We will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.

Architecture Critic Ada Louise Huxtable


The Harvard Historical Commission welcomes you to its website. Here, you can learn more about the rich history of our town, and you can even work with us in our historic preservation effort by joining our conversation on our ‘BLOG’. (See NAVIGATION TABS at top of page.)  We are fortunate to live in a town that has retained so much of its traditional New England character; from our picturesque villages, to our farmsteads and landscapes and our many landmark buildings.

Come with us for a walk around our site…



The first role of the Commission is to preserve and protect the historic assets of the town and its Harvard Common and Shaker Village historic districts.  If you live in one of these districts, please familiarize yourself with ourDISTRICT RESIDENTS’ PAGE, where you will find our Design Guidelines, and Harvard’s Historic Preservation Bylaw. If you would like to know where the historic districts are located, click the HISTORIC ASSETS / DISTRICTS  to see the maps. You are welcome to browse other sections of our website including our BLOG by selecting the appropriate TAB shown at top of page.

Uncle-Sam-rs2The second role of the Commission is to advocate for the preservation of all historic assets throughout our town.  The Commission can help as a historical and restoration resource to property owners and managers who are remodeling or maintaining their historic properties. Check out our “HISTORIC HOUSE MARKER PROGRAM” to read about the Marker (shown above) that is officially sanctioned by the Historical Commission.

Our projects typically begin with our planning discussions which you may read about right here on our “Harvard Historical Commission” website.  Look at our ‘LIST OF ALL POSTS’ in our ‘QUICK LINKS‘ in the right sidebar to see which discussion in ourBLOG you would like to join.

Harvard has a rich history to be told, and we welcome anyone to help us tell the stories of Harvard on our historical walks around town. Please visit our HARVARD HISTORY / HISTORICAL WALKS page. Beyond that, please consider joining us in our work. Read our posting Our Historical Commission Needs Your Help and checkout our JOB OPENINGS page.  We encourage you to join us at our monthly meetings at 7PM on the first Wednesday of each month at the Hildreth House and other meetings shown on OUR WORK / ‘CALENDARpage.  There, we will formulate our plans, make our decisions and execute our programs. While you browse our ‘LIBRARY, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the MEETING AGENDA  on the COMMISSIONERS’ PAGE for our next meeting.

To complete our place on the Internet, we devote a page to OUR PRESERVATIONISTS’.  For those volunteers and dedicated preservationists, we take time to acknowledge their work beginning in 1970 with the Planning Board advocating the formation of an Historic District Study Committee. This was followed with the town voting to enact a new Historic Districts Bylaw which formed the Historic Districts Commission and a year later, the Historical Commission.

Finally, please remember that we, on the Commission, are people of Harvard, your neighbors, who are here to serve the people of Harvard. So we hope to hear from you. Please leave us a note or question below in the ‘LEAVE A REPLY’ box.

With kind regards,

Joe Theriault


Harvard Historical Commission

13 thoughts on “FRONT PAGE

  1. I may have missed it but I did not find our house listed on the registry – Priest House circa 1780? – 159 East Bare Hill Road.


    • You are correct, David. 159 East Bare Hill Road is not on our Local Register of Historic Places. The two past surveys, the first completed in 1970-72 focused on the properties associated with the two Local Historic Districts and when the survey was repeated in the early 1990’s, again, your house was not included. However, if you read our blog article on “OUR WORK: Surveying Harvard’s Historic Properties” (, the link to our Street Listing for the current survey will allow you to open the listing which does include your home. So, we will be by to begin the process of surveying your historic property. Be patient. We are just a few volunteers with a few ‘irons in the fire’. :)


  2. Thank you, Mr. Theriault for your thorough and illuminating reply – so prompt, too. Yes, it was a typo, I won’t spell it wrong in my story. BTW: Was Ida Harris related to Dr. Jeff Harris? I knew him well, served on first HES School Council with him and often used him as a go-to for pieces I was working on. I remember how dedicated he was to town history, particularly concerning the Hildreth family and the elementary school that now bears their name thanks to his efforts. He once proposed to the BOS that they back a project to create an historic trail w/markers all over town.
    Did that every get off the ground?
    Anyway,I digress. I have used both of the books you mention to research past articles – I used to write a RE feature that favored historic houses. I’ve seen hundreds over the years and fell in love with all of them- what fun!


    • Thanks for keeping me in the loop. I am doing much better with my Parkinson’s and hope to make that trip to Harvard this summer or fall with my wife. I really appreciate all the genealogical information on the Houghton family that was sent to me last year. Ralph Houghton.


  3. To Mr. Therriault: I enjoyed the Pollard online house tour immensely. Questions: Is that a giant beehive oven in the basement? How many rooms in the house – more than 11?
    You said it’s on the market, Any idea what the list price is? And finally, I couldn’t download the pictures, could you send me a couple?, say an exterior view and maybe a keeping room shot w/fireplace. Thanks, MEJones


  4. Good catch, Mary-Ellen! And its’ Nourse, not Nouse. I hope that was a typo. The full name is Henry S. Nourse, our Harvard historian. He wrote several books on local history but for us, his most important was ‘History of Harvard’ commissioned by Mr. Warren Hapgood and published in 1894. Our ‘other’ historian and a contemporary one is Robert C. Anderson, who wrote ‘Directions of a Town’ which was published by Harvard Common Press in 1976. There is actually one more historian between Nourse and Anderson, which is Ida Harris who was very active with the Historical Society and the Harvard Womans’ Club after the turn of the history. She wrote an update to Nourse’s history which has not yet been published and exists only in manuscript form which the Historical Society has in their Archive. Again, thanks for picking up this oversight.


  5. Requesting a mailing address. I have a line drawing print of ‘The Square House’ by Harvard resident Bayard Underwood. It was printed in the early 70’s and was a gift to Father Donn Brown of St Andrew’s in Ayer (my father). I’d like to gift the print (less the frame) to the Harvard Historical Commission, for archiving or display. It is print number 6 of 200. I can send a photo of it if you provide an email address.


    • Thank you very much, Mr. Brown for your consideration. I will present your message to the Historical Commission at our next meeting on 2 July. I will communicate their response immediately after the meeting. Alternatively, you certainly are invited to join us at the meeting where you can convey your message personally if that were possible.

      The Commission is authorized by law to receive gifts. Although we do not have the facilities to store or display any historic artifacts, we have relationships with the Historical Society and Fruitlands that would allow us to loan an artifact to either.

      We will be in touch with you by e-mail. Thank you.


  6. Thanks so much. I will look forward to hearing from you. A trip to Harvard this summer would be great if I can work it out. Ralph Houghton


  7. My name is Ralph Houghton and I live in Northern Michigan [removed for privacy]. I am interested in genealogy and have run across some information which indicates that my great great great great grandfather, Elijah Houghton born 1739 in Harvard was involved in founding the town and may have been its first Clerk. Do you have any historical records or genealogical library that might help me verify this information? Apparently I had several relatives in the area and I am wondering if there are any cemetery records I might review. I am looking forward to a possible trip to Harvard this coming summer and wanted to find out ahead of time what type of information might be available. I gave you my E-mail address above and my street address is (removed for privacy). I would appreciate any information you might have. Harvard looks like a beautiful little town. Thank you for your help!. Ralph Houghton


    • Thank you for touching base with your ancestral village, Ralph. We certainly are very familiar with your family. It was one of the founding families of Harvard and of neighboring Lancaster. We will organize some references for you that I think you will find helpful when you visit Harvard this summer. We will be in touch. I will send you an e-mail now to establish our correspondence by e-mail.


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