North Reading Historical Commission

The North Reading Historical Commission has been in existence since 1972. At that time the town Meeting voted to established such a commission under Chapter 40 of the Mass. General Laws. This board is appointed by the Board of Selectmen. It is a branch of the town government with the responsibility to identify and preserve the historical resources of the town.

Since 1972, this group has inventoried 80 historical buildings, traced deeds, tax records, and probate court records to verify the age and original ownership of North Reading's oldest buildings. The Commission has also recorded and transcribed interviews with elder residents, preserving for future generations their recollection of life in North Reading in the early years of this century. Recordings and transcripts are available at Flint Memorial Library.

This Town Board is also the conservator of other historic resources, such as the oldest sections of the cemeteries, historical monuments, old bridges, and other historic sites within the town. A member of the Historical Commission, has identified and photographed numerous ancient grave markers which are scheduled for resetting and repair.

As overseers of the Town's historic resources, it was the Historic Commission that pursued the rescue of the former Weeks Memorial Building, now known by its original name, the Damon Tavern . This is one of North Reading's most valuable historic buildings. The ballroom murals, on the second floor, are rare examples of Early American folk art by Rufus Porter, the first and foremost wall painter in this country. The Historical Commission felt that this national treasure should be kept as a cultural resource, not only to its owners, the residents of the town, but to visitors interested in American culture and early American art.
Damon Tavern Restorations
Rufus Porter Rediscovered by Jean Lipman

Click Here for the 2008 Annual Report from the North Reading Historical Commission

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Updated: BJJ March 2010