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The Harvard Historical Society Invites You to Discover Your Town


Houghton Sprague Garrison House—A Detective Story
Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 7PM

How do you tell the ages of different parts of an old house? How do you know if it was built where it now stands or moved to the site? Have walls been moved? Was it ever a tavern? A two-family house?

If you are fascinated by the mysteries of old houses, you won’t want to miss a talk by preservationist Robert Adam on Thursday, September 24, at 7 p.m. at the Harvard Historical Society,
215 Still River Road.

Robert Adam has been working on the Houghton house at 204 West Bare Hill Road for six years, trying to get it to divulge its secrets. He has learned a great deal, but still he admits, “There’s stuff we’ll never know.” Adam has concluded that the house was originally 2 main structures that were "married" together around the turn of the 18th century. The eastern part was originally built on this site in the 1730's. The western part is an earlier structure that was built elsewhere and moved to this site.
The clues that help solve the mysteries are physical evidence, information from deeds, and details of probate hearings. Dendrochronology is used to date beams, and floorboard widths, paint traces, nails, and siding methods all shed light on when something was built. Adam’s extensive knowledge and experience help him date things by knowing when hand-wrought nails stopped being used, what jogging was for, and how traces of fasteners and decoration are evidence of a cage bar.

The history of the Houghton house promises to be fascinating in itself, and Adam’s discussion of clues and resources will inspire owners of old homes to be their own house detectives.


Pioneers of Harvard House Tour
Saturday, October 24, 2015

The 2015 Historical Society House Tour celebrates some of the oldest homes in town, whose residents were influential "pioneers". Each house represents the era in which it was built and also the changes various homeowners made through the years. Visitors will learn of the rich history of each house and will also meet one of the home's most prominent inhabitants. These pioneers will relate highlights of their lives and talk about Harvard in the "good ole days." Tickets on sale now. For more detailed information go to our Events page. To order tickets, click here to download the ticket order form.

















Musical Program
Thursday, November 5, 2015

Like last year’s Playing with History, this event will feature a blend of history and music. Stay tuned for more details…

The Harvard Historical Society Annual Meeting
Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 7PM


Harvard Historical Society
PO Box 542
Harvard, Massachusetts 01451

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