The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 17, 2009

Historical survey aims for fall completion

Consultants Anne Forbes and Gretchen Schuler reported that they have completed drafts of 120 out of the 200 properties to be included in the Historic Resources Survey when they spoke at the June 30 meeting of the Historical Commission. Forbes said they expect to complete the survey “by the end of October of this year.”

The inventory of Carlisle’s historic properties was approved by Annual Town Meeting in 2006. Up to $41,000 in Community Preservation Funding was allocated to the project, to catalog not only old buildings but also historic landscapes such as the Town Center, burial grounds and agricultural properties (see “Surveying Carlisle’s historic properties,” Mosquito, May 16, 2008.)

At the beginning of the project, preservation planning consultants Forbes and Schuler drew up a list of local properties of historic interest. Since then, they have photographed and researched the history of the properties. The completed document will be reviewed by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

The state provides guidelines for the types of information to be cataloged, including the dates of a structure’s construction and major alterations, as well as the sources of historical data. Surveyed properties are also to be evaluated for eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. Only two buildings in town are currently on the National Register: homes at 523 Curve Street and 1044 Lowell Street.

Commission Chair Peggy Hilton asked whether Forbes and Schuler could add a field to the report that includes the present homeowner’s name. Schuler responded that they do not include the present homeowner’s name unless something significant is brought to their attention; normally they will add a homeowner’s name if a noteworthy event happened 50 or more years ago. Commission member Geoffrey Freeman said, “It would be a quagmire” to add current homeowners’ names to the report. A compromise was reached: Forbes and Schuler will ask commission members to add any information thought relevant about the properties, including present owners.

Another question posed by the commission was what will happen after the project is done and homeowners come forth with corrections or information they want to add. According to Forbes and Schuler, once submitted, the Massachusetts Historical Commission does not allow the forms to be changed. However, the state allows “continuation sheets” to be added to the original submission.

Forbes and Schuler also asked the commission how it felt about dropping or exchanging properties in the report. An example given is how they would like to add Saint Irene’s parish hall (built in 1960), and drop a not-so-terribly-significant house built in the 1950’s that burned down in the early 2000’s. The commission agreed that their idea was a good plan. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito