Harvard Historical Society

Harvard Historical Society We are a private, non-profit organization that is not related to the town's Harvard Historical Commission. Our members and generous contributors support our operations and capital spending. We hope you will become a member and join us in discovering Harvard’s rich history and how that history has shaped the present-day town we love.
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The Society is located in the Still River Meetinghouse, now a museum of Harvard’s past, where our collections are displayed, including furniture, tools, paintings, and other objects. Periodic exhibits depict the town’s history and its people. • Concerts feature musicians performing in the meetinghouse, known to be acoustically superb. • Art exhibits allow local painters and crafters to share their creativity with the community. • Discovery Open Houses showcase the extensive collection of the Society. The archives are a treasure trove of information about Harvard. Maps, photos, books, documents, town reports, personal narratives are all windows to a past that influences Harvard today

Anyone remember this day in 1987 and the giant saw?
03/02/2020

Anyone remember this day in 1987 and the giant saw?

Ice Cutting 1987 on Bare Hill Pond. There are several pictures and it looks like they have antique saws and tools.  Mayb...
03/02/2020

Ice Cutting 1987 on Bare Hill Pond. There are several pictures and it looks like they have antique saws and tools. Maybe someone can name these people.

This photo looks like cutting ice in more recent times.  Does anyone remember this or know who the people in the photo a...
03/02/2020

This photo looks like cutting ice in more recent times. Does anyone remember this or know who the people in the photo are?

Mother Anne's Birthday February 29th - The Square House in Shaker Village was Mother Anne's headquarters for missionary ...
02/28/2020

Mother Anne's Birthday February 29th - The Square House in Shaker Village was Mother Anne's headquarters for missionary trips around New England.

Another negative scanned, this one in better condition. The trees in the background seem like recent growth.  No date or...
02/25/2020

Another negative scanned, this one in better condition. The trees in the background seem like recent growth. No date or name available.

This picture was scanned from a very old negative in the HHS collection.  The title is Ice Cutting in Bare Hill Pond. We...
02/25/2020

This picture was scanned from a very old negative in the HHS collection. The title is Ice Cutting in Bare Hill Pond. We wish it was clearer, but it does give an idea of the ice cutting business in Harvard. Unfortunately the negatives are not very clear.

This picture from the early 1900s shows the church without any addition.  The horse sheds, where the horses and carriage...
02/18/2020

This picture from the early 1900s shows the church without any addition. The horse sheds, where the horses and carriages spent the day while the owners were in church, are to the right in the photo.

Harvard's Winter Crop - *www.harvardhistory.org*What did some farmers do in January and February?
02/18/2020

Harvard's Winter Crop - *www.harvardhistory.org*
What did some farmers do in January and February?

Be sure to like the Harvard Historical Society's page to see more from out amazing archives.
02/15/2020

Be sure to like the Harvard Historical Society's page to see more from out amazing archives.

The stage coach in front of the Inn. This Inn is still here and is now condominiums. It was next to the Old Hotel/Wetherbee Tavern in the post below. The stage coach went to the Depot to pick up railroad passengers, freight, and probably the mail.

This very old photograph was recently donated to the HHS. It was printed from a glass plate negative. The scene is looki...
02/11/2020

This very old photograph was recently donated to the HHS. It was printed from a glass plate negative. The scene is looking south on Shaker Road, the Square House is on the left. On the right side of the road is a row of dwelling houses, only one remains today. On the far right are the roofs of the Herb Barn and probably some other buildings, ( because of the angle it's hard to tell exactly what buildings.)
Thank you to the generous donor!

The stage coach in front of the Inn.  This Inn is still here and is now condominiums.  It was next to the Old Hotel/Weth...
02/04/2020

The stage coach in front of the Inn. This Inn is still here and is now condominiums. It was next to the Old Hotel/Wetherbee Tavern in the post below. The stage coach went to the Depot to pick up railroad passengers, freight, and probably the mail.

The Elm House on Harvard Common burned in 1880 and was replaced with the Public Library.  The Elm trees were killed in t...
02/04/2020

The Elm House on Harvard Common burned in 1880 and was replaced with the Public Library. The Elm trees were killed in the fire as well, so the early pictures of the library show no trees in the area.

