Public Hearing Scheduled for 2 Grove Street to Determine Preferential Preservation

submitted by the Historical Commission


The Historical Commission Demo-Delay public hearing for 2 Grove Street to determine Preferential Preservation is September 10 at 7 pm at town hall. If found preferably preserved by the historical commission, the town and the historical commission would have 12 months to work on a preservation plan for the building. This would include exploring options for re-use of the building.

When Elijah Stoddard was 39 he opened a store at the center of the village of Upton. Elijah Stoddard worked with William Knowlton to start the straw-hat business in Upton. Knowlton first worked with Elijah’s brother Leyard who owned a general store in the present day Arcade Block. Women would weave straw into plaits for straw hats in exchange for goods in local general stores.

It is one of the Contributing buildings for the Upton Center Historic District that was approved by the National Register for Historic Preservation (NRHP) in January of 2015, as well as being on the Massachusetts State Register of Historic Places. It is the oldest commercial building in the historic district.

The 1851 map shows this building to be the location of the Sons of Temperance. The Sons of Temperance was a brotherhood of men who promoted the temperance movement and mutual support. The group was founded in 1842 in NYC and it began spreading rapidly during the 1840’s throughout the United States. Besides being against excessive alcohol consumption, the group operated as a kind of insurance group for burial costs. There were secret rituals, signs, passwords and regalia, and by the 1850’s there were over 5,000 chapters.

There have been many commercial enterprises at 2 Grove Street in recent years.  At this time the town of Upton has purchased the property with the intent of tearing the building down to make way for parking spaces for the town hall. At present there are ten parking places to one side of the building. If the building was torn down there might be 19 parking spaces. There is additional parking beside town hall at the present time.

Because the building is historic and part of a historic district there are some preservation funds for possible restoration. The Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (MPPF) is a state-funded 50% reimbursable matching grant program established in 1984 to support the preservation of properties, landscapes, and sites (cultural resources) listed in the State Register of Historic Places. Applicants must be a municipality or nonprofit organization, and Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding could be used as a match.

Historic cultural resources in public and nonprofit ownership and use frequently suffer from deferred maintenance, incompatible use, or are threatened by demolition. These important resources represent a significant portion of the Commonwealth’s heritage. By providing assistance to historic cultural resources owned by nonprofit or municipal entities, the Massachusetts Historical Commission hopes to ensure their continued use and integrity. The program is administered in accordance with 950 CMR 73.00.

Examples of local towns who are working successfully with preserving small buildings include Hopedale’s The Little Red Shop Museum and Hopkinton’s Toll House. One of the ways of preserving buildings is to move the building. This would be less costly for the town than tearing it down, as the building would be a give away. The 12-months period would give the town time to explore options for not demolishing the building.

– Upton Center Historic District National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)

Historical Collections by John Warner Barber, 1839

History of Worcester County MA v 2, ed. by Duane Hamilton Hurd

Upton Massachusetts, 1735-1935

Upton’s Heritage, the history of a Massachusetts town, Donald Blake Johnson

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