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Historical Commission

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The Groton Historical Commission was established in 1963 when, at the request of the Planning Board, the Select Board appointed five members. The commission is currently comprised of seven members. The commission has been active since 1986 when members designed brochures, conducted walking tours of historic properties, and began submitting reports to the state.


Under state law, the commission is responsible for developing an inventory for the identification and protection of the historic properties in the town, including areas, buildings, monuments, sites, burial grounds, and other structures.

Charter - Summary of the state law:

General Law - Part I, Title VII, Chapter 40, Section 8D (malegislature.gov)

  • A city or town which accepts this section may establish a historical commission, hereinafter called the commission, for the preservation, protection, and development of the historical or archeological assets of such city or town.
  • The commission shall consist of not less than three nor more than seven members appointed by the town manager or select board.
  • The commission shall have power to conduct research; to make surveys and maps; to recommend to the town manager or select board measures for the preservation, protection, and development of such assets; to hold public meetings; to cooperate with other organizations; to accept gifts and acquire property in the name of the city or town; and to expend funds appropriated by the town for its purposes.
  • The commission may also prepare plans for the development of such assets and may make recommendations for their use and regulation.
  • The commission may also acquire by purchase, gift, devise or otherwise any property within its jurisdiction which it deems necessary for its purposes.
  • The commission may also hold public meetings and hearings as it deems necessary for its purposes.


Charter - Summary of the town bylaw for Demolition Delay:

Town of Groton, MA Demolition Delay (ecode360.com)

Groton Bylaw, Chapter 125, Demolition Delay, is administered by the historical commission for the purpose of preserving and protecting significant buildings within the Town of Groton which are outside Local Historic Districts. For Local Historic Districts, reference the Historic Districts Act, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40C.

  • The bylaw applies to any building or structure that is 75 years or older, or that is listed on a historic register, or that is within a historic district.
  • If you want to demolish such a building or structure, you need to file an application with the building inspector, who will forward it to the historical commission.
  • The historical commission will hold a public hearing within 30 days of receiving your application and will notify you and other interested parties of the date, time, and place of the hearing.
  • At the hearing, the historical commission will determine if the building or structure is historically or architecturally significant, and if so, if it should preferably be preserved.
  • If the historical commission decides that the building or structure is preferably preserved, it will impose a delay of up to 18 months on your demolition permit. This is to give you and others time to find an alternative solution that preserves or protects the building or structure.
  • During this delay period, you can work with the historical commission and other interested parties to explore options such as relocation, restoration, reuse, incorporation into new development, donation, sale, preservation restriction agreement, etc.
  • You can also request a waiver or reduction of the delay if you show good cause or hardship. The historical commission may grant such a waiver or reduction if it finds that there is no reasonable likelihood of finding an alternative solution within the delay period.
  • If no alternative solution is found by the end of the delay period, or if you get a waiver or reduction of the delay, you can proceed with your demolition permit.


Charter – Historical Commission versus other bodies

What are the differences between the Historical Commission, the Historical District Commission, and the Groton History Center, aka the Groton Historical Society?

Here is a brief description of the different roles of these three groups in Groton:

  • The Historical Commission is a town-appointed board that conducts research, provides information, and advises other boards and agencies on historical or archeological matters. It inventories historical assets in the town, submits reports to the state, and facilitates Demolition Delay determinations according to the town bylaw.
  • The Historic Districts Commission is a town-appointed board that reviews and approves any changes to buildings or facades within Groton Historic Districts. Its aim is to protect and preserve the historic character of the districts.
  • The Historical Society is a private non-profit organization that operates the Groton History Center, which includes two historic buildings (the Boutwell House and Prescott School) and a museum. It also organizes events, exhibits, lectures, and publications related to Groton’s history.


The Commission typically meets once every month starting at 7:00 in Town Hall. Please check the public meetings calendar to confirm the meeting schedule.

Joining the Historical Commission

The Historical Commission is actively seeking one full Commissioner and three Alternate Members.  We have an active set of projects and encourage anyone who has an interest in local history to consider joining the Commission. The full Commissioner is a voting member, participating in the full range projects, meetings, and community engagement.  Alternate Members participate in Commission meetings and hearings, contribute to Commission projects, and can be designated as a temporary voting member to fill in for an absent Commissioner.


Recent Commission Projects

  • Co-sponsored placement of the Old Meeting House onto the National Register of Historic Places, completed in 2022.
  • Milestone Markers - survey and restoration project of 2013.
  • Groton Farms Agricultural Survey of 2012.
  • Groton town-wide Archaeology Report of 2011.
  • The Community Wide Preservation Survey, 2006 through 2008.
  • Town Hall Archives

From the Vault of the Groton Town Clerk's Office, these Town Hall Archives, which date back to the late 17th century, include Births, Deaths, and Marriage records, Land and Property records, Town Meeting Warrants, Select Board Minutes, Taxes, and other records.

Of special interest, the Historical Collections section includes Caleb Butler's copy of the Indian Roll (the earliest Groton historical narrative), The Revolution (including papers related to Shays’ Rebellion), Militia Enrollment, and the Civil War.

The link will take you to a set of file folders, organized into groups of scanned images. A ReadMe file provides details on the structure of the Archives and on what the Archives DO and DO NOT include.

Contact Information

Email: grotonhistoricalcommission@gmail.com
Phone: 978-448-1111
Members: 7
Selection: Appointed
Term In Years: 3
Remuneration: None


Allen B. King
Allen B. King
Term Start: 2023-07-01
Term End: 2026-06-30
Aubrey Theall
Aubrey Theall
Term Start: 2023-07-01
Term End: 2026-06-30
Joshua Vollmar
Joshua Vollmar
Term Start: 2021-08-30
Term End: 2024-06-30
Michael D.. Danti
Michael D.. Danti
Term Start: 2022-07-01
Term End: 2025-06-30
Robert Degroot
Robert Degroot
Term Start: 2022-07-01
Term End: 2024-06-30
Thomas Horsman
Thomas Horsman
Term Start: 2023-09-12
Term End: 2025-06-30

Historical Commission Documents

    1. Archaeology_Report_2011.pdf
    1. Resource_Guide_for_Local_Farmers.pdf
    2. Hist_Comm_Agricultural_Report_2012.pdf
    1. Historical_Commission_approved_minutes_2024-04-10_id-15105.docx
    2. Historical_Commission_approved_minutes_2024-03-13_id-15014.docx
    3. Historical_Commission_approved_minutes_2024-02-07_id-14892.docx
    4. Historical_Commission_approved_minutes_2024-01-10_id-14791.docx
    5. Historical_Commission_approved_minutes_2023-12-13_id-14726.docx
    6. Historical_Commission_approved_minutes_2023-11-08_id-14624.docx
    7. Historical_Commission_approved_minutes_2023-10-18_id-14527.docx
    8. Historical_Commission_approved_minutes_2023-09-13_id-14414.docx
    9. Historical_Commission_approved_minutes_2023-08-09_id-14263.docx
    10. Historical_Commission_approved_minutes_2023-07-12_id-14223.docx
    11. Access additional meeting minutes and agendas at the Meeting Center
Upcoming Public Meetings