Looking north on Ayer Road in 1897.  The street is not paved yet. The Unitarian Church was built in 1875, when an earlie...
01/28/2020

Looking north on Ayer Road in 1897. The street is not paved yet. The Unitarian Church was built in 1875, when an earlier church burned. The current white colonial style church was built in the 1960's when the church in the picture burned. Town hall was built in 1872.

1983, Carlson's has a familiar logo and the stand was on Rte 110.  Look at all the things you could get at the store.  F...
01/20/2020

1983, Carlson's has a familiar logo and the stand was on Rte 110. Look at all the things you could get at the store. For those who don't remember, the stand was where the current post office is now.

From January 1983, photo by Barbara Kemp, after a snowstorm.
01/20/2020

From January 1983, photo by Barbara Kemp, after a snowstorm.

The Tall Case Clock - *|www.harvardhistory.org|*
01/20/2020

The Tall Case Clock - *|www.harvardhistory.org|*

This is the "old grain building" moved from the site of the current general store in 1896 to 9 Mass Avenue. ( It was the...
01/13/2020

This is the "old grain building" moved from the site of the current general store in 1896 to 9 Mass Avenue. ( It was the Bull and Willard store when it was on the Common.) It was taken down in the 1950's.

The title is Luncheon Break Party, Harvard Common, November 1886.  Is this an early car or is it a horse drawn carriage,...
01/06/2020

The title is Luncheon Break Party, Harvard Common, November 1886. Is this an early car or is it a horse drawn carriage, and the horses are too far to the right to see them? It looks like a wonderful day for November. It's not clear if these are Harvard people or just passing through.

A photo from the archives shows the Whitcomb Reed house, considered the finest mansion on the Common at the time.  It wa...
01/06/2020

A photo from the archives shows the Whitcomb Reed house, considered the finest mansion on the Common at the time. It was on the corner across Mass Ave from the General Store. This house and the Farwell House next door burned in 1917 and were never replaced. The small road visible in the picture is still there--the names of many of the roads have changed over the years.

Happy New Year to all! - *www.harvardhistory.org*
01/02/2020

Happy New Year to all! - *www.harvardhistory.org*

We received this picture of Mary Abbot as part of a generous donation today.  Mary founded the Harvard Garden Club and w...
12/31/2019

We received this picture of Mary Abbot as part of a generous donation today. Mary founded the Harvard Garden Club and was also active in the Girl Scouts.

12/11/2019

The Harvard Historical Society's Annual Meeting will take place tomorrow evening, Thursday, December 12. The meeting will beheld at The Congregational Church's Fellowship Hall, 5 Still River Rd. A business meeting will begin at 7:00 PM followed by a program to celebrate Westward Orchard's 100th year of business at 8:00 PM. Come for one or both. Good food & great conversion will follow.
Harvard Congregational Church, 5 Still River Rd, Harvard, Ma.
www.harvardhistory.org
https://www.westwardorchards.com/

Christmas card by Agnes Abbot, this might be a scene at her home on Bolton Road.If you aren't sure if you've paid your d...
12/10/2019

Christmas card by Agnes Abbot, this might be a scene at her home on Bolton Road.

If you aren't sure if you've paid your dues, please email [email protected] and we'll let you know. If you'd like to make a donation, join, or pay dues, go to our website, www.harvardhistory.org and look on the members page. You can use Paypal or send a check to Box 542, Harvard MA 01451.

Two Harvard Santas from Christmas past.
12/09/2019

Two Harvard Santas from Christmas past.

Holiday quiz---Here's a Christmas doorway from 1996--anyone recognize this door?
12/09/2019

Holiday quiz---Here's a Christmas doorway from 1996--anyone recognize this door?

A great gift from the Harvard Historical Society, The Harvard Album, by Dianne Newton.  160 pages of historic photos of ...
12/09/2019

A great gift from the Harvard Historical Society, The Harvard Album, by Dianne Newton. 160 pages of historic photos of Harvard with historical commentary, from the archives of the HHS. We are happy to ship for the cost of postage, or you can pick up at the HHS, Monday or Tuesday afternoons, 1-5 at 215 Still River Road. $35 dollars all proceeds benefit the HHS.
Also available, a box of 12 notecards with 4 scenes of the Common from the Pollard Paintings in the collection. $15.
Questions--email [email protected]

HHS Annual MeetingDue to snow the Harvard Historical Society has rescheduled their Annual Meeting for Thursday, December...
12/05/2019

