Welcome to the Boxborough Historical Society


Thursday May 23: Lucie Hager: Poet and Chronicler of Boxborough’s Early History  


Lucie Hager was a remarkable woman of the 19th Century.  Though she was largely self-taught, she was a successful school teacher, bookkeeper and a prolific writer of poetry.

Late in the nineteenth century Lucie wrote the Boxborough section in a comprehensive history of Middlesex County containing histories of every city and town in the county. At that time Boxborough with its 325 inhabitants was one of the smallest towns in the County . Encouraged by this work and by her friends, she wrote a separate history of Boxborough alone. That book was published in 1891 as “Boxborough: A New England Town and its People”. The book is a treasure trove of lore of the Town and of its notable families.

Come hear Alan Rohwer of the Boxborough Historical Commission discuss the life and labors of this pioneering woman in the meeting room of the Sargent Memorial Library at 427 Massachusetts Avenue (route 111) on Thursday May 23 at 7 p.m.  The event is free and registration is not required.


Boxborough Schoolhouse #2 Open June 9

Boxborough’s School House #2 will be open to the public on Sunday, June 9 from 2-4 p.m. With kind permission of Nancy (Robinson) Morrison, who co-owns the property with her sister Jane Sawisch, you will be able to visit Schoolhouse #2 at 339 Picnic Street (corner of Hill Road), tour the 1857 building, and see exhibits specific to this building. You will receive a one-page history of the Schoolhouse. The Boxborough Museum at 575 Middle Road will be open also from 2-4 p.m. to provide a restroom—to save you from the outhouses behind the Schoolhouse!


The Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area is a consortium of 45 cities and towns, including Boxborough, that were involved in the events of 1775.  It was designated as a National Heritage Area by Congress in 2009.  It is managed by the Freedom’s Way Heritage Association (FWHA), which is a non-profit located in Devens that started in 1994 to manage the area and its partnership with the US Park Service. The FWHA website has an extensive listing of resources and programs in these communities.  Please visit at https://freedomsway.org.

Books on Boxborough History

 

During the 241 years of Boxborough’s existence, there have been two books written about the Town’s history.


Late in the nineteenth century, a comprehensive history of Middlesex County was published by Samual Adams Drake, titled “History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts containing carefully prepared histories of every city and town in the county.” Encouraged by this work and by her friends, Lucie Caroline Hager felt “that a history of Boxborough printed in a small volume separately…would be favorably received” and set to work to write one. 


Lucie was born in Littleton and moved to Boxborough when she married in 1882. She was a school teacher, bookkeeper, and a writer of prose and poetry. “Boxborough: A New England Town and its People,” the product of her efforts, was published in 1891.

  

As indicated by its title, the book is divided into two sections. The first half tells the history of the town for its roughly first 100 years. The second half presents biographical sketches of the prominent families who lived in town during that period. A biography of Lucie and a selection of her poems are included in the section on the Hager family.

   

Boxborough celebrated its Bicentennial in 1983. As part of that commemoration, four residents, Janet Calhoun, Susan DeStefano, Katherine Talmadge, and Elizabeth West, spent 18 months working with others to create “Boxborough: A Portrait of a Town: 1783-1983”. 

  

As its introduction states, “Portrait” is a combination of thousands of pages of written records with hundreds of hours of oral interviews documenting the memories of people living in town.  This sprightly written, copiously illustrated volume is organized by topic rather than chronology, e.g., “Government,” “Schools,” “Library.”  It brings to life Boxborough’s history as a small farming town up until the 1960’s, and documents the changes in Boxborough as it grew rapidly through the 1970’s and early 1980s.

   

There are multiple copies of each book at Boxborough’s Sargent Memorial Library. Copies can also be purchased at the Boxborough Museum or by emailing the Boxborough Historical Society at BoxboroughHistoricalSociety@gmail.com.


Boxborough Tongue in Cheek Honors  - John Fallon 7/11/2023

The Massachusetts State Legislature has passed numerous bills created the “official” State insect (ladybug), flower (mayflower), and so forth. The Boxborough legislature (town meeting) has never done this but if it was so inclined three candidates might be:

The Town insect: BEE

From time immemorial, Boxborough with a “B” has been confused with Foxborough with an F (“where the Patriots play football”) leading to misdirected packages, missed furniture deliveries, and other inconveniences. In tribute to the “B”, Boxborough has had t-shirts, tote-bags, and at least two newspapers with the bee as its logo. To see the “official” 6 foot Boxborough bee, visit the Boxborough Museum at 575 Middle Road.

The Town plant: Poison Ivy

As new residents to town quickly realize, any weed removal project runs the risk of rash and itching. As a tribute to this humble but ubiquitous plant, when the Boxborough Quilters produced their “Boxborough at a Glance” masterpiece in 1994, the border was composed of a pattern of poison ivy. To see this quilt, visit the local history room of the Sargent Memorial Library.

The Town crop: Rocks

In the early nineteenth century Boxborough had the reputation as the largest hop-growing town of its size in New England. From the Civil War until World War II, it was famous for apples and other fruits which were shipped to Boston and even overseas. Today, to the great chagrin of contractors and residents alike, the main crop in town appears to be rocks, giving the town the nickname of “Rocksborough” in some quarters. To see an outstanding example of the glacial role in depositing rocks, visit the Boxborough Conservation Trust website for information on the Boxborough Esker also known as the Beaver Brook Valley Preserve.



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