Ashburnham Historical Society, Inc.

Building on the foundation of our past

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February 2020

Ashburnham Historical Society

Annual Letter                                                                                              February 2020

Thank you to all who support the Ashburnham Historical Society.  You are all members in your own way! There are many ways to participate: monetarily, actively, socially, and as visitors, just to name a few.

We have experienced a shift change in our Board of Directors this fall from outgoing President George Cornwall and the long-standing steadfast Curator Tyna Donelson, to newer members Janice Roy and Chris Gagnon.

Tyna has held every position in the Society since Annette Clark first handed her the keys in 1999 and asked her to care for the place.  She curated, was President, curated, was President, and on and on.  George engaged a little later and managed to capture 180 thousand dollars from the State to preserve the roof and structure of the building and presided heavily in the Town’s 250th celebration as well as serving as President of AHS, not to mention the Ashburnham Militia and other town duties.  Joe Daigle saved the cellar from near destruction and has been a steadfast board member.  Dick Marble, Joe Daigle, Jules Vaillancourt and Jim Whidden saved the building from collapse before the funding could come through for the roof.

Over the years former and current members, the Daigle’s, the Marbles, the Whidden’s, the Munroe’s, the Smith’s, Jules Vaillancourt the Hebb’s and many others worked hard to make the building stay upright and update the electricity.  Too many other folks deserve thanks as well in such a short letter.  I apologize for omitting any.

This past season we have seen the massive donation from the Ashburnham Fireman’s Association of their entire collection including the 1929 ladder truck, photos, early apparatus, collectables, display shelving and also a sizeable cash donation which allowed us to focus on the history of the fire department in a way not possible before.  We will continue to display this feature for many years and can’t thank the Fire Fighter’s Association enough for their generosity and allowing AHS to protect their history within our town.  So much history for such a small town!

We have also, after many years of Mr. George Cornwall’s work, finally procured the “Ashburnham Weights and Measures Cabinet” from the Town Hall - A masterpiece of art and function from 1850, now on display.

Earlier this year the Board elected Janice Roy and Chris Gagnon as co-curators.  At this year’s annual meeting, October 11, 2019, Chris and Janice were elected President and Vice President, our Secretary position has gone unfilled and our Treasurer remains, thankfully, as Susie Haenisch, earlier taking over for Skip Nolan. Many thanks to Skip! We miss you!

Also elected at the Annual Meeting, a new member of the board, Candace Wright stepped forward to join our AHS Board. “Congratulations!” We’re all looking forward to your interest in preserving Ashburnham.

We are interested in subjects that incorporate our history focusing closely on Ashburnham.  “Talks and Tours” is something we will work on this winter so that we can create our programs.  Topics can vary widely, and contributors can make suggestions to the Board.

Beside the costs of upkeep and repairs to the building we are in need this year of an internet connection and a small speaker system for our presentations and a webmaster.  We were fortunate this past year to receive a donation from AWCA-TV of a projector, stand and screen for such presentations.

Thank you to all who have given generously.  Without your donations we could not exist.


Janice Roy, Chris Gagnon, Joe Daigle, Stan Smith, Susie Haenisch, Candace Wright / George Cornwall

For questions or suggestions Contact Chris at 508-254-6898 or Janice at 978-827-5457