Category Archives: History

Henry Marcel – Medfield’s Holiday Lights Maestro

Henry (Hank) Marcel was the first Medfield Foundation Volunteer of the Year in 2008, primarily because he was single handedly responsible for doing MEMO’s holiday tree lighting downtown for decades.

Below is that 2008 Medfield Foundation Volunteer Awards proclamation:

MEDFIELD FOUNDATION RECOGNIZES HENRY J. MARCEL AS ITS
MEDFIELD VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

The Medfield Foundation proudly proclaims Henry J. Marcel as its Medfield Volunteer of the Year. Henry Marcel is a large steady man with an even larger and steadier presence, whose contribution to making the Town of Medfield a better place have been both constant and impressive for many, many years. Henry, or Hank, has often worked behind the scenes without fanfare or recognition to deliver highly visible, easily recognizable, and much appreciated things to Medfield for decades. Hank has impacted the Town of Medfield in three main areas. First and foremost, Hank is the one who has lit our downtown with holiday lights at Christmas for decades. Second, Hank is the one who has done all the work to electrify Medfield Day and to do the other grunt work that makes it happen for 27 years. Third, Hank is a long time volunteer Medfield Fire Department firefighter, who is often seen proudly wearing a Medfield Fire Department tee shirt.

Hank has been Medfield’s Mr. Christmas, having organized and presided over stringing Medfield’s Christmas lights for MEMO for over twenty-five years. Observers in the know in recent years are used to seeing Hank out and about the downtown in the cold every year after Thanksgiving stringing the lights in Baxter Park, in front of Lord’s, at the Town House, and in front of the First Parish Meeting House. However, the keen long time observers will know that Hank started out decades earlier by actually shutting down his then electrical contracting business, Medfield Electric, for weeks every Christmas, and paying all his employees to help him to string the Christmas lights on every tree up and down Main Street, trees that are now exist only in memories. Over time, the Christmas lights became focused on Baxter Park. In recent years, Hank has buried electrical conduit under the park to facilitate setting up his displays, and he has been adding a tree in any year he can, to make a larger display. MEMO buys the Christmas lights.

Henry’s smile grows ever wider each year as he watches the faces of the town’s children light up in joy during the tree lighting count down, as the lights on the trees come one a tree at a time, culminating with the lighting of the Christmas tree. What an annual gift from Henry to the residents of Medfield to provide so much joy and happiness to so many children and their families.

The annual Medfield Day event is literally powered by Hank, as he creates and operates several whole electrical services for the events locations, calling on his extended group of electrician friends, such as Larry Kilkenny, to make it all come together and in time. Hank has been one who has worked from before dawn until after dark to make Medfield Day happen: he has lined the booths, coordinated the set-up and break-down, doing whatever tasks needed to be done, and he ran the event several times. When the Medfield Night Fireworks were added, Henry was delighted to work on them, despite making his Medfield Day hours longer, especially when he saw how much pleasure the fireworks gave to so many people.

Hank started on the Medfield Fire Department in 1974 under the direction of Chief Ryan. In one untoward incident in 1986 Hank was working at a car fire, when the vehicle rolled and pinned him between two cars breaking his leg. In 1992 he became the Fire Alarm Superintendent and he still oversees the operation of the town’s fire alarm system. Hank semi-retired as a firefighter in 1998, no longer responding to calls, but he remains a resource for electrical problems at the Department.

The Medfield Foundation is proud to name Henry Marcel its first Medfield Volunteer of the Year.

Medfield Foundation Legacy Fund’s 2021 grantees’ report

Legacy Fund Grantees Report

Grantees of the Medfield Foundation Legacy Fund’s latest 2021 round of grants reported to the Medfield Foundation board and the Legacy Fund founders at a meeting this past Monday evening at the Public Safety Building.

