Clark-Haddad/Sand Hill Community Input


Do you have any old photos of the Clark-Haddad/Sand Hill School Building?

Posted in Articles, Historic Preservation, History of Sandwich, News | Leave a comment

SHC Meeting Videos


Thanks to Sandwich Community TV, the Sandwich Historical Commission meetings are now being recorded on video so the public can view on demand. Here are the videos:

January, 2017:

Webmaster Note:  During the January meeting reference was made to the 1901 “Atlas of the Boundaries of the Town of Sandwich.”   DOWNLOAD & VIEW HERE

November, 2016:

October, 2016:

Posted in Current Events, Video | Leave a comment

Swale at Nye Pond on Old County Road


(SOURCE: Paul Gately, Wicked Broadsider)

John Cullity seemingly has nothing in common with the late Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, but the Nye family member and historian is following that old Yogi-ism: “It ain’t over until it’s over.”

Cullity is quietly engendering community support; hoping to convince the Sandwich Public Works Department to abandon plans to construct a second swale at Old County Road, East Sandwich, up the roadway from the Benjamin Nye Homestead and Museum.

The conservation commission approved construction of the swale last year to help control roadway runoff in storms, a project upheld by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection upon appeal by the Nye Family Association of America.

The Nye group argued the town-engineered swale does not work as designed; the DEP decided the feature as engineered by the DPW did not harm area wetlands.

Cullity argues the swale fills up and overflows into Nye Pond. The swale is not pedestrian-friendly, he says, and robs the homestead and East Sandwich Grange of parking spaces. “We’re making other plans; we’re not giving up,” Cullity told the Sandwich Historical Commission. “More swale means more lost parking spaces and mars the beauty of an area that is also historical.”

Town Manager Bud Dunham, meanwhile, has agreed to serve as a liaison of sorts between the Nye group and the town DPW; each with separate missions and responsibilities that continue to collide.

Cullity hopes there can be more community input into engineering sketches for a second swale designed to mitigate water flow; at least more input than went into the original swale plan that went to conservation commission review and prevailed through appeal and construction.

The historical commission will send a letter to Town Hall, urging site restoration with minimal disruption of safety conditions, area history and scenic beauty. The letter will urge municipal consideration for preservation efforts at the homestead and the integrity of its surroundings.

The commission is not seeking a fight, but it is willing to buttress Cullity’s sentiment.

“I think we should turn up the heat and try to right a wrong” historical commission chairman Greg Anderson said. “At least invite more discussion. We need proper protocols to compare issues of the moment that arise that have a broader scope. We need to keep this swale discussion alive. Let’s start the fire on this.”

Commission member Lisa Hassler agrees there is a dire need for more “public awareness” on the Old County Road issue, including a “reach-out” to the DPW.

Bill Burbank told the commission it should write to the planning board to engage some input. “This is another example in town of where scenic roads get no review for any issue that arises. We need much more awareness and discussion about a cluster of uses in what used to be known as Cedarville.”

Commission member Bill Daley said the panel’s mission, in part, is to “preserve the landscape of the community.” He said Anderson should write to selectmen and Dunham, “asking for a more sensitive approach to mitigating the (run-off control) issue.

“It seems as though people of good will could create an arrangement to benefit the community,” Daley said.

It appears a second swale would not need to go before the conservation commission because it would be constructed outside the buffer zone of Nye Pond across from the homestead/museum; for which the Nye association makes a payment to Sandwich in lieu of property taxes.

Cullity, meanwhile, said a second appeal to DEP has been ruled out. He acknowledges the point that attempts to change DPW thinking is difficult when a project has been approved by the town. But he places faith in Dunham’s style of municipal management that affords time for discussion and listening.

Cullity wants a paved waterway up the road “fixed” to capture more water, the current 95-foot swale filled with crushed stone or material to assure drainage, and for the DPW “to set aside methods its considers appropriate and acknowledge the conditions in place that have worked for 80 years.

“We want restoration closely to what was there so we can operate our museum,” he said.

The town DPW does not want to fill in the swale approved by town and state wetlands protection agencies.

So the Nye family member is set to continue his quest; framed by protecting homestead needs against ‘you can’t fight city hall,’ sentiment.

