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Historic roadway marker on Soldier’s Monument Town Green in Brimfield

Historic roadway marker on Soldier’s Monument Town Green in Brimfield

MassDOT has announced that it is carrying out a project to restore 21 historic 1930 Massachusetts Bay Colony tercentenary markers located in Bernardston, Brimfield, Deerfield, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, New Braintree, Northfield, West Brookfield, and Worcester.

These cast iron markers were installed on roadways throughout the Commonwealth in 1930 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

“MassDOT is proud to be carrying out this project to restore these historic markers which highlight the rich heritage of Massachusetts and local communities,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “These markers help inform residents and commuters of notable events and facts about cities and towns, and are well-known historical artifacts that enhance roadside landscapes throughout Massachusetts.”

The markers were installed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Works, which was one of the predecessors to MassDOT. The Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission, chaired by Harvard University historian Samuel Eliot Morrison, designed the markers and edited the text. The markers were fabricated by Carlisle Foundry in Pennsylvania.

MassDOT has identified 174 of the original 275 markers that were put in place primarily in the northeast and central parts of the Commonwealth, as well as in Plymouth County and the Connecticut River Valley.

The markers are made of cast iron with the background painted aluminum, the letters and the trim in black, and the coat of arms of the Commonwealth in blue and gold. All of the markers are 36 inches wide and between 35 and 45 inches high, not including the post, and weigh between 165 and 200 pounds. They highlight past events and figures and provide facts and stories about local communities, and the text is the same on both sides of the markers so that travelers from either direction may read the inscriptions.

Work to date has included cleaning and repainting these 21 markers, and conservators will also be restoring or replacing the original hexagonal posts. The full project is currently expected to be completed by winter 2019.

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