ARTICLES ON LOCAL HISTORY
White Cliffs Architecture & History
By Norm Corbin, 2015
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Meeting House Common Historic District
By Norm Corbin - Posted on Northborough Patch, April 13, 2014

Northborough currently has one Local Historic District, the “Meeting House Common Historic District.” It was established 41 years ago at the April 1973 Town Meeting. The district is centered around the Unitarian Church and contains properties along Church, Pleasant and Whitney Streets. It includes seven private homes, the Unitarian Church, the colonial section of the Howard Street Cemetery and the Minuteman Muster Site along Pleasant Street.

Local Historic Districts are created through a local bylaw and are a means for protecting historic resources within a town. As stated in Massachusetts General Law, Local Historic Districts have 3 major purposes; 1) to preserve and protect the distinctive characteristics of buildings significant in the history of the Commonwealth and its towns, 2) to maintain and improve the setting of those buildings and 3) to encourage new designs within the district compatible with existing buildings in the district. Local Historic Districts work with property owners so that changes and additions are harmonious with the street view aesthetics of the district.

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Rev. Whitney Parsonage
By Norm Corbin - Posted on Northborough Patch, March 23, 2014

The site of the Peter Whitney parsonage has been a unique witness to the early development of Northborough's history. The land this house was built on was granted to John Radiet in 1672 as part of the original Marlborough Plantation. The first house was built sometime prior to 1741 by his son in-law Nathaniel Oaks who married his daughter Mehitabel.

From 1741 to 1744, before Northborough had its own meeting house, religious services were held here. Subsequently, Northborough's first two ministers (Rev. John Martyn and Rev. Peter Whitney) resided and penned their sermons at this location. In 1780, the original house burned and the current home was built on the original foundation.

In the days before separation of church and state, the clergy often set the political as well as religious tone. Peter Whitney in particular was very active in espousing the patriot cause before and during the revolution and published a number of pamphlets based on his sermons. Rev. Whitney was well acquainted with John Hancock and John Adams. He also wrote the first history of Worcester County here and dedicated it to his friend, John Adams, Vice President of the United States. His son, also named Peter and raised in the house, was ordained minister of Quincy and officiated at the funeral of President John Adams.

The home and grounds have been lovingly restored by the current owners. Thank you Marie Nieber for information on this property.

Rev. Whitney Link Pages 41-47 in: book.google.com

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Assabet Hill & Park
By Norm Corbin - Posted on Northborough Patch, March 4, 2014

With an elevation of 450ft, Assabet Hill has always been a prominent feature just off the main road in Northborough center. It was originally called Liquor Hill but the name was changed to Assabet Hill in a ceremony on July 4th 1836, primarily because of the temperance movement at the time. The web link below has information about the history of the original name and the ceremony to change it. In past years, the hill and park were used as a center for town events including the 100th and 150th year celebrations and recruitment efforts for World Wars I and II. In 1909 it was donated to the town by Cyrus Gale Jr. Currently, the park at the base of the hill is very popular with its splash pad, playground and basketball court.

Photographs circa 1900 show how both the town center and hill looked during that time. The hill had fewer trees and the park was used to graze horses. My thanks to the Historical Society for providing the old photographs.

Pages 180-186 in: book.google.com

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civil war memorial Civil War Memorial
By Norm Corbin - Posted on Northborough Patch, October 20, 2013

The Civil War Memorial on Main Street was erected in 1869 and lists the names of the 29 residents who gave their lives. The Civil War was fought 150 years ago. For more information see the book by Robert Ellis, go to amazon.com

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henry knox trail Henry Knox Cannon Trail
By Norm Corbin - Posted on Northborough Patch, October 04, 2013

Historic markers were installed along the route used by Henry Knox to bring cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston. They were installed for the 150th anniversary of the American Revolution. for more info see: www.nysm.nysed.gov/services/KnoxTrail

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