Posted in Articles, Historic Preservation, History of Sandwich, News, Preservation News | Leave a comment

Planned Sandwich Cemetery Work Hits Snag


By Paul Gately
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has determined the long planned project to restore parts of Cedarville Cemetery off Route 6A cannot proceed as delineated by the town and as planned by the Sandwich Historical Commission.

Sandwich Assistant Town Manager Douglas Lapp had devised a formal request for proposals (RFP) to restore the burial ground in East Sandwich along the lines of what was accomplished two years ago — with no difficulties — at the Old Town Burial Ground off Grove Street.

Posted in Articles, Cemeteries, Historic Preservation, News, Preservation News | Leave a comment

Sandwich Historical Commission reaffirms stance: Save 1927 Wing


By Paul Gately
The Sandwich Historical Commission is not backing away from its strong stand taken in November 2015 that the town should make every effort to try and save the 1927 building from the wrecking ball at the Wing School complex along Water Street.

The commission — in an Oct. 26 letter to selectmen and Town Manager Bud Dunham — reaffirmed its stand on Wing and the building’s “historical significance to the town.”


Posted in Articles, News, Preservation News | Leave a comment

Wing School Update



By Paul Gately

July 07. 2016 12:58PM

Sandwich Historical Commission reiterates historic merit of ‘1927 Wing’

The Sandwich Historical Commission takes issue with sentiment expressed by some selectmen that the 1927 section of the Henry T. Wing School might not be worth preserving and instead probably should be torn down.

Commission members July 6 reiterated their support for selectmen opting to — at the very least — sell the old Sandwich High School to a suitable developer, who would preserve the distinctive redbrick exterior at Water Street.


(from the Postcard Collection at the Sandwich Town Archives)

Commission member William Daley, after learning about some selectmen’s views, sent a message to the Wing Family of America group asking for moral support in any upcoming effort to save Wing.

Daley contests some sentiment by selectmen that the old high school might not be duly delineated as “historical.”

“Just the exterior is what we’re interested in and whatever a developer may want to do in there,” Daley said.

Commission chairman Gregory Anderson said the overall “what to do with Wing” issue is “sexy. It’s what everyone’s talking about. I think we should be able to put some effort into something we feel very strongly about.

“It would be a shame if all of this is simply rolled up into a demolition party,” Anderson said.

Commission members also remain disenchanted by a Town Hall decision last year to leave them out of a Wing-review effort in the first place and by the point that they were rebuffed shortly afterward when they sought to be added to the group considering options.

“But we can work to keep this key issue front and center,” Anderson said. “It’s the best we can do right now.”

Daley said it might serve the commission well for members to meet — perhaps informally — with the Sandwich Historic District Committee, the group that reviews all Old Kings Highway issues affecting property south of Route 6.

Commission members agree with the point that most residents don’t understand the distinctly separate roles of the two groups. The commission role on historical matters is advisory and one of advocacy. The district panel’s role is review and enforcement.

Daley said he doubts the district committee would ever approve a certificate of demolition for the 1927 Wing section. He said it makes some sense to discuss the Wing fate and future and the apparent willingness of some selectmen “to knock this building down.”

Selectmen, meanwhile, are considering myriad Wing options, including total complex demolition in favor of creating open space and playing fields. No decisions have been reached.

Selectmen Chairman Susan James, in this regard, promises much more community discussion about Wing even as school district administrative offices remain in the building for another scholastic year.

Posted in Articles, Current Events, Historic Preservation, History of Sandwich, News, Preservation News | Leave a comment

Come Join Us


Come join us at a future meeting.


SHC meetings are open to the public.


First Wednesday of every month


6:00 P.M.


Sandwich Community Television
11 Jan Sebastian Drive, Unit 10
Sandwich, MA 02563

All meetings will be posted more than 48 hours in advance at the Town Hall Annex, 145 Main St., and online at the Town Clerk’s page

Posted in Articles, News | Leave a comment

Ten Men of Saugus Plaque Back in Town Hall


(photo credit: Kathy Coggeshall)

A sign that used to hang in Town Hall is back. After being in storage for an unknown number of years the plaque commemorating the founders of Sandwich, the “Ten Men of Saugus,” is now back up in Town Hall. It graces the second floor landing just outside the door to the main meeting hall.

In a note recently posted on the Historical Commission website, J. Dillingham wrote: “Where is the red sign with the founding fathers? It is important to have THAT sign in city [sic] hall. Where would the town be without them? We HAVE the sign. Put it up.”

