East Otis Schoolhouse Receives Major Grant Award

East Otis Schoolhouse Receives Major Grant Award

>>> By Sonia Morrison & Diane Provenz, Co-Chairs OHC

>>>

>>> The Otis Historical Commission has fantastic news to share. The MA Historical Commission has awarded the Town of Otis a matching funds grant for $51,500  to start the restoration of the East Otis Schoolhouse. This grant plus the funds that the Town had set aside several years ago will be used  to address overall exterior stabilization including roofing replacement, foundation masonry repairs, carpentry repairs to windows, doors, clapboard and trim, and exterior painting.  Receiving this grant is such a great affirmation by the Commonwealth of our project & the Town’s vision to preserve and repurpose this unique property. This particular building is a rare example of a one room schoolhouse that remained in use till the mid 20th Century.   As part of the reopening of the building, the Town will be recognizing the last attending class which included Bill Dyer & Walter Neff. If you know or have the names of others who were part of this class, please let us know by emailing otishistoricalcommission@gmail.com.

>>>

>>> The East Otis School House, constructed in 1858 and reflective of the Greek Revival style, was last used as a school in 1949.  The Town has continued to maintain the former school for the past 72 years – ever since it was closed.  After the restoration work has been completed, the building will serve as a living children’s museum.  The OHC is collecting and storing desks and artifacts that can be placed in the building once it is restored.  This historic structure which has been placed on the MA Historic Register is now pending individual listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

>>>

>>> Special thanks to Gail Gelburd (OHC member) who wrote much of the grant, to Sonia Morrison (OHC Co-Chair) who worked on the construction and cost estimates, to Lynne Geane (President of the Otis Preservation Trust  or OPT ) who used her artistic talents to put the whole submission together and to our Historical Preservationist, Bonnie Parsons, whose wealth of information on all things Historical provided the important data.  In this case, it truly takes a village.

>>>> We need your help to raise this roof. While the OHC and OPT are delighted to receive this MPPF grant, and thank  the Town for setting aside  the funds to match it, we didn’t receive all that we had asked for.  We are still $30,000 short of the funds to complete  this phase.  As always anyone wishing to donate or discuss naming rights can go to OPTIN.TODAY to  donate  or send a donation to the Otis Preservation Trust -PO Box 355 – Otis Ma 01253.    I f you would like more info you can email us at otishistoricalcommission@gmail.com. In addition to this grant, OPT has raised $100,000 in support of the Historical Commission ’s projects – Restoration of St Paul’s, improving the Knox Trail, and  creating an historic district in the Center of Otis.

>>>> We hope you are as excited as we are  to move forward with this work & get the building reopened! We are grateful for your participation, support, & your suggestions as we proceed.