Old Harbor Village

The Townsend Historical Society (THS) has a remarkable opportunity to complete renovations to the THS buildings and grounds in the Townsend Harbor area through a generous donation.  With this gift, the THS has the opportunity to create a new vision. 

The vision is as exciting as it is bold. It will create a unified campus through landscape and hardscape design.  The vision will tell the story of life in a typical New England industrial village. It will unify the THS campus with a working Grist Mill at one end and a function hall/museum venue at the Harbor Meeting House at the other end.

The THS has named the campus Old Harbor Village.  The THS views Old Harbor Village as a place where young and old will visit again and again from near and far to walk back in time.  When the work of creating Old Harbor Village is complete, it will be one of the most compelling destinations in the area.  The THS imagines enticing visitors the campus with a brochure that reads:

At Old Harbor Village, you can walk back in time through the buildings and grounds of an early 18th century rural New England industrial village in the very structures standing 200 years ago.  Young and old alike can experience early industrial life at a working grist mill and a water powered mill known as the Cooperage, with equipment from the numerous industries that once flourished inside its walls.   Experience home life at a federal-style dwelling, the Reed Homestead, little changed from when the Reed family lived in the home and hired the itinerant painter Rufus Porter to paint the outstanding murals found inside. 

Understand community life as it unfolded in the Harbor Church.  Find all this in less than a quarter mile pastoral walk along scenic Harbor Pond in Townsend, MA.  And should you feel like a longer walk, continue along the stone dust Squannacook River Rail Trail which passes through Old Harbor Village, leading to the vibrant center of Townsend.

Let’s dive into why each of these elements of Old Harbor Village will be so special.  You can take a tour of Old Harbor Village using the image below.

How will it work?

For the Old Harbor Village vision to be met and the campus open to welcome visitors, more than the part time site administrator and volunteer effort that presently sustains the Townsend Historical Society is required.  The goal is to hire a full-time director.  In addition to marketing the campus, the director will run tours on a scheduled basis.

These tours will be developed for multi-generational visitors.  Potential visitors include adults, or families that are in the area to attend Groton Hills concerts, or those that are visiting students attending Lawrence Academy or the Groton School, guests attending weddings at Gibett Hill (or in the Harbor Church), school groups, or senior citizen tour groups. The potential visitor pool is diverse and the campus will ensure there is something for everyone.

How can I help?

The transformation from what is present to the vision of Old Harbor Village will be transformational, not just for the Townsend Community and the THS, but for those that will visit the campus. 

Please join us in the effort to make the vision a reality. THS has created an endowment fund and an operating fund. A donation to the endowment fund will be placed in an interest-bearing account. The principal will never be touched and only the interest used to fund ongoing efforts. A donation to the operating fund will help support daily needs and special projects of the THS. See more details on our Donate page.

Secure your place in history, and help make Townsend a destination by making a pledge today.