  • Peak House Heritage Society showed a remarkably informative video produced by Medfield TV of the PHHS’s archeological dig that the PHHS’s grant funded in the basement of the Peak House. Rob Gregg reported that the most mysterious findings were three 1912 license plates, mysterious because the last residents in the Peak House left in 1910. The rest of the archeological findings are in the process of being analyzed and cataloged.
  • Friends of the Medfield High School Theatre Society reported on the new cyclorama purchased with its grant which was installed at the back of the stage in the MHS auditorium, allowing for better performances. “The replacement of the MHS auditorium cyclorama allows students to engineer complex lighting scenarios; offers those performing a more complex atmosphere in which to tell their stories; and enhances the visual quality of shows for Community members who attend performances.”
  • Medfield Outreach used its grant to commission a survey of town needs, data designed to focus Outreach’s strategic plan. Outreach Director Kathy MacDonald reported on the survey and its results. “In the winter of 2022, Medfield Outreach began work to complete a community needs survey and create a five-year strategic plan for the department. What you see on these tabs is the result of that almost six month long undertaking.”
  • Sustainable Medfield used its grant to further publicize and share its mission promoting sustainability with town residents – “1. Provide residents a one-stop resource of Medfield-specific ACTIONS to improve our environment and reduce our carbon footprint. and 2. Connect community groups to network and collaborate on sustainability.”

About the Medfield Foundation Legacy Fund
The Medfield Foundation Legacy Fund Is a professionally-managed endowment created to support community-driven projects. Volunteer-run and designed to complement the initiatives of Medfield organizations, the Medfield Foundation Legacy Fund raises funds from the community and makes grants to established non-profit organizations through a competitive process. For more information or to contribute to the Medfield Foundation Legacy Fund, please visit https://www.medfieldfoundation.org/legacy-fund.

Peak House – transformed

First the emailed newsletter from the Peak House Heritage Society, and below that photos from the Medfield Foundation Legacy Fund board self-guided tour this week. The Peak House Heritage Society was the recipient of a Medfield Foundation Legacy Fund grant this year. Lots more improvements are reportedly in the works per Rob Gregg. –

  A Quick Peek at Our June Feature  

Announcing Our 2022 Visitor Season – the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of July, August, September and October Delivering New Self-Guided Displays Featuring Intriguing Artifacts, Interactive Exhibits, Authentic Colonial Gardens 

Paid admission is by tickets available only through our website. You first choose a date for your visit and then select a time slot from the six available on those Saturdays.Covid-related restrictions limit six (6) visitors at a time for a suggested visit duration of thirty (30) minutes. You are welcome to tour the outdoor gardens for as long as you wish.



For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. 


Our Discovery Contest Finishes and a Grand Prize   

Winner Announced May’s contest question: This plant found in our kitchen garden was a most important dye plant both in England and the Colonies.  Its leaves produced an intense blue-colored dye but it also developed a most disgusting aroma during processing. Its pigment was frequently found on the faces of warriors. What is the name of this plant? 

Answer: Woad 

Congratulations to our May winners who became Peak Performers:             

Sandy Frigon             
Katherine Munz             
Jeanette Ruyle 

After the contest’s duration of six months during which there 18 winners, a grand prize winner’s name was selected to receive a $50 gift certificate from Brothers Marketplace. Seen below is Jeanette Ruyle receiving her prize from PHHC Director Rob Babson. Congratulations to Jeanette and every Peak Performer!

 

The Piggery Becomes a Colonial Vegetable  Garden 

With special thanks to our neighbors to the east, Matt and Emily Seminerio, and their willingness to share their corner land which was a piggery at their historic Morse homestead, a colonial vegetable garden will take shape over the summer and fall.



To further extend the Seminerio’s offer, foundation stones from the former Clark Tavern to the west will be used to build the borders of the new beds.



Keep your eyes on this area in the coming months to see a Colonial Vegetable Garden taking shape.



