History of the Society
An invitation stating… “all persons interested in the formation of a local Historical Society are requested to meet at Selectmen’s Room in the Town House Friday, July 29, 1910, at 7:30 p.m.” was issued by John Mason Batchelder of Holliston. A further invitation for “free discussion” was also included and an enthusiastic response resulted in approximately 38 members pledging to join together in the interest of historical preservation.
Growing to a membership of 183 just two years later, the Society met in various private homes for the next twelve years. The needs of the growing organization prompted purchase and subsequent renovation of the Dr. Burnap house in 1922. This fine Greek Revival style building that stood beside the Holliston Public Library until 1976 was used by the Society as its home until August of 1967, when the Society moved to the larger Asa Whiting House on Washington Street. Again, the membership worked to renovate this new home, and through the loyal hardworking efforts of the members, funds were raised to pay a mortgage and support the upkeep of the property that today includes a house, a barn, a restored corn crib, and spacious grounds. Ways & Means committees have constantly been challenged throughout the years to provide the financial support needed to maintain the Society’s home, and fundraising activities and events such as fairs, auctions, house tours, pancake breakfasts, and craft tables have taken place.
While the location of the Society may have changed since 1910, the original purpose of the founding fathers has remained constant. The studying, collecting and preserving of historical records, traditions, and relics relating to the history of Holliston and its people goes on in the form of educational tours and demonstrations for school children, the cleaning and repairing of documents, renovations and additions to the costume collection, the opening of the library to the public for study and research, and an annual Christmas Open House for all residents. Numbering over two hundred members, the Society provides a unique opportunity of community fellowship due to the fact that it is one of the few organizations which includes in its membership people of all ages and interests. The creation of a finer public spirit has been included in our By-laws, and to this end, new members are always welcome.