City Revives Historic Commission

By Seth Daniel

History can be easily forgotten if not championed by the living, and the City has revived its history with a new crop of historians to join its Historic Commission and bring the City’s history back into the forefront.

In a combined effort by Mayor Carlo DeMaria, City Clerk Mike Matarazzo and Assistant City Clerk Sergio Cornelio, seven members have been appointed to the Commission and have been meeting regularly since March.

The effort, Cornelio said, was just in time for the City’s 125th Anniversary celebration, and will also be good timing for the upcoming 150th Anniversary – when Everett officially split from Malden to become a Town.

“This Historic Commission came together at a perfect time,” said Cornelio this week. “We have two different celebrations, both major, within two years. This Commission has been a very good help to designate what we believe are historic, or significant, buildings…A lot of these buildings are breaking the 100-year mark and sometimes it helps to designate them because you can qualify for grant funds.”

Mayor DeMaria said he hopes the new Commission will be a catalyst for bringing the City’s history back into the limelight after about six years of the Commission being defunct.

“These newly appointed Historic Commission members will be a catalyst for documenting and preserving our history throughout Everett,” he said. “We all know historic buildings and sites contribute to our economic vitality and quality of life for our residents and visitors alike. It is critical that our city, non- profits, developers, and local institutions work collaboratively to make preservation a priority. I want to thank the members for their contribution to this effort”

The new members include:  Chair Lawrence Arinello, Rosemary Catterson, Patricia Ells, Camille DiPierri, Daniel Skerritt and Mary Puleo.

Ells said she is a former schoolteacher and worker at the Public Library, and after having lived in Everett all her life, she understands more and more how important it is to preserve the history before it gets lost to time.

“I’ve always lived in Everett so the older I get the more I understand you have to preserve your history and the City’s history,” she said. “I’ve long thought we really needed a group to bring all this rich history together. Bringing the Historic Commission together is going to preserve these stories, places, history and information.”

Ells said it’s very important for the City to learn from those who came  before, and as a Librarian, that is of great interest to her.

“I know how important it is to document and have this past organized so people can follow the Everett journey – where we are now and where we started out and the people who helped us become this community,” she said. We need to remember these pole and their contribution…The Historic Commission is going to play a critical role in that.”

Of particular interest, she said, is the period about 150 years ago when Everett split from Malden to become the Town of Everett.

“That fascinates me,” she said. “I want to know the big players and why they thought that was necessary.”

Cornelio said one of the first projects they are working on is to create a historic walking tour of Everett.

He said they hope to have about 20 or 30 sites that will have interpretive signage that people can discover on foot. One of those places will be the oldest house in Everett, which is on Ferry Street and is very well preserved from its original 1700s construction.

“We hope to place around 20 or 30 signs at places like the First Meeting House, historic churches, the place where the first police officer was killed and the first firefighter – as well as the oldest house in Everett on Ferry Street,” he said. “People will be able to find out where these places are and walk to them and there will be signs at the site explaining why it is an historic location. When it’s all done, it will be a nice walking tour that we’ll leave up and preserve forever.”

All in all, the effort is a nice addition to the 125th Anniversary celebration of Everett becoming a City.

“It’s really going to be an exciting and fun year for the history of Everett,” said Cornelio.

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