 Photograph Credits PHHC 
Our Contact Information
Peak House Heritage Center
52 South Street
Medfield, MA 02052-2616
508-505-7742
http://www.peakhouseheritagecenter.org

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𝙼𝚞𝚛𝚍𝚎𝚛, 𝙼𝚢𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚢, 𝙸𝚗𝚝𝚛𝚒𝚐𝚞𝚎 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚂𝚌𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚊𝚕: 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙳𝚊𝚛𝚔 𝚂𝚒𝚍𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝙼𝚎𝚍𝚏𝚒𝚎𝚕𝚍

From Liz Whitcher for the Medfield Coalition for Public Education –

𝙼𝚞𝚛𝚍𝚎𝚛, 𝙼𝚢𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚢, 𝙸𝚗𝚝𝚛𝚒𝚐𝚞𝚎 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚂𝚌𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚊𝚕:
𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙳𝚊𝚛𝚔 𝚂𝚒𝚍𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝙼𝚎𝚍𝚏𝚒𝚎𝚕𝚍

Yes, even Medfield has some scandalous history! Tickets include your choice of 3 entrees from Basil and access to a live virtual history talk with Richard DeSorgher! 
Optional add-ons include our signature cocktail-the Dark and Stormy and 2 of Richard’s books on the history of Medfield! #OneMedfield 

For more information and to sign up: https://www.medfieldcoalition.org/medfield-history-night

MHS 1887 aerial view

This 1887 aerial view of the downtown is another one of the Medfield Historical Society’s on-line maps.

The only familiar buildings to me are the Ord Building, the Unitarian Church, and the town house (and only sort of for the town house – it is in the right place).

MHS 1852 map of the downtown

Medfield Historical Society website has a collection of its artifacts, which include an 1852 map. This part of that map shows what buildings existed then in the downtown – https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3764m.ct002329/?r=0.49,0.428,0.162,0.119,0.

MHC allows for demolition of Clark Tavern

1740 Clark Tavern

Medfield Historical Commission – Release for demolition – 1740 Clark tavern, 353-355 Main Street

Release for demolition – 1740 Clark tavern, 353-355 Main Street
From: David Temple
To: Gary Pelletier 
Cc:
Date: Thu, Feb 11, 2021 10:59 am

After more than two hours of testimony and debate last night, with over 30 people in Zoom attendance, the Medfield Historical Commission voted 3-2 to allow the MacCreadys (Open Space Developers) to proceed with their replication plan for the Clark tavern, which had been outlined in the ZBA decision. The plan calls for them to disassemble the tavern, recreate its exterior appearance, and, where possible, reuse elements such as wide plank flooring, timbers, wainscoting, and the arched carved beams in the ballroom.
As a condition, the MacCreadys must arrange for an archaeological site examination survey to be done before ground is broken for construction, similar to the survey done in 2017 by The Public Archaeology Laboratory on land surrounding the tavern. 
The Clark tavern is one of Medfield’s most important historical assets. The commission had no trouble determining the obvious: (1) the Clark tavern is historically significant, and (2) it should be designated “preferably preserved.”  The latter required the commission to impose, under the bylaw, an 18-month delay on the demolition. The bylaw also allows the commission to lift the delay if certain conditions are met, such as there being little or no likelihood of anyone else stepping in to save the structure.    
No one on the commission wanted to demolish it, but in view of its poor and rapidly deteriorating condition (including a big hole in the roof) and the 14 years of unsuccessful attempts to get it restored, this was the best option, so we lifted the delay.  The MacCreadys have a long history in Medfield and did a great job on the 1880 Ord block, and the commission is deeply respectful and grateful to them for undertaking the Clark tavern project.

In your reply, please include my original message.

David F. Temple
President, Medfield Historical Society
https://medfieldhistoricalsociety.org/
Chair, Medfield Historical Commission
300 South Street
Medfield, MA 02052

Friends of the Dwight-Derby House Announce New Website

From Laurel Scotti, President, Friends of the Dwight-Derby House –

Date: January 14, 2020

Friends of the Dwight-Derby House Announce New Website

The Friends of the Dwight-Derby House announces the launching of a new website at dwightderbyhouse.org.

The Dwight-Derby House is the story of two Medfield families who lived in the house that still stands at 7 Frairy Street dating back to 1651.

Some of the new features of this new site include George Horatio Derby Artifacts and Satirical Writing collections. George Horatio Derby was America’s first satirical writer, an explorer and a Captain who served in the U.S. Army of Topographical Engineers. His childhood home was the Dwight-Derby House, of Medfield.

