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Shrewsbury receives inventory of 141 historic properties

SHREWSBURY – Shrewsbury’s Town Meeting voted in 2019 to fund a survey of historic properties in town.

Last month, the Historical Commission then presented an inventory of 141 such properties to the Board of Selectmen.

The goal under the initial Town Meeting vote was to research these properties that are of significance, but that hadn’t been entered into the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS), which is run by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

Another goal was to develop preliminary plans for the long-term protection of these resources.

Chiampa Funeral Home occupies the old Rev. Joseph Sumner House. The structure is included in a new inventory of historic buildings in Shrewsbury. (Photo/Ben Domaingue)

Properties date back to 1706

A lot of the properties are concentrated in the town center and along Lake Quinsigamond.

The construction dates of these properties range from 1706 to 1899.

For example, one of the properties in the inventory is the Rev. Joseph Sumner House, which is currently occupied by Chiampa Funeral Home.

The inventory notes that the old Sumner House was built in 1797. It details the home’s architectural features, like its facade and front door.

More research needed

Though the town now has this list, getting properties added in MACRIS will require still more extensive research. Many of the properties ultimately may not be eligible to be included, according to Joseph Metrano, a preservation coordinator with SSV Architects, which has been contracted to aid in this effort.

“The value of MACRIS, obviously, is to put Shrewsbury on the map, so to speak, and highlight some of the historic buildings we have in town,” said SSV’s Gerald Sullivan.

Selectman Maurice DePalo asked how these properties were selected, noting that there are about 316 Shrewsbury homes that were built from 1700 to 1900, according to the assessor’s office.

Historical Commission Chair Paul Schwab said the town merged various lists into their recommended list.

Not every property on that list was assessed as part of the inventory, Schwab said.

“That was our best guess as to the ones we felt would show some promise in having some significance,” he said.

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