Groton History Center

Groton History Center Founded in 1894 to preserve and share the history of Groton
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The Groton Historical Society was incorporated in 1894 and since then has acquired artifacts, documents and historical memorabilia that are significant to the history and lives of the residents of Groton. In 1933 the Society received the generous gift of Governor George S. Boutwell’s home from the estate of his daughter and founding member of the Historical Society, Georgianna A. Boutwell. This gift has allowed the Groton Historical Society to display and house the collections that it has acquired. In addition to serving the community as a museum, the Groton Historical Society actively publishes books and pamphlets and works with other organizations in town to promote Groton’s history. It also publishes a quarterly newsletter for members, holds quarterly historical programs which are open to the public and cover a wide range of topics relating to Groton’s history. The society provides assistance to genealogical researchers and offers educational tours of the Boutwell House.

Harvey Sargisson taught woodworking at Groton School from 1944 to 1970. After retiring he had more time to spend on his ...
11/21/2019

Harvey Sargisson taught woodworking at Groton School from 1944 to 1970. After retiring he had more time to spend on his own work: making furniture and carving birds, most from local trees in Groton. We’re beyond excited to announce that we recently received a wonderful collection of his birds carved in the 1970s and 1980s!

Does anyone recognize this view? (Hint: it looks very different now!)
11/18/2019

Does anyone recognize this view? (Hint: it looks very different now!)

Treasures can be found in unlikely places! This sweet sketch was drawn on a blank page in a songbook and reads ‘Gerrish ...
11/13/2019

Treasures can be found in unlikely places! This sweet sketch was drawn on a blank page in a songbook and reads ‘Gerrish Family.’

Boutwell House Holiday Hours
11/13/2019

Boutwell House Holiday Hours

Thank you to the men and women, both past and present, of the United States Armed Forces.
11/11/2019

Thank you to the men and women, both past and present, of the United States Armed Forces.

11/07/2019

Unfortunately we are canceling our tour of the Boutwell House this Saturday the 9th. Apologies for any inconvenience and please check back for updated program info!

1928 by-laws of the Tuity Rod and Gun Club. Does anyone have more information on this organization?
11/06/2019

1928 by-laws of the Tuity Rod and Gun Club. Does anyone have more information on this organization?

Who’s hungry?This tuna was caught in September 1958 and presented to the Groton Community Hospital. It ultimately yielde...
10/31/2019

Who’s hungry?
This tuna was caught in September 1958 and presented to the Groton Community Hospital. It ultimately yielded 62 pounds of meat!

Groton History Center's cover photo
10/30/2019

Groton History Center's cover photo

Groton History Center
10/30/2019

Groton History Center

In today's installment of: "You might feel old if...."You might feel old if your prom picture is in the archives at the ...
10/24/2019

In today's installment of: "You might feel old if...."

You might feel old if your prom picture is in the archives at the local historical society. Junior Prom, Groton Dunstable Regional Secondary School, May 24, 1985.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Barn Ramble last weekend. Here's a glimpse of recorded farm animals in 1899 a...
10/09/2019

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Barn Ramble last weekend. Here's a glimpse of recorded farm animals in 1899 and 2018.

Please note that the Boutwell House will be closed on Thursday October 10th and Monday October 14th.
10/09/2019

Please note that the Boutwell House will be closed on Thursday October 10th and Monday October 14th.

When you pick up a photo album and bonus pictures spill out from a secret pocket! #grotonma #palsofmine #boutwellschool ...
10/02/2019

When you pick up a photo album and bonus pictures spill out from a secret pocket! #grotonma #palsofmine #boutwellschool #schoolphotos #schoolpictureday #grotonhistory #oldclassphotos

Well, that's a strange looking horse. Raymond and Evelyn Dodge, Broadmeadow Road, Groton.
09/12/2019

Well, that's a strange looking horse. Raymond and Evelyn Dodge, Broadmeadow Road, Groton.

Thank you so much to The Groton Inn for hosting a wonderful reception celebrating the murals of Jonathan D. Poor! Many t...
09/09/2019

Thank you so much to The Groton Inn for hosting a wonderful reception celebrating the murals of Jonathan D. Poor! Many thanks also to those who came out and joined us in admiring these beauties.

Something fun for Friday! Just found this advertisement in a 1970 paper. Who are Leo & Paul?!
09/06/2019

Something fun for Friday! Just found this advertisement in a 1970 paper. Who are Leo & Paul?!

We're having a party! A Weeding Party! Please join us on the morning of Saturday September 7th to help spruce up our bea...
08/29/2019

We're having a party! A Weeding Party!
Please join us on the morning of Saturday September 7th to help spruce up our beautiful new park behind the Boutwell House.

