North Adams Historical Commission To Rededicate Tablet Memorializing Former Mayor
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Historical Commission plans to reinstall the thought-to-be-lost tablet honoring former mayor Mayor William Kirk Greer.
"Monuments are unveiled with great fanfare, and then they just fade into the background. People walk past them every day, and they don't even notice them," Chairman Paul Marino told the commission Thursday, Sept. 28.
He said Greer was also in charge of the Hoosac Mills, located where the Eclipse Mill sits now. The mills were then owned by a firm in New Bedford, and Greer was the equivalent of the Chief Operating Officer.
Greer died in 1947 after managing the mills for 47 years.
"When he died in 1945, it was actually rather sudden. The entire company came together. By the entire company, I mean not only the owners in Boston but the labor force in North Adams," he said. "They erected a bronze tablet to his memory in the warping room of the mill, and that's the last that I'd heard of it."
Marino assumed that the tablet was lost when that portion of the mill was torn down.
"That plaque had been forgotten about," he said. "It had become invisible, and it went out with the other wreckage."
But last year Greer's great-grandson contacted Marino and said that the family was given this tablet when its original location was torn down
"So, they still have it, and they want to give it back to the city," he said.
Marino said he would like to reinstall the tablet sometime this year, most likely on city hall. He said he will meet with the mayor and figure out the best place to affix it. He said they plan to reinstall the tablet on Oct. 9.
Continuing with memorialization, Committee member Joanne Hurlbut said the city plans to honor Historical Commissioner Justyna Carlson. Carlson, a local historian and community advocate, died earlier this year.
Hurlbut said she is still working out the details with the city, but she hopes to have some sort of ceremony with a plaque dedication in March, Women's History Month.
"We still need a location, but everyone is pretty much thinking March. We will do something formal," she said. "If I hear anything else I will let you know."
The commission voted to skip out on applying for a Historical House Survey grant to update the city's log of historical homes, at least for the 2024 grant cycle.
With swiftly approaching deadlines and much groundwork to cover, the commission felt they would be more prepared in a year.
"I'm thinking we should forget 2024 and plan for applying in 2025 because that would give us time," Marino said. "To look over the houses, see which ones we want to update, see which ones we want to add, and touch base with the rest of the city offices to find out where we could get support."
Hurlbut said the commission would have to submit a pre-application by Nov. 15. but before that, they would need to have an idea of the houses they want to include as well as buy-in from the city as the grant is a 50/50 matching grant.
Hurlbut added that the city has applied for this grant before and she asked Marino to dig through some materials left by Carlson who spearheaded past applications. She also felt it would be beneficial to reach out to Mass Historic to see exactly what they would need to include in an application.
Marino said the city's listings very much need to be updated as many entries are wrong or include unnecessary information.
"Some of the things that need to be updated are descriptions because a lot of the people who volunteered for that had no idea what they were doing," he said. "They look at a second empire house and call it a mansard house because it has a mansard roof. Well, there's no such thing as a mansard house."
In other business, the commission approved the demolition of a barn located at 396 East Main Street.
Marino said the structure is in the process of collapsing; he said the structure is potentially dangerous.
"We are going to make some people very happy there," Marino said.
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