Former Historical Commission member Don Bayley determined that indeed the plaque did hang in Town Hall at some point in the past.


He found this old photo on the internet. Note the caption: “This Plaque of The Ten Men from Saugus, who were the Founders of Sandwich, is on the wall of the Selectmans’s office in City Hall, Town of Sandwich, Massachusetts.” (It looks like the Selectmen had an office with a brick wall back then.)

Don recently found the actual plaque in storage at the Clark-Haddad Building (AKA Sand Hill School). He notified the Historical Commission and member Bill Daley was  instrumental in getting Ted Hamilton from the town to get the plaque out of storage and to re-hang it.

We thank Bill Daley and Ted Hamilton for their work and we thank Mr. Dillingham for making us aware that it was indeed missing.

All of this has spurred this writer to do a bit more research on the Ten Men. Who exactly were they? When did they found Sandwich and why?

For starters, the public record of the Plymouth Court dated April 3, 1637 states:
“it is agreed by the Court that these ten men of Saugus, viz., Edmund Freeman, Henry Feake, Thomas Dexter, Edward Dillingham, William Wood, John Carman, Richard Chadwell, William Almy, Thomas Tupper, and George Knott shall have liberty to view a place to sit down, and have sufficient lands for threescore families, upon the conditions propounded to them by the governor and Mr. Winslow.”

Note that at the time Saugus (today’s Lynn) was part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony; Cape Cod was part of the Plymouth Colony.

In History of Barnstable County, edited by Simeon Deyo, we find this:
“Historians assert, that religious considerations led the ten Saugus (Lynn) pioneers to seek this first plantation of the Cape. (This also confirms that Sandwich was the first English settlement on the Cape.)

What were these “religious considerations?” Why were the Ten Men not happy in Saugus?

We get some clues from Vincent Virga and Dan Spinella in Massachusetts: Mapping the Bay State Through History:
“While the Pilgrims (in Plymouth Colony) were occupied with the problems of survival, the better organized and provisioned Puritans who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony came with a mission, to establish their own shining ‘citty [sic] upon a Hill,’ free of the sin and corruption of the land and society they were leaving. They moved quickly to establish their political and religious – and eventually, geographical – authority, with confidence based on their religious faith and the later economic success that they took as a sign of divine consent.”

Historian Rebecca Beatrice Brooks adds this:
“Religion and government were deeply intertwined in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and only the most devout Puritans could participate in governmental affairs, according to the book Politics and Religion in the United States:
“While everyone in the community was a member of a congregation and was expected to attend services and support the church, only those who went through the arduous process of demonstrating their spiritual regeneration could become full-covenant members, thus gaining a say in both ecclesiastical and secular government. The civil government had authority over everyone in the community, but was controlled by the minority of the population that had achieved full church membership.”

And so this is most likely why our Ten Men wanted out.

“Whatever their motives, after deliberation they concluded that the Plymouth colony could be no more stringent than the Massachusetts, nor present more obstacles to their aspirations; so they sought and obtained permission from the colony of Plymouth to locate a plantation at Shaume, now Sandwich.” (History of Barnstable County)

“The settlement at Sandwich was projected by Mr. Edmund Freeman and others who, April 3 of this year, obtained a grant from the Colony of Plymouth and at once with a large number of families from Lynn, Duxbury and Plymouth but chiefly from Lynn, the ancient Saugus, removed to the location designated. The settlement was begun this year under very favorable auspices although it was not regularly incorporated as a town until about two years after.” (Frederick Freeman, History of Cape Cod: The Annals of Barnstable County)

Who were the Ten Men? Read about them here:

Edmund Freeman

Edward Dillingham

Thomas Tupper

Thomas Dexter

and HERE

Posted in Articles, History of Sandwich | 3 Comments

Owners of Canal plant to allow dig at site of solar project


CREDIT: Cape Cod Times
By George Brennan
May 18. 2016


NRG Energy is planning to build a solar farm on the site of its current plant in Sandwich, in the area at the left side of the photo. NRG has agreed to allow an archeological dig in the area, where the Freeman family once had a farm. Steve Haines/Cape Cod Times

SANDWICH — The owners of NRG Energy Canal Generating Plant will allow an archaeological dig on land once owned by one of the town’s earliest settlers.

