May 12th the Old Engine House will open to the public for the first time in many years. It will be open from 10:00 - 2:00 on Saturdays during the summer. All are welcome to stop by, see the collection and talk about Ashby history.
Nancy Catalini will be hosting the first Saturday which will feature Ashby schools and education. She'll be discussing the one room school houses that provided basic education for over a century, Ashby Academy, a private school offering advanced education, the consolidation of education at the Lyman school in 1902 and Ashby Elementary School built in 1954.
There is no charge but a donation is appreciated. The Ashby Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.
A group of citizens is looking into restoration and use of the Grange building, formerly Ashby Academy. The building has been known by a number of names over the years. It was built in 1820 as the Orthodox Congregational Church. In 1836 it became Ashby Academy and in 1860 was known as Watatic Hall. Sometime in the twentieth century it came to be called the Grange Hall or simply the Grange. In 2008 the Ashby Grange disbanded and the building has remained empty since.
The group consisting of Jim Hargraves, John Mikkola, Rod Gaudreau, Alan Pease, Mark Haines, Doug Leab and others would like to see the building put to use. A community center is the most discussed but housing and a commercial use have also been brought up. The group is applying to the Massachusetts Historical Commission for a grant to set out the specifications for restoration of the exterior. If you would like to participate call Jim Hargraves at 7795. They hold monthly meetings at the Library.
The Ashby Historical Commission authorized the release of money from the Old Engine House restoration account to assist with painting the Old Engine House. The account has a little over $1,000 in it. The progress painting the building to date has been done with volunteers and donations led by Doug Leab. We are now around to the side by the Ashby Market. Doug said, "Well, you know that side is almost three stories tall and I'm not going up that high. The same on the back too." A professional painter will be hired to scrape and paint the upper portions of those two sides. Donations are still needed to cover the costs of paint and volunteers are always welcome to help on the lower sections. The Ashby Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.
The flag pole has been missing from the front of the building for a number of years. It was found in the engine bay of the Old Engine House several years ago. It is 25 feet long and made from a tall straight tree. It was missing much of its paint and the hardware on top was coming loose. It is held in place by 2 brackets, one on the roof and the other on the front wall. When the roof was redone 2 years ago the upper bracket was checked and is solid. Last year while painting the lower bracket was checked and it seems solid as well. Alan Pease took on restoring the pole, replacing the hardware and painting the gold ball. A flag has been purchased from the American Legion and with the aid of the Fire Department we hope to get the pole up in early March.
There is no lighting for the flag so it will need to be raised at dawn and lowered at sunset. It would greatly appreciated if anyone would take on the task to keep Old Glory flying every day.The Ashby Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.