FITCHBURG -- The Historical Society is announcing the sale of its original library building on Grove Street, as part of the full relocation of its headquarters to the historic Phoenix Building on Main Street.
The 50 Grove St. building was completed in 1911 on land donated to the Fitchburg Historical Society by its founding president, James F.D. Garfield.
Garfield also organized the fundraising drive that paid for the construction of the building. It was designed in an elegant Georgian Revival style by Fitchburg’s most important Victorian-era architects, Henry M. Francis and Sons.
The purchaser of the building is Rick Boscardin, of Fifty Grove Street Realty Trust, who is owner and developer of several properties in downtown Fitchburg and surrounding communities.
“This is a big step for the Fitchburg Historical Society,” said organization’s president Amy Green. “We have a long-term strategy of attracting larger audiences and new supporters to the Historical Society. Our programs create new opportunities and quality of life for Fitchburg locals, while we also serve as a tourist destination from more distant communities.”
“The sale of 50 Grove Street provides many advantages to the city of Fitchburg,” said Green, who is the owner of Back-N-Touch Wellness Center and the vice president of the Fitchburg City Council. “The overhead costs of caring for two buildings has been onerous for the Historical Society and now we do not have to commit so much of our annual budget to our buildings and can concentrate on improving the Phoenix Building.
In addition, said Green, the new owner will develop the property so that it will become a more active part of Fitchburg’s downtown area.
“We have been planning this for a long time,” said Historical Society Treasurer James Reynolds. “With the major investments being made in Fitchburg’s Main Street and North of Main neighborhood by Fitchburg State, the City of Fitchburg, NewVue Communities and the Fitchburg Art Museum, the consolidation of the Fitchburg Historical Society’s activities in the Phoenix building is a vital part of the city’s downtown Renaissance.”
The Fitchburg Historical Society purchased and renovated the former Fitchburg Mutual Fire Insurance Building in 2007 in order to create a larger, more visible library and museum space on Main Street.
The Campaign for the Phoenix Building was led by Sally Dickinson, retired owner of Portals Marketing, and Eleanor Gilmartin, of Fitchburg.
A major gift was later received from Jeanne Crocker and Bigelow Crocker Jr. that funded a new elevator and full ADA accessibility; with additional funding from the Mass Cultural Council Cultural Facilities Fund. Exhibitions and operations were begun at the Phoenix Building in October 2012.
“We hit the ground running in 2012, and immediately started providing educational programs, history exhibitions and a research library to the public,” said executive director Susan Navarre. “We are proud of the work that we have done to make sure that every citizen in Fitchburg is aware of our programs and services. With programs like the Holiday House Tour, the annual Iver Johnson bike exhibitions, and our history exhibitions, we are increasingly known and respected throughout New England and the nation.”
The Fitchburg Historical Society is located at 781 Main St. in the historic Phoenix building. There is abundant on-street parking near the Historical Society and free parking behind the building. The building is handicapped accessible.
For more information, call 978-345-1157, email email@example.com , visit www.fitchburghistoricalsociety.org or www.facebook.com/FitchburgHistoricalSociety .