Added to the site are a family timeline, restoration photos from the 1996 renovation when the house was purchased by the town of Medfield, online events, site rental information, and online shopping at The 1651 Shoppe.

A special thanks to Medfield Photographer Mark Hickey for his time and talent invested in the must-see interior room photography shown on the new website as well as editors Claire Shaw and Jo Ellen Heck.

For the safety of our visitors the museum is currently closed due to COVID-19. We look forward to seeing you as soon as we reopen.

We welcome feedback after you tour the upstairs rooms for the first time!


Sincerely,

Laurel Scotti
President
Friends of the Dwight-Derby House
ddhfriends@gmail.com

CPA base state match at 28.6%

The Division of Local Services (DLS) newsletter had the following article about the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act (CPA) base state matching monies coming in this year at 28.6% for the 3% CPA communities.

Medfield residents continue to pay in to fund the state payments to other towns, because Medfield has not adopted the CPA – i.e Medfield is leaving free state monies on the table. See https://www.communitypreservation.org/ for information.

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The map below shows all the communities that have adopted the Community Preservation Act, including those recently adopted.

FY2021 Community Preservation State Match Distributed
Donnette Benvenuto and Lisa Krzywicki – Data Analytics and Resources Bureau

On November 13th, the Data Analytics and Resources Bureau (DARB) distributed the FY2021 state match of Community Preservation (CPA) funds. The CPA trust fund receives revenues from surcharges on documents filed at the Registry of Deeds.  Effective January 1, 2020 the registry of deeds increased fees on most documents from $20 to $50 and on municipal lien certificates from $10 to $25. In FY2021, there are 176 communities eligible for the CPA state match and as of November, the CPA state trust fund recorded revenues totaling $61.1 million.

Of the 176 communities eligible, 76 have adopted the surcharge at the maximum 3% making them eligible for base distribution match of 28.6% of the local CPA surcharge committed.  They are also eligible for the 2nd round distribution (equity) and 3rd round distribution (surplus), which can result in an increased percentage match, up to 100%.  The remaining 100 communities that did not adopt the CPA at 3% are only eligible for the first-round match of 28.6% of the local CPA surcharge committed.

Number of communities eligible for the FY2021 state match by percentage adopted:

The full distribution breakdown and decile ranking by community can be found here on the DLS website.

On the November 3rd ballot an additional 9 communities voted and approved the CPA and West Stockbridge adopted it earlier in the year.  Municipal Clerks in these communities are reminded to send in the Specimen ballot, results and notification of acceptance form to DARB at databank@dor.state.ma.us as soon as possible.

List of additional communities and percentage adopted eligible for the FY2022 CPA state match in November of 2022:

For questions about the distribution or to notify us of local adoption, please email databank@dor.state.ma.us.

Barbara Leighton, and her legacy

From the Medfield Patch –

A 100 Year Life Well-Lived, Extraordinary Woman, Barbara Leighton

Leighton left a legacy of service to Medfield over her 100-year life, but also ensured her legacy will live on through her planned gift…

By Colleen M. Sullivan, Patch MayorVerified User Badge
Jul 22, 2020 11:00 pm ET|Updated Jul 22, 2020 11:02 pm ET
  • Barbara Leighton (2016)Barbara Leighton (2016) (Courtesty Photo)

The following provided by the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill Committee and MFi.

Barbara Leighton: A 100 Year Life Well-Lived…One Extraordinary Woman

Medfield native Barbara Leighton was a woman before her time due to her interests and achievements over her long life. As reported last July when she celebrated her 100th birthday, Ms. Leighton grew up in Medfield doing the physical work of men such as chopping wood, tapping maple trees and clearing brush, plus she was an outdoors person who enjoyed fishing and hunting! In addition, Barbara’s love of Medfield and history collided to make her an unofficial historian for our town, holding archeological digs for middle school children at town historical sites for decades, donating 7.4 acres of conservation land in 1989, serving for years as both the curator of the Medfield Historical Society and caretaker of the Peak Househttps://4900f88a3514d9e2f0df188d4d007260.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

But Barbara really put her Medfield history interests and out-sized skills together at the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill where she worked for decades doing everything from scrambling up ladders to hammer roof shingles, to replacing and renovating windows and other elements, helping to make it another Medfield historical gem. Dick Judge, Chair of the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill Committee relayed, “As an original member of the Gristmill Committee, just one of the many projects Barbara undertook was about thirty or so years ago. She took apart a ruined fireplace brick by brick, cleaned the bricks, and then used them to build a brick floor in the Gristmill…that still exists today!”

