaps aided or instructed by older students. The Commission hopes that the conceptual outlines can be fleshed out and concrete plans, budgeting and funding can be put in place by the end of 2012.
The effort to develop community support for preservation resulted in the creation of a social media outlet for publicizing the work of the Commission, the Historical Society and other entities involved in local preservation. The Friends of Randolph History Facebook site will be used early and often as we move forwards in trying to create a town historical museum.
The year saw changes in the makeup of the Commission, as Lesly Freed and Susan Ryan resigned to take care of health and family needs, and the Commission welcomed new members Mark Kittridge, Tina Brown-Walker, and Lynn Feingold to our ranks.
The year ended on a positive note with the restoration and re-dedication of the Civil War Memorial in front of Stetson Hall, and the listing of Stetson Hall on the National Register of Historic Places. Both are indicative of what our Town can achieve when our citizens and their government are working together towards achieving common preservation goal
As the Commission moves forward with these initiatives, we look forward to the feedback and recommendations of our citizens on these and other initiatives.
Henry M. Cooke IV, Chairman
Mary West, Secretary
D. Joseph Griffin