Bourne resident Jack MacDonald had appealed an April 13 decision by the Sandwich Old King’s Highway District Committee granting a permit for a 1.5 megawatt ground-mounted solar array on the property known as the Freeman Farm. The property is located just over the town line with Bourne, adjacent to fuel tanks on NRG property.

The agreement to allow the focused dig was reached Tuesday as MacDonald was set to argue his appeal before the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District Commission.

The property is where Edmund Freeman Sr., one of the 10 men of Saugus who settled Sandwich in 1637, lived and farmed, though the site of his house is not clear from records in the town archives. A farmhouse that burned at the location in 1982 and where the dig will occur dates back to the late 1800s.

Freeman and his wife, Elizabeth, are buried in a tiny burial ground known as the Saddle & Pillion Cemetery. The site, which is preserved, is on a hill across Tupper Road from the NRG property, which can be seen through the trees.

NRG officials had given verbal assurances they would allow exploration at the site on the company’s property before last month’s vote, but MacDonald has now secured permission in writing.

“It’s a win, win, win, and throw in a couple more wins,” MacDonald said Tuesday morning.

James Wilson, an attorney for the regional commission, confirmed MacDonald had withdrawn his appeal.

“The commission is always pleased when the parties are able to settle a matter by mutual agreement,” Wilson said. “It benefits everyone involved instead of having it be controversial.”

NRG is “pleased” to be able to move forward with the project, David Gaier, a spokesman for the company, wrote in an email. At the April 13 meeting, NRG officials explained they were facing a tight window because some of the government-based incentives that make the solar project financially feasible are due to end.

“We’ve mutually agreed to several things that satisfy both parties, and allow NRG to move forward with a project that helps Massachusetts continue its leadership in renewable, clean energy,” Gaier wrote.

The company will seek permission from the Cape Cod Commission to do the survey, which is necessary because there is a conservation restriction on that portion of the land, he wrote. NRG will also make a good faith effort to name the project the “Edmund Freeman Solar Farm.”

The archaeological survey can’t be completed until after NRG receives its building permit for the solar project, according to the agreement.

With the help of Plimoth Plantation, MacDonald found David Landon, associate director of the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston, who is interested in doing the dig.

“These remaining sites are few and far between based on the development that’s gone on around the Cape and Plymouth Bay,” Landon said. “The prospect of looking there is exciting.”

Freeman not only helped to settle the Cape’s oldest town, but served as assistant governor from 1640 to 1645 under Gov. William Bradford, a tie to Plymouth that likely piqued the Plantation’s interest.

“As the living history museum of 17th-century Colonial and native New England founded with a focus on archaeology, Plimoth Plantation always takes an interest in potentially significant sites of the 1600s,” museum spokeswoman Kate Sheehan said. “While we’re not directly involved in this project, we’re looking forward to learning about the team’s findings.”

The Sandwich Old King’s Highway board was not as receptive to MacDonald. At last month’s meeting, committee member William Collins called claims that potentially significant artifacts would be plowed under, “nonsense.”

MacDonald’s interest was cultivated during his childhood growing up just over the town line in Sagamore, where his family would talk about Sandwich’s rich history and, particularly, Freeman’s links to it. When he heard about NRG’s solar project, he worried some of that history might be lost.

“We don’t know for sure if it’s the site, but it’s certainly worth taking a look,” MacDonald said.

— Follow George Brennan on Twitter: @gpb227.

Posted in Archaeology, Articles, Current Events, History of Sandwich, News | 2 Comments

Historical Markers Part of Improvements Planned for Mill Creek Park.




(Click for Larger View)

Sandwich Okays Plan To Turn ‘Restroom Park’ Into Something More Memorable


A gift of flowers, benches and greenery popped up among the political brambles when a volunteer group offered to beautify a scruffy grove across from Sandwich Town Hall.

The news that volunteers wanted to spruce up the unadorned clearing, which is home to the village’s only public restrooms, was little heralded, coming one week before Town Meeting and the town election. The plan came before three of the five selectmen as well as the Old King’s Highway Historic District Committee recently. Both boards passed the plan unanimously.

When it is finished the park will provide a shady rest area for visitors. It will feature small brick patios, benches, flowering hedges, greenery, and bronze signs describing the histories of nearby landmarks, including town hall, First Church of Christ, the Dexter Grist Mill, and Mill Creek, which runs through the property. A bicycle rack is also planned for the park.

