Historical Commission

The Walpole Historical Commission is a volunteer five-member board appointed by the Board of Selectmen.

It was established by Selectmen in 1970, and it is sanctioned by Mass. General Laws. The Commission serves as the official advocate for the preservation, protection and development of the Town of Walpole’s historical and archaeological assets. Per MGL Chapter 40 Section 8D, it may also seek to coordinate the activities of unofficial bodies organized for similar purposes.

The Commission’s primary function is to oversee the execution of Chapter 349 of the Town of Walpole Bylaws (Demolition Delay Bylaw), which requires that the Commission have input in the demolition of any structure in town that is more than 100 years old. Under the current bylaw, the Commission may vote to impose a delay of up to six months on the demolition of any historically significant structure more than 100 years old. The purpose of the delay is to encourage the property owner to seek alternatives to demolition.

It sometimes receives inquiries from the Massachusetts Historical Commission, or state or federal agencies asking for comments on proposed state or federally involved projects in the Town of Walpole. These projects may impact historical or archaeological resources. 

The Commission has also been involved with conducting inventories of historical properties in the Town. 

The Commission is often confused with the Historical Society, which is a non-governmental non-profit (headquarters at Deacon Willard Lewis House on town common)

The Commission meetings are held in the Town Hall as frequently as necessary but not less than six times annually. Meeting times and dates may vary but are typically held on the third Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall. They will be posted 48 hours in advance on the bulletin board at the Town Hall, as well as on the Walpole Historical Commission web page. The meetings are open to the public.

The Commission is currently seeking a secretary through the senior tax work-off program. The Commission is also seeking associate (non-voting) members. Applicants for associate membership should have an interest in advocating for Walpole's historical assets and history.

Interested parties should contact the chairman and/or attend a Commission meeting. All applications for membership require approval by the Walpole Board of Selectmen.

All inquiries please email the chairman at the link at the left, or contact any of the members below.

Staff Contacts

Commission Members

Name Title
Sam Obar Chairman
Christine Cochrane Vice Chair
Katie Birtwell Member
Justin Caron Member
Roger F. Turner, Jr. Member
Jenn A. Karnakis Associate Member