Happy #nationaldogday! We combed through our photo albums to find these adorable dog pictures, all from the late 1800's ...
08/27/2019

Happy #nationaldogday! We combed through our photo albums to find these adorable dog pictures, all from the late 1800's to early 1900's (first 5 are from William Wharton's album, and the second is my personal favorite🎩)

It's that time of the summer...our interns have flown the (GHC) nest! What better way to send them off than with some vi...
08/26/2019

It's that time of the summer...our interns have flown the (GHC) nest! What better way to send them off than with some vintage Mad Libs and Cat's Cradle. Thanks, Kate & Taryn! Groton is very lucky to have so many bright and thoughtful students!

Hi Groton History followers! I'm Taryn, the one behind all of the Facebook and Instagram posts this summer, and it's my ...
08/22/2019

Hi Groton History followers! I'm Taryn, the one behind all of the Facebook and Instagram posts this summer, and it's my last day interning for the Groton History Center😞. I'm going into my senior year ar Groton-Dunstable High School, and I can't even begin to tell you how much I've enjoyed and learned in my time here. I've lived in Groton for most of my life, but never really knew about all the people and events that made this town what it is today. It was so nice to connect more with the place I grew up, and the people I met here that are so passionate about its history. From the wonderful volunteers I got to work alongside each day, to the loyal fans, this intership been an invaluable experience. I hope it's been fun for you guys too to learn with me about our little town. Have a nice rest of your summers!✌️Here are some of my favorite pictures from this internship🤩

Did you know Groton used to have 14 public schools? All 14 are circled in red on this 1831 map of Groton, and you may no...
08/21/2019

Did you know Groton used to have 14 public schools? All 14 are circled in red on this 1831 map of Groton, and you may notice how spread apart they are. Because children walked to school, it was necessary to have schools spread out across the town to ensure that everyone could receive an education. Originally, the schoolhouses were numbered, and later in the 19th century they were given names: #1. Butler School, #2. Moors School, #3. Lawrence School, #4. Dana School, #5. Common Street School, #6. Hobart School, #7. Chicopee School (also known as Sawtell School), #8. Trowbridge School, #9 Willard School (also known as Brooks School), #10. Prescott School, #11. Sandy Pond School, #12 unknown (located in South Groton), #13. Chaplin School, and #14. Winthrop School. Four of those original fourteen schools are still standing today: the Prescott School, the Lawrence School, the Sawtell School, and the Sandy Pond School. Which of the 14 schools would you have attended if you were a child in the 19th century?

Here's a link to the unedited version of this map which is very clear if you zoom in on it:
https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:1257bd171

Happy National Relaxation Day! Relaxation is, and always has been, essential to a happy life, and some of the happiest p...
08/16/2019

Happy National Relaxation Day! Relaxation is, and always has been, essential to a happy life, and some of the happiest people are those who pursue their passions. One of the best examples of this is Groton resident William P. Wharton, who lived in Groton from 1893 until his passing in 1976. He was very active in wildlife protection, and directed the National Parks Association, New England Forestry Foundation (which he helped found), and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. He had many hobbies all centered around wildlife, some being birdwatching and yachting. His vast yachting experience actually earned him some impressive jobs. In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked him to survey the Everglades region on boat, blimp, and plane to determine if it was a good candidate for a National Park. The decision to make the Everglades a National Park was based mostly off of Wharton’s expertise. Hopefully this story inspires you to pursue your own passions, as they can open up doors for you that you may not have expected. Below are some pictures William Wharton took while boating, and a few of his dog.

Here’s another piece (literally) of Groton’s history that you may not know: it used to have a 10,000 acre triangular pie...
08/14/2019

Here’s another piece (literally) of Groton’s history that you may not know: it used to have a 10,000 acre triangular piece of land in New Hampshire. After losing large amounts of land to what is now Littleton, Groton was granted a large piece of land in between then Townsend and Dunstable in 1736. This piece of land wasn’t connected to Groton at all geographically, but was in Groton’s possession and called “Groton Gore.” It was mainly used as land for grazing, until the New Hampshire line was drawn in 1741. The line was drawn completely below Groton Gore (making it property of New Hampshire), and that was the end of Groton’s brief occupation of New Hampshire.

Visit the Groton Inn when you need your dose of local artwork!
08/13/2019

Visit the Groton Inn when you need your dose of local artwork!

Don't you just love this?! It's called "Summer Visitors at The Groton Inn" by Bedford, NH artist Betsy Craumer and it is part of the collection on display at the Inn right now. Join us Sunday, August 18 from 2-5 p.m. for our next artist reception to browse the art, meet the artists and enjoy complimentary beverages and hors d'oeuvres and music by Groton's own Charlie Peterson.