HHS Annual Meeting
Due to snow the Harvard Historical Society has rescheduled their Annual Meeting for Thursday, December 12. The meeting will beheld at The Congregational Church's Fellowship Hall. A business meeting will begin at 7:00 PM followed by a program to celebrate Westward Orchard's 100th year of business at 8:00 PM. Good food & great conversation will follow.
Harvard Congregational Church, 5 Still River Rd, Harvard, Ma.
www.harvardhistory.org
https://www.westwardorchards.com/

ANNUAL MEETING CHANGE OF DATEBecause of the snow and parking problems, the Annual Meeting date has been postponed until ...
12/04/2019

ANNUAL MEETING CHANGE OF DATE
Because of the snow and parking problems, the Annual Meeting date has been postponed until we find a new venue. Date and location will be announced soon.

The meeting will feature a presentation for the Westward Orchards 100th Anniversary, after the business portion of the meeting.

The Historical Society, in its mission to preserve Harvard’s past, hopes its members will educate themselves on the Comp...
12/02/2019
Sign the Petition

The Historical Society, in its mission to preserve Harvard’s past, hopes its members will educate themselves on the Complete Streets Plan that will bring changes to town center. The Select Board plans to vote on the project at its meeting Dec. 3. The Society thinks it’s important to weigh the benefits of the changes to the sidewalks around the Common and to the intersection of 110 and 111, and the new traffic pattern for parking at the General Store against the effects the changes will have on the rural and historical character of the town center historic district.

There is a discussion on Nextdoor Harvard about the proposed changes --search Urbanization or Trevor Smedley to find it on Nextdoor. The petition is below.

Stop the Urbanization of Harvard’s Historic Town Center!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.
11/29/2019

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite – only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it. How sweet to think of! my extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”

-Henry Thoreau in a letter to Harrison Blake; December 6, 1856.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Harvard Historical Society
11/27/2019

Happy Thanksgiving from the Harvard Historical Society

Here's a postcard showing the Pergolas area.  No date on the card unfortunately.  Thanks to everyone for the comments on...
11/26/2019

Here's a postcard showing the Pergolas area. No date on the card unfortunately. Thanks to everyone for the comments on the previous photograph.

Harvard note cards will make a great holiday gift.  12 notecards with 4 Harvard scenes, $15.  We are happy to ship for t...
11/25/2019

Harvard note cards will make a great holiday gift. 12 notecards with 4 Harvard scenes, $15. We are happy to ship for the cost of postage. Send an email to [email protected] for ordering info.
This card shows the Old Library around 1887. The trees in the area were lost in the fire of 1880 that destroyed the Inn building that was there before the library. The library was dedicated in 1887. The personal library of William Emerson, father of Ralph Waldo, formed the basis for the book collection.

Today we received a donation of this beautiful photograph of the columns at Fruitlands.  This photo was taken in 1979. W...
11/25/2019

Today we received a donation of this beautiful photograph of the columns at Fruitlands. This photo was taken in 1979. What became of the columns after they were taken down?
If you have old photographs of Harvard please share! We love photos, just send us scans if you don't want to donate the photos themselves.

Bromfield 1980 --a long thin picture we had to post in two parts.  Help us name the students.  Any idea what event this ...
11/18/2019

Bromfield 1980 --a long thin picture we had to post in two parts. Help us name the students. Any idea what event this was?

This picture should go into the archives--it just says "Homecoming Decorating Committe."  Anyone recognize a friend?
11/18/2019

This picture should go into the archives--it just says "Homecoming Decorating Committe." Anyone recognize a friend?

We recently acquired this old postcard showing the "Great Tree" in front of the Pollard house in Still River.  This enor...
11/12/2019

We recently acquired this old postcard showing the "Great Tree" in front of the Pollard house in Still River. This enormous sycamore was notable in 1893, when Nourse's History of Harvard, says it was 15 feet in girth at 5 feet from the ground. The tree is still standing and looks much bigger now.

A poem for Veterans' Day written in 1915 by John McCrae, a Canadian army doctor, following the death of his close friend...
11/11/2019

A poem for Veterans' Day written in 1915 by John McCrae, a Canadian army doctor, following the death of his close friend and compatriot Lieutenant Alexis Helmer. Flanders Fieldswas the place of World War I battlefields in the medieval County of Flanders, which now spans southern Belgium and north-west France.

