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Upton Historical Commission Community Partnerships

Shown in front of the newly completed shed in the Upton Heritage Park completed by Tyler Bartlett as his Eagle Scout project are, l-r, Cathy Taylor, Barbara Burke, Tyler and Jonathan Meagher. Contributed photo

The Upton Historical seeks to preserve Upton's historic resources, facilitate public access to them, and educate residents about Upton's history. However, the Commission would be able to accomplish little without the help of other town boards and departments and interested citizens. These community partnerships have yielded particularly significant results in recent months.

In April 2012, prospective Eagle Scout Tyler Bartlett presented to the Historical Commission his plan to build a shed at Upton Heritage Park. The Commission approved his proposal, and the project became an integral part of ongoing efforts to improve Heritage Park. Tyler raised all of the money for the project and was able to secure donations of materials and labor from local businesses and individuals. On August 27, Tyler gave Commission members, accompanied by his Eagle Scout project sponsor Barbara Burke, a tour of the finished shed. The shed features a poured concrete foundation, a steel door, and exterior siding hewn from local trees felled by Hurricane Sandy. The rough-hewn pine clapboards give the shed a rustic appearance that blends in with its natural surroundings yet artistic enough to add beauty and character to the landscape. Tyler's efforts have left Upton a new structure that will be used and admired for many years to come.

A partnership between the Commission, the Cemetery Commission and the Department of Public Works is preserving Upton's historic cemeteries. Earlier this year members of the three town bodies discussed the deteriorating condition of the town's oldest burial grounds, the First Cemetery off Grove St. and the Old North or Bradish Cemetery off North St. The historic slate headstones from the 18th and early-19th centuries at both sites have been increasingly threatened by falling limbs from decaying trees and fallen trees during the severe storms that have battered the area. Over the past several months, volunteers have cleared brush and saplings from the Old North/Bradish Cemetery. The DPW has removed larger trees that were considered unstable and, therefore, a danger to the historic burial ground. The Historical Commission hopes to start brush removal at the First Cemetery soon and will be seeking funds for necessary tree work. The generous cooperation and assistance of the Cemetery Commission and the DPW are making a difference at Upton's historic cemeteries.

Improvements of the Upton Heritage Park continue. The Historical Commission will be working with local landscape architect Cissy Henderson, who has generously donated her services, to design areas of native plantings. An extension of the post and rail fencing that runs along the left side of the park as viewed from the entrance is also currently in the works and is being funded thanks to the generosity of private donors. Other projects at the park in either the planning or implementation stages include a Braille trail for the blind with the assistance of the Mendon Lions Club and the removal of invasive plant species and their replacement with native species. The Commission invites any citizens interested in participating in the ongoing work at the park to participate in a work party scheduled for October 26 at 9 a,m. at the 18 Elm Street property.

Volunteers can offer their services for the Heritage Park work party or any of the Commission's other efforts to further historic preservation and education in Upton at the Historical Commission table at Upton Heritage Day on the town common, Saturday, October 5, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All are invited to stop by and learn about Upton's history. Tours of the famous Upton Chamber at Heritage Park will also be offered from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on that day. Visit the Upton Historical Commission's web site at for more information on Commission events and reports on the progress of Commission projects.


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