Welcome to the Boutwell kitchen! Here are some of my favorite kitchen items and gadgets:The first two pictures are of a ...
08/12/2019

Welcome to the Boutwell kitchen! Here are some of my favorite kitchen items and gadgets:
The first two pictures are of a set of weights used for measuring ingredients for cooking on a scale. The next is a recipe book from 1880 sold by D.H. Shattuck in Groton, containing recipes for all occasions, including different cakes and puddings (we’re thinking of trying a couple of these out sometime!). The fourth picture is a Dasher Butter Churn that belonged to the 7th minister of Groton, Rev. Samuel Dana. The next two pictures are of an egg beater that was patented on November 5, 1901. The seventh picture is a wooden ladle, and the eighth is of a Model HUB Oven, both are from the 19th century. Come in for our next tour in September and see all of our charming historical culinaria!

For #nationaldollarday we went through our currency collection and found these historic dollars and coins! (pictured in ...
08/08/2019

For #nationaldollarday we went through our currency collection and found these historic dollars and coins! (pictured in this order)
1.) 1776 ⅙ Dollar found in a rat’s nest
2.) 1777 Continental 3 Dollar Bill
3.) 1777 British “Cartwheel” penny next to a modern dime
4.) Another angle of picture 3
5.) 1780 Massachusetts Bay Dollar
6.) 1861 North Carolina Dollar
7.) 1862 North Carolina Dollar

#onthisdayinhistory George Washington created the "Badge for Military Merit," better known as the Purple Heart, in 1782....
08/07/2019

#onthisdayinhistory George Washington created the "Badge for Military Merit," better known as the Purple Heart, in 1782. It was discontinued for almost 150 years until Douglas MacArthur reinstated the badge for George Washington's 200th birthday, and is now given to soldiers who are wounded or killed in battle, and in some cases POWs. 177 years after the badge was created, the U.S. Explorer 6 satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1959, making today the 60th anniversary of the first photo taken of Earth from space, and without a doubt one of the clearest!

Today marks the 8th anniversary of one of the saddest events of the past hundred years in Groton, the fire at the Old Gr...
08/03/2019

Today marks the 8th anniversary of one of the saddest events of the past hundred years in Groton, the fire at the Old Groton Inn. The Inn opened in 1780 and was run for 231 years before it was catastrophically damaged in an electrical fire in 2011. Despite the great loss it was to our town, it did unite us in mourning. And in true Groton fashion following a tragedy, we picked ourselves up and started anew. Although events like these are heartbreaking, they are a test of our strength as a community, and we always find a way to march on, keeping with us the stories and lessons of our past. One such story is that of the old Bucket Brigade in 19th century Groton. Each family would have a bucket with their name on it, and when a fire started in town, all were expected to bring their buckets to help extinguish the fire. And then, of course, the fire department would check after the fire to see whose buckets were absent and send them a fine. So whether they helped extinguish these fires because of concern for their community or their bank account, we can’t say. To end on a lighter note, we wanted to bring a recent local act of heroism to light. The linked article describes the incredible courage displayed by two Acton firefighters, Shattuck and Captain Smith.
https://www.facebook.com/112014061184/posts/10156980127221185?s=100013311636473&sfns=mo

Groton High School's Class of 1968! See any familiar faces?
07/31/2019

Groton High School's Class of 1968! See any familiar faces?

Today marks the 325th anniversary of the Longley Massacre in Groton, where William Longley, Deliverance Crisp, and 5 of ...
07/28/2019

Today marks the 325th anniversary of the Longley Massacre in Groton, where William Longley, Deliverance Crisp, and 5 of their 8 children were killed. The massacre was carried out by several members of the Abenaki tribe, which resided mainly in New Hampshire and Vermont, as part of King William’s War. Although William and Deliverance were killed in the massacres, 3 of their children were spared (but kidnapped) by the Abenakis. One of the children, Betty, died shortly after the kidnapping, but John and Lydia survived to adulthood. John ended up enjoying his time with the Native Americans so much that he had to be removed with force when he was ransomed back in a prisoner exchange. Lydia converted to Catholicism and served as a nun in Montreal, later becoming widely recognized as the “First American Nun.” There is a memorial for the Longley family that you can visit on about a minute down Longley Road on the right.

Today's underrated artifact from the Boutwell House: George Boutwell's Senate Chair. When senator Henry Wilson was elect...
07/24/2019

Today's underrated artifact from the Boutwell House: George Boutwell's Senate Chair. When senator Henry Wilson was elected Vice President, George Boutwell resigned as Secretary of the Treasury and entered the race to fill Wilson’s seat. He defeated Henry Dawes for the position, and served for 4 years. During his time as a senator, he opposed inflationary bills, and backed the Civil Rights Law of 1875. After his term as senator, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed him to update the Statutes of the United States to include the laws implied by the Supreme Court decisions of the past four years. And he took home this Senate Chair (is that allowed?)

