Medford’s Community Read 2018

Medford’s community read this year  – Caleb’s Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks – is “inspired by a true story” from colonial New England history.  Medford Public Library is hosting a discussion of the novel, and its “history, themes, relationships and impact” on Wednesday, Aug 15 at 7 PM. The discussion will be lead by Library Director Barbara Kerr, more info here.

The novel is “set in Massachusetts in the 1660s” and “tells the tale of Bethia Mayfield, a restless and curious young woman growing up amid a small band of English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other…”

There’s still lots of 2018 left, so even if you haven’t read the novel yet, you can stop by and learn more.

Hyper-local Histories at the MPL

This summer, our local historian, Dee Morris will offer a walking tour to introduce you to Medford’s famous Hallowell family; brothers Norwood and Edward Hallowell were Civil War officers and their families enjoyed the good life, 19th century style, on lower Mystic Street. The first of these walking tours is Saturday, June 16, at 10 AM. More info here.

And, if you’d like to learn how to research your own family history, the Medford Public Library is hosting a weekly series of workshops, starting this Thursday, June 7, at 7 PM. More details via the library’s Events page, or on this flyer.

What is Design Review anyway?

Many nearby communities use design review to help their neighborhoods benefit from new development (and Medford’s getting plenty of that). If you want to learn more about how to embrace change AND enhance neighborhood character, you are invited to Historic New England’s next workshop. The June workshop, part of a series of “Preservation Strategies that Work,” will focus on Design Review Concepts, Cases and Issues. At the Barnstable Town Hall, June 1.

Your Medford Historical Commission plans to send a member, and if you’d like to join us, drop us a line and tell us why!! Guest will be selected at random.

More details here, but you have to scroll through. 

Fells & Mystic Surveys

Ah, signs of spring! Crocuses! Bird song! User surveys about our favorite natural and historical landscapes! In the first, the Friends of the Fells partnered with the Tufts Environmental Studies Program to learn more about how we use the Middlesex Fells today – Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation Survey. 

View_of_the_bridge_over_mystic_river

In the second, another collaboration with Tufts, the Mystic River Watershed Association wants to know not just how we enjoy the nearby Mystic Greenways, but also how we get there. There’s even an interactive map where we can add the trafficky trouble spots in the area – Mystic River Greenways Survey

Image of the Mystic River c. 1790 via the Library of Congress. 

Medford’s History Happy Hour

The Medford Historical Society is hosting a History Happy Hour 2.0

HP_MedfordBrewing_728

This Friday evening, March 2, at 6:30 PM at the Historical Society on Governors Ave. The event promises to share a brief history of 20th C Medford “in five events – a mural, a map, a highway, a fire and a Bicentennial.” Beverages from the Medford Brewing Co. will be available.

Find details, and RSVP on Facebook.

Image via DigBoston.

Join Medford’s Cemetery Board

Support Medford’s historic cemeteries and serve on the city’s Cemetery Board of Trustees. The mayor is looking for new board members, more info via the Transcript.

Medford’s two remaining cemeteries – the Oak Grove Cemetery and the Salem Street Burying Ground – offer contemporary Medford residents insight into our “civic ancestors,” as local historian and cemetery trustee Dee Morris (pictured below) puts it. Salem Street holds colonial families in the heart of Medford Square, while Oak Grove owes its rugged beauty to the Victorian “garden cemetery” movement that inspired the Mt. Auburn and Forest Hills cemeteries. Both of Medford’s cemeteries provide all of us – families visiting graves, history buffs, genealogists, nature lovers, neighbors, and visitors seeking quiet recreation – with beautiful spaces of contemplation.

Oak Grove

Dee Morris and “Charity,” photo via WBUR.

Tips from a Medford Genealogist

Pamela Cooper, a local genealogist, recently wrote to us with a recommendation for online research that she’d like to share.

I was always very curious about my family tree, particularly my dad’s side of the family, who I really didn’t know. Information like this is often freely available, but you have to go from website to website to accumulate all of that information. I found it a tedious process!

But then I found www.FreeAncestrySearch.org and it was like a dream come true. Suddenly there was one resource that could connect me to all of the various government offices and could help me dig up information about my father’s family. I found it pretty easy to find what I needed and I didn’t have to pay anything. I figured it could help visitors to your site if you added it as a resource.
Just thought I’d share!

It looks like a good tool for family research in the US and we’ve added it to our Links & References page. We’re always interested to know what research tools and tricks you’ve used lately – for researching family, architecture, local history and beyond.

Drop us a line!