By Jordan Houston
AGAWAM – Work is underway to update Agawam’s Inventory of Historic Structures in order to better understand the town’s historic buildings and properties scattered across the community.
The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) is partnering with the Agawam Historical Commission to utilize a $72,000 grant to bring the town’s recordkeeping in compliance with 21st century Massachusetts Historical Commission requirements. The town council and Community Preservation Act Committee approved of the grant last spring.
PVPC Historic Preservation Planner Shannon Walsh will be working with local officials, historians and property owners to revise and add more than 300 inventory forms that document historic areas, buildings, burial grounds, objects and structures throughout Agawam and Feeding Hills.
“I think it’s important for an area to have documentation of their history – it’s more than architecture, it’s also about the people who built these houses and lived around here,” Walsh told Reminder Publishing. “I also feel like historic preservation fits with sustainable design, which is more and more crucial as we understand what’s going on with the environment. I think it’s important to save the resources for the community; and it’s just environmentally responsible. The more I do it, the more important I feel it is.”
Because Agawam’s Inventory of Historic Structures originated in 1985, a majority of its inventory forms contain minimal information. Several of its inventoried properties were also demolished before the town’s Demolition Delay Ordinance was enacted in 2000.
Walsh is seeking to add contemporary photographs of historic properties, while revising and adding information such as location, historic name, construction date, style, builder and condition. The documentation will also include a locus map, detailed architectural description, and a historical narrative that explains the structure’s associations with local history and the role of its owners in the community.