For Veterans' Day, a picture from the dedication of a WW2 memorial that stood on the Common for many years.  It was made...
11/11/2019

For Veterans' Day, a picture from the dedication of a WW2 memorial that stood on the Common for many years. It was made of wood and was replaced.

Doe Orchards
11/09/2019

Doe Orchards

"Back in the day", Whit and Bud Doe removing rocks from the land that gives us blueberries!

Address

PO Box 542 - 215 Still River Rd
Harvard, MA
01451

General information

The Curator's Quarters is open most Monday and Tuesday afternoons from 1-5. If you are interested in finding out more about the Society or have research questions, see the addresses below.

Opening Hours

Monday 13:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 13:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(978) 456-8285

Alerts

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Comments

Hello I have a print of a Harvard map from 1870 that I would like to donate. Any interest? It has the names of the landowners on it. If interested let me know where and when I can drop it off. Thanks, Sue
Merry Christmas, Harvard Historical Society! I'll retake these on another day, not winter, when there is more color!
My Harvard Memories still have a place at the top my tree along with the bulbs I would with my mom, May she Rest In Peace. I also miss the small hometown caroling on Withington Lane. It was more like a second trick or treat. I miss the tree lighting. An chance you could post significant events like the tree lighting and the fourth online. And I ask again..........does anyone yet know where the time capsule is? Thank you for all you do. Just a side note........for the Fourth all of us who have lived in Harvard should put together a float this year. I will represent the Harvard Garrison.
Haven't got tickets to the Barn To Barn tour yet? Get them today!!!! You can purchase them at the Harvard Historical Society in Still River today 1-5 pm or 6-8pm. Can't get there? Purchase online at www.harvardhistory.org!
Dear Harvard Historical Society, My name is Stephen Howe. I am an associate professor of historical linguistics in Japan but was born in England. I am researching special words for “no” and “yes” in Massachusetts. Colonists from the East of England, where I grew up, may have brought "dow" and "jess" to New England in the seventeenth century. Four hundred years later, these special words still survive. Gerald E. Lewis gives an example of "daow" in How to Talk Yankee: Did you get your deer yet? Daow, I can’t even see one. And an informant from New Hampshire gives an example of "jearse" or "jess," stating that “I totally just thought this was a weird NH thing”: Hey, have you seen where the muffin tins went? Hmmmm, jearse, in the oven I think. In the East of England, we still use "dow" and "jearse" today. However, these words for “no” and “yes” are not recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary or the Survey of English Dialects. Nor were they recorded by the Linguistic Atlas of New England; but the Dictionary of American Regional English cites daow, daowd, dow, doh or day-oh in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well as New York State. There is also daow in New Hampshire. For “jearse" or "jess,” informants in my survey cited jass in Upstate New York and possibly Vermont, jearse in New Hampshire, and jyes or djess in Maine and Massachusetts. I am writing a book on "jess" and "dow" and wonder whether it might be possible to ask your members whether they know either of these words? I would be most grateful for any information you may have. I have more information about my research plus a survey that readers can complete online at http://yesandno.info/ Yours sincerely, Stephen Howe ============================================= Dr Stephen HOWE Associate Professor Department of English and Graduate School Fukuoka University Japan Website: http://yesandno.info/ =============================================
I've never noticed this stone marker before, right next to the side steps of the General Store. "C"is for ??
Hey there, since FB makes it virtually impossible for users to search their own sites, are there any plans to further split photos up into folders, for example 'class pictures', 'town events', etc.? And would the Harvard Post be amenable to scanning the paper's old photos in (if they haven't been doing already)? Thanks, R. Pittelli formerly of Elm Street.
Can anyone recommend a good book about the town's history? I am also looking for a book about the Shaker community. I would appreciate any suggestions.
Writing a genealogy article on ancestors who lived in Still River area from the 1730's to 1780's. Have come across three places in deeds: Plumtree Intervale, Willards Pond Meadow and the Neck of the P.ond. I am assuming the later two are east of Still River Rd in the vicinity of Willard Lane. The other I am assuming is the lowland in the southwest corner of Harvard east of Nashua River. Anyone familiar with these place names? Thank you.
Ayer Rd. farm, June 6, 1938. Now owned by Mrs. Hazel.
Ayer Rd. farm circa 1910. Pictured l-r, Walter Hill Roberts, Elizabeth Bell MacKay, unknown workman, and Alice Souther Daniels Roberts. Farm currently owned by Mrs. Hazel.