Historic Records Building shines again in Paxton

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PAXTON – “I’ve always driven by the Records Building and felt it was a shame it was so neglected,” Gordon Snyder said.

It is no longer neglected, as volunteers have recently embellished the building constructed to safeguard the city’s archives.

“It’s a historic gem in our city and needed updating,” Snyder said.

Historic Commission member Anita Fenton said the ‘unassuming little brick building’ which stands in the local Paxton Historic District on Route 122 off Town Common ‘was funded by the estate of Charles Boynton , a lifelong Paxton resident who worried about the safety of city officials, held city paperwork in a wooden town hall.

“Built in 1899, this building was and still is used to store important documents and records,” Snyder said.

Over the years, the Records Building has shown some of the weathering that the heat of New England’s summers and the cold of its winters can inflict on a structure.

“I talked to Brian (Brosnihan of the Cemetery Commission) about it one day as we were driving by, and as a team, we came up with a plan,” Snyder said.

The two started a project involving their efforts along with contributions from other Paxton residents and organisations, the Historical Commission and the DPW at the newly reformed Paxton Garden Club.

Synder said they started by removing brush overgrowth and cutting down some trees that had taken over the building.

“Once it was finished, the beauty of this magnificent old building was once again visible,” he said.

PAXTON - Gordon Snyder works on the archives building.

Logistics included a meeting with the Historical Commission to coordinate the work and painting.

Normally, the building gets little attention, Fenton said, until Brosnihan and Snyder “decided it needed some well-deserved attention and volunteered to do it.”

They contacted the Paxton Local Historic District Commission with their intention to repaint the peeling wood and remove debris that had accumulated over the years around the structure, as well as possible future repairs to the roof and fences and the replacement of a circular window.

“After receiving approval and information on historically appropriate paint colors, they spent long hours completing their tasks,” Fenton said.

“Once the painting was completed, we framed the building with landscaping, and the Garden Club helped with the donation of planters which are placed on either side of the main entrance. We are still working on other improvements including repairing the slate roof, replacing the fencing around the building and replacing the round window above the main entrance,” Synder said.

The Paxton Records Building in 1900, shortly after it was built in 1899, is visible in a photo from the Historical Commission.

“Brian and I are both residents of Paxton and we wanted to give something back to our town. I lived in town with my wife for over 35 years to raise my family. Brian and his family are new residents of Paxton, but share the same enthusiasm for giving back to our town,” he said. Additionally, the Paxton Historical Commission will look into possible fundraising to help with the circular window replacement, she said. It also plans to preserve and document all significant historical documents present. She said the Commission hopes that during a future Paxton Days, the Records Building can be opened to residents of Paxton.

Thanks to the work of volunteers and donations from the Paxton Garden Club and considerable help from Travis Thibault and his DPW team, “the result is an externally improved archives building that would surely make Mr. Boynton proud,” said said Fenton.

“This small but mighty two-person team removed all the brush and debris, recolored the trim and door, laid down a new peastone application and applied a cobblestone edge,” said Robin Tasca, member of the Paxton Garden Club. , about the work Brosnihan and Snyder put into the project.

The Garden Club responded when Brosnihan approached members to see if they could donate planters that could be planted seasonally.

“We were able to buy two urn-style planters (very popular in the late 1800s) and fill them with beautiful annuals,” Tasca said, with plans to “change the flowers seasonally so this little building could have color and beauty in spring”. at the fall.

Tasca said the donations included funding for planters from local landscapers Dolan Landscaping and M&A Property, and Bill Casey and Ryan Gates donating the paving. Howes Farm and Garden donated the flowers for the planters, Glenn Sullivan donated the solar floodlights and Ten West Market helped feed the team, she said.

“We have a special place in our hearts for the small town of Paxton,” Snyder said.

“The common area is a peaceful green space surrounded by so much history. The town hall, the two churches, the cemetery and now the archives building are all focal points to be seen as they pass through our town.

“Brian and I are happy to be able to take on this project in our spare time and give something back to our town so that others can enjoy this little piece of Paxton town history,” Synder said.

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