WEST ROXBURY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

HISTORY

The first meeting of the West Roxbury Historical Society was held on April 29, 1931 in the home of Miss. Ester and Miss. Elizabeth Atwill. The house was located at the current CVS site.

There were 26 people present. Rev. John Poland was the principle organizer and named Chairman for the evening’s activities. He  stated the purpose for a Society was Social, Salvaging and Public Interest.

Committees were formed and the next meeting was scheduled for June 3rd. At that meeting the Rev. Harold Arnold, Pastor of the Theodore Parker Church, was elected as the first President of the Society. Rev. Arnold served until 1937 when Miss. Mary Howard became President for two years. Followed By Geo. Wolkins until 1941 when William Dimick was elected, he served as the President for 16 years until 1957.

Richard Bonney Sr. 1957 – 1964 - educator

Nathaniel Hasunfus 1964-1971 - author of several books including a Children’s book

Ellen Feeney 1971- 1974 - Saw Mill Brook and first to secure funds for Brook Farm

Madeline Bonney 1974 –1978 - member of the city’s Bicentennial intuitive

Charlotte Coleman 1978-1982- Society's 50th Anniversary Celebration / Archive collection increased.

Beatrice Dunham 1982 –1986 Brook Farm

Bob Murphy 1986-1992 - Archive room

Margaret Flagg 1992-1998 - local church history initiative as well as emphasizing genealogy.

Beth Doris 1998-1999

Bob Murphy 1999-present

Some other people that have had a quiet but important impact on the society are Miss Pauline Walker the Adult Librarian here at WRBL for many years. Miss Walker was a charter member as well as an avid collector of W R memorabilia. Anna Manning a retired librarian who became the societies Archivist for over 25 years, Anna wrote about and researched many events. She was well known for “Curtin Raisers” a brief account of an event or person in W R history. Dick Bonney Jr. has donated and taken hundred of photos and has transcribed many news articles from microfilm as well as detailed listing of residents of West Roxbury.

1944 Miss. Walker, Rev. Poland and Mons. Finn were named the first honorary life member of the society due to their dedication and commitment to W R history.

1952 the official seal of the Society was accepted. Sears Gallagher designed it; he lived on LaGrange St.

1969 the society was incorporated.

1989 we moved into our Archive room through the generosity of the Trustees of the West Roxbury Congregational Church and the City of Boston. The Feeney Family donated the funds to furnish the room.

The Society was instrumental in:

    1. Assisting the Theodore Parker Church to gain Landmark status
    2. Westerly Burial Ground
    3. Saw Mill Brook wet lands preservation
    4. Collecting over 1000 photographs
    5. Hundreds of personal accounts
    6. Maps atlases
    7. 3 dimensional object

An ongoing project of the Society has been the Preservation of Brook Farm. Much had been done to promote the history since the Centennial Celebration in 1941, the society has conducted many tours of the property. In December 1987 Gov. Michael Dukakis signed a bill declaring Brook Farm an environmental and historic site. Funds were appropriated and the site was purchased from the Lutheran Works of Mercy. Today it is managed by the DCR.


2006 © West Roxbury Historical Society

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