Dick Judge further noted, “Without Barbara’s incredible decades of dedication to our circa 1718 grist mill, I fear not only would it literally have fallen to pieces, but she served as a constant reminder of how one person’s conviction and example can motivate so many of us to save and preserve such an important and beautiful Medfield historic site.”

Kingsbury Pond GristmillKingsbury Pond Gristmill (Courtesy Photo)

The Kingsbury Pond Gristmill Committee (KPGC), a Medfield Foundation Initiative, is a group of adult volunteers dedicated to preserving, maintaining and improving one of Medfield’s most visible historic buildings built around 1718 by Captain Joseph Clark. Located on Spring Street (Rt. 27S) at the serene Kingsbury Pond. The committee hopes to reopen the mill for people to see how milling has progressed through the years.

After Ms. Leighton passed away last August, she ensured her life’s work will continue because in her estate she left a significant planned gift to the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill Committee, through the Medfield Foundation, for the amazing work the team has done on the facility. Thus, Barbara Leighton’s unique legacy as an extraordinary woman whose influence and service-oriented life’s-work over an impressive 100 years in Medfield will extend for many years beyond what would have been her 101st year.

Medfield High School Class of 1936 in front of what is now the Pfaff Center. Barbara Leighton is the second from the left in the front row!Medfield High School Class of 1936 in front of what is now the Pfaff Center. Barbara Leighton is the second from the left in the front row! (Courtesy Photo)

Evan Weisenfeld, President of the Medfield Foundation, said, “This large planned gift from the estate of Barbara Leighton means generations of people in Medfield will continue to enjoy the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill, and volunteers now can continue its preservation.”

He continued, “Furthermore, the Medfield Foundation urges you to thoughtfully consider making gifts in your estate plans to support our town through the Medfield Foundation and its signature programs and community initiatives such as the Gristmill and other town landmark preservation efforts, the Legacy Fund, Public Need Fund, and many others, to ensure your unique legacy continues the work of ensuring Medfield is a great place to live now and in the future.”

In this time of change, when many people are revisiting their wills, please consider making provisions to better our town via planned giving to the Medfield Foundation, Inc. Residents considering planned donations in their estates to MFi can designate a specific initiative or sector of interest, or the Legacy Fund, an endowment fund that leaves a lasting legacy for our town’s future needs.

Barbara Leighton left a legacy of countless examples of service to Medfield over her 100-year life, but also ensured her legacy will live on through her planned gift to the Kingsbury Pond Gristmill through the Medfield Foundation.

Would you please consider leaving a lasting gift in your estate planning?

There are many ways to donate today, too! Just check out the website: https://www.medfieldfoundation.org. You will find a complete list of current campaigns such as the COVID-19 Support Fund and Summer Camp Fund, plus information about MFi, signature programs, community initiatives, and much more.Ring  |  Featured AdvertiserMichael Wondered How a Tree Got in His Yard, Ring Video Had the ClueWhen a downpour took his neighborhood by surprise, Michael was happy to have the Ring Video Doorbell in the eye of the storm.Watch Now

For information about Medfield Foundation planned gifts and more please email info@medfieldfoundation.org, phone (774) 469-0260, or mail Medfield Foundation, c/o Medfield Townhouse, 459 Main Street, Medfield, MA 02052.

The Medfield Foundation (MFi) is a 100% volunteer run 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable corporation whose mission is to enrich the lives of Medfield residents, build a stronger community, and facilitate the raising and allocation of private funds for public needs in the town of Medfield.