Take a look at this beautiful piece in the Boutwell House given to George Boutwell by the first Japanese Ambassador to t...
07/15/2019

Take a look at this beautiful piece in the Boutwell House given to George Boutwell by the first Japanese Ambassador to the U.S., Mori Arinori (who served from 1871-1873). It was used to hold calling cards and is painted with intricate traditional Japanese designs. Arinori is considered to be the founder of Japan's modern system of education, and advocated for secular education, freedom of religion and equality for women.

We took a deep dive into the newspaper archives today and found some articles (quite funny), recipes and puzzles from th...
07/10/2019

We took a deep dive into the newspaper archives today and found some articles (quite funny), recipes and puzzles from this week in 1887! From a scathing essay on pet goldfish to a tale of a rat's shenanigans, there is a consistent toungue-in-cheek element to these newspapers that makes them a fun read. And kudos to you if you can solve #213, we probably spent a half hour trying to figure it out.

Nineteenth-century Groton was dotted with small industry. Mills and shops hammered, shaped, and carved various goods usi...
06/27/2019

Nineteenth-century Groton was dotted with small industry. Mills and shops hammered, shaped, and carved various goods using soapstone, iron ore, pewter, clay, and tin. This small cream can was made many years ago at Frank M. Blood’s Tin Shop on Hollis Street. According to a note attached to the can – donated by Roy Johnson in 2016 – it was made on the property at 52 Hollis Street, the building now rebuilt and somewhat reconfigured. The note states that the tin shop operated on the property until 1938-1940. In "Groton Houses," Virginia May writes that the tin shop originally stood on Main Street near the corner of Elm Street before it was moved in two parts. The writer of the note made sure to pass along another bit of information: “Frank Blood, an excellent tinsmith.”

An 1879 Auction poster for real estate and personal property. I had so hoped that "shoat" (highlighted below) was some s...
06/17/2019

An 1879 Auction poster for real estate and personal property. I had so hoped that "shoat" (highlighted below) was some sort of funky sheep/goat hybrid, but alas, dictionary.com tells me it's a "young pig."

Groton High School girls' basketball team for the 1943-44 school year. We'd love to put names to this photo...recognize ...
06/13/2019

Groton High School girls' basketball team for the 1943-44 school year. We'd love to put names to this photo...recognize anyone?

Notes about Groton recorded in a December 1900 newspaper...."The large coon weighing twenty-four pounds, which was exhib...
06/12/2019

Notes about Groton recorded in a December 1900 newspaper....

"The large coon weighing twenty-four pounds, which was exhibited in Hodgman & Sargent's market Wednesday, was shot near Harvard by D. H. Rollins."

"Helen Keating, who has been attending a business college, is home and suffering an attack of mumps."

"Zara Patch was eighty-eight years old on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Though now reckoned among our oldest citizens, he enjoys very good health and has a most remarkable memory."

Fort Devens Museum
06/06/2019

Fort Devens Museum

Low-level aerial photograph of the Normandy coast dated 19 May 44. Harlan Fitch, of Groton, was involved in this reconnaissance mission. Fort Devens Museum Collection. Thanks to the Moore family.

The weather is looking fantastic for Sunday's walking tour focusing on the churches of Groton. Meet at First Parish at 2...
06/03/2019

The weather is looking fantastic for Sunday's walking tour focusing on the churches of Groton. Meet at First Parish at 2 PM on Sunday the 9th and bring your walking shoes!
For more details visit: grotonhistory.org/events

Detail of an 1823 painting by Mary Ann Bancroft (1809-1841), youngest daughter of Amos and Sarah Bancroft. The view is f...
05/23/2019

Detail of an 1823 painting by Mary Ann Bancroft (1809-1841), youngest daughter of Amos and Sarah Bancroft. The view is from the northwest attic window of the Bancroft house which once stood next to the Boutwell House.

Mystery Monday! This advertisement (circa 1912) lists "The Knoll" for sale and locates it "near Groton School." Presumab...
05/20/2019

Mystery Monday! This advertisement (circa 1912) lists "The Knoll" for sale and locates it "near Groton School." Presumably the house no longer exists, but if anyone has any info, family stories, or perhaps even photos, please let us know. We'd love to know more about it!

Please join us this weekend to help work on our new garden! You'll get some fresh air, a work-out, and a feeling of prid...
05/13/2019

Please join us this weekend to help work on our new garden! You'll get some fresh air, a work-out, and a feeling of pride in helping create Groton's newest public garden space.

Address

172 Main St
Groton, MA
01450

General information

Office hours: Monday 10-2 Wednesday 10-2 Pre-arranged appointments for research purposes are recommended.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 14:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 14:00
Thursday 10:00 - 14:00

Telephone

(978) 448-0092

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