Commission to offer Marlborough homeowners historic markers

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Doug Rowe (center), president of the Marlborough Historical Society, receives a new historic marker for the organization’s Peter Rice Homestead from (l to r) the Marlborough Historical Commission’s Vice Chair Andrea Bell Bergeron and Chair Bob Fagone. (Photo/Daniel McQuaid)

MARLBOROUGH – The Marlborough Historical Commission (MHC) plans to offer markers to residents who have preserved historic homes.

The commission members realize that a significant number of the city’s homeowners are eligible for this new initiative, noted MHC Chair Bob Fagone.

“Our commission members have literally driven around town, trying to pinpoint specific houses and we say, ‘We should get in touch with these property owners to make sure they’re aware that their homes are historic,’” he said.

“Generally speaking, if a house was built prior to 1930 or is about 100 years old, it’s eligible to be reviewed by the commission,” Fagone added. “There are a lot of houses out there that have some history.”

Also replacing existing signs

Some homeowners already have signs stating historic details, which they might want to replace.

“You see some pretty old signs that aren’t standard in any way,” Fagone said. “These signs have been put up on houses over the years. We could refresh them with our historic markers.”

The MHC believes that their new initiative will benefit individual residents as well as entire neighborhoods.

“With this initiative, our commission can participate in residents acknowledging that their house is historic,” Fagone said. “It makes homeowners feel better about their property and makes the neighborhood look better.”

Historic markers’ design

Like some private homes, the Marlborough Historical Society’s Peter Rice Homestead had a decades-old sign that became nearly illegible. The Historical Commission provided a new historic marker for the homestead.

Forthcoming markers will be designed to appear similar to the Rice Homestead’s new marker.

Measuring 12 inches by 16 inches, the markers will be hand-lettered and painted black and white on wood. The message can include a few lines.

“The markers should be placed on the front of the house, between six and nine feet above ground level,” Fagone suggested. “We’ll try to give the homeowners some leeway,”

The expected cost for homeowners is approximately $65 per marker.

Researching homes’ historical eligibility 

The MHC will use at least two resources to determine historical eligibility, including the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS).

“The first thing we’ll do is look at MACRIS to make sure that the house is worthy of being recorded by the state,” Fagone explained.

Another resource was compiled locally several years ago.

“We have a five-volume set of the 1994-95 inventory of each Marlborough home that’s listed as historical,” Fagone added. “We’ll research this document to see if particular houses match up with the information that we have. There’s a tremendous amount of history written about some of these houses.”

Joining Fagone on the Historical Comission are Vice Chair Andrea Bell Bergeron, Brendan Downey, Alan Slattery, Melanie Whapham, Pamela Wilderman and associate member Lawrence Reeves.

“If our commission makes the effort to tell residents there’s a history in the city of Marlborough that’s older than you, then maybe you can put this historic marker up because you’re a steward of the home,” Fagone said.

Email Fagone at [email protected] for more information about the MHC’s historic markers.

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