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Success Story Sunday: The Town of Petersham

The town of Petersham has been on a roll recently with their preservation efforts. This little town with a population just over 1,000 has recently opened a country store and proposed the reuse of their historic inn.

A couple of years ago, when the country store closed, citizens rallied to raise funds and partnered with the East Quabbin Land Trust (EQLT) to use the store to achieve common goals. Residents saw the store as the heart of their community while EQLT saw the store as a local market for the farm products they produced on their land. The Country Store is a Greek revival structure, built in 1840 and is one of forty five buildings listed in the Petersham Common National Register Historic District and Local Historic District. Through successful preservation and restoration efforts, The Country Store is now open for business and represents a model for success, showing that partnering people and organizations can achieve shared goals.

You can view their menu, hours, and offerings here:

More recently, the town of Petersham released their Request for Proposals for the transfer, reuse, and redevelopment of the Nichewaug Inn. The Inn, located at 25 Common Street, is part of the Petersham Common Historic District and was listed on Preservation Massachusetts’s 2003 Most Endangered List. The town hopes that by releasing their RFP for the Nichewaug Inn Property, they will be able to retain the beauty, integrity, and historical significance of the Inn while redeveloping the property to the benefit of the residents and visitors of Petersham.

This stately and elegant shingle-style building has played a critical role in the social and historical life of the community. The Inn has been around for nearly 200 years and has operated, not only as an inn, but as a tavern, hotel, and school at one point or another. The present 1899 building was constructed as a classic turn-of-the-century Victorian summer hotel and was owned by James W. Brooks, the one citizen who most influenced the character and appearance of present-day Petersham. In 1952 a brick building was constructed behind the original inn and the whole complex operated as a parochial girls high school for 20 years.

Thank you to Stacia Caplanson, our Preservation Massachusetts Circuit Rider, for contributing to this article.

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