The volunteers are members of the Sandwich 375 Committee, which formed to organize last year’s big 375th birthday bash for the town. So successful were their fundraising efforts for the year-long celebration, they had money left over. With the help of several town staff and a cross-section of volunteers from other town advisory boards, the group came up with a design and a name—Mill Creek Park.

“Many visitors walk through Town Hall Square and look at our beautiful buildings but other than seeing them, there is no signage telling them what they are and their significance to our history,” said Cynthia M. Russell, spokesman for the 375 Committee, in her presentation. “Hence, we would like to install two cast bronze plaques, placed near each sitting area at an angle, that tell of the buildings. These signs can only be read from inside the park.”

The design and planning were the work of many people.

The 375 committee asked Colonial Brass of Taunton to make the cast bronze signs. The coating will develop a green patina as it ages, Ms. Russell said. Two members of the Sandwich Historical Commission wrote the text for the signs.

The benches will look like old-style wooden benches, but will actually be composite material suggested by town engineer Paul Tilton and town planner Blair Haney. David J. DeConto, assistant director of natural resources, also consulted on the project.

BJ’s Lawncare & Landscaping of Forestdale will put the signs and the landscaping in place with the help of volunteers from the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce. Mary Bowker, president of the Sandwich Garden Club, will supervise the planting work. Ms. Bowker, along with Donna and Jeff Kutil of Scenic Roots Garden Center, chose the low-maintenance plants.

“They have selected hydrangeas, summer sweet and winterberry plants for their disease and pest resistance, heat tolerance, and ready adaptation to different soil types as well as their beauty spring through fall when Mill Creek Park is most used by visitors and the community,” Ms. Russell wrote in her presentation.

Tree warden Justin O’Connor suggested that two Norway maples be removed and replaced with Stewartia and two flowering trees.

“Stewartia trees are slow-growing, all-season performers that show off fresh green leaves in the spring, white flowers resembling single camellias in summer, colorful foliage in the autumn, and exfoliating bark in the winter that creates a beautiful spectacle after leaves fall,” Ms. Russell said.

The town will install a watering system that will be needed for only the first few years. After the low-maintenance plants have been established, nature will take over and the watering system will no longer be needed, Ms. Russell said.

“The challenge of planting in the park is significant due to the present lack of water, deep shade, the condition of the soil and long-term maintenance,” Ms. Russell said. “But we believe with the choices of plants, short-term irrigation, enriched plant soil and removal of trees, these plants have an excellent opportunity to thrive and be enjoyed.”

The three selectmen (Susan R. James, Peter M. Beauchemin and Ralph A. Vitacco), who attended the meeting at which the plan was approved, thanked Ms. Russell, the town staff and all the volunteers for their efforts.

“This is a great example of the town and the businesses coming together to leave a lasting monument,” Mr. Vitacco said.

The committee chose Mill Creek Park as the name because it “acknowledges the heritage and beauty of the area by recognizing the historic grist mill and the natural creek upon which the park is located,” Ms. Russell said. “The beautification of this park speaks to our mission statement as it embraces the town’s rich culture, proud heritage and pristine beauty,” Ms. Russell said. “We cannot thank these people and businesses enough because due to their guidance, expertise and spirit of community, the Sandwich 375 Committee legacy gift to the town will truly be a delightful place year-round for residents and visitors to use and enjoy for many years. “

Here’s a brief history of the park area that was included in Ms. Russell’s presentation:

“Mill Creek Park celebrates the historical fact that the Dexter Grist mill was able to operate because the water from the dammed up pond flowed into this creek.

“The mill was built in 1640, giving farmers in this agricultural community the means to turn their corn crop into flour, which provided sustenance for the population for more than 200 years.

“From spring-fed Shawme Pond and down the herring run, Mill Creek also brought economic prosperity to Sandwich by powering many businesses such as the Tag Factory and the Shoe Factory.

“Today, it brings visitors to see it wind through rich marshland and flow under the famous Sandwich boardwalk to the Old Harbor where the Boston & Sandwich Glass Factory was built by Deming Jarves in 1825.

“The name ‘Mill Creek’ recognizes the importance of both the mill and the creek to the Sandwich residents and visitors for the past 375 years.”

Download Complete Proposal

RELATED STORY: A Name for the Park at 135 Main Street

Posted in 375th Anniversary, Articles, Current Events, Historic Preservation, News | Leave a comment