Why 01254.org?

Welcome to 01254.org. These pages are meant to become a valuable resource for present-day commissioners and everyone in our community who would like to discover more about the history of conservation in Richmond, Massachusetts.  And about important emerging stories.

Why 01254.org? For myself, it began when I discovered a small discrepancy between the number of current ConCom members — seven — and the limit of five maximum members in Richmond’s most recent official bylaws. Which was correct? Five? Seven? No one I asked could remember when the change had occurred. The answer was out of anyone’s living memory! Nor could anyone answer my simple question: What year did the ConCom start?

I jumped into the detective work, digging into the annual town reports and was suddenly caught, captivated by the arc and drama of the conservation story in my small town during the past six decades.  It’s a compelling tale of the competing forces of development and conservation struggling to shape two very different versions of what our town would be.  And it’s basically a love story — a story of the preservation of peaceful, lovely brooks, glens, marshes, and rolling, pastoral landscapes.  It’s also a story of service. The unsung tale of tens of thousands of hours of dedicated volunteerism by ordinary (and extraordinary) citizens — serving on the ConCom, the Richmond Land Trust, the Historical Commission, the Selectboard, the Planning Board, the Richmond Pond Association — a story of the work and struggles that have preserved Richmond’s current natural beauty. It’s a story of fights that were won, and fights that were lost. I hope you’ll keep tuning in here as I strive to tell those stories.

As we approach the 60th anniversary of Richmond’s Conservation Commission, and over 30 years of RLT, I am overtaken with the need to feel the history as much as to read it in prose.  I enjoy the sensation of gingerly paging through a fragile old document — reading ideas that are as crisp and relevant today as then… engendering in me a strong sense of connection to those kindred, conservation-minded spirits.  I hope that some of that feeling will translate through the collection I intend to place here electronically. And unfortunately, at sixty-years distance, all but one person who was involved with the ConCom near its beginning has passed away. Hence, time is very much ‘of the essence’.

So that’s why I’m in the middle of bringing photos, recordings and artifacts to light, to life — hoping to reanimate the actions as they occurred — to safekeep the memories of the ConCom’s struggles — to recognize and honor so many generous gifts of time, talent and treasure. 

In the near future, there will be many resources added to 01254.org that aren’t available online elsewhere, or are difficult to find. My goal for 01254.org is for it to provide easy access to a rich collection of source documents, maps, newspaper clippings, photographs and other files. I’m getting tons of support from everyone — thank you! For anyone who wants to be involved, please get in touch. If you have an old photo or document that is relevant, please get in touch. harleywolff@01254.org

And for the curious, the Richmond Conservation Commission was created by a unanimous vote of the Annual Town Meeting on February, 17th, 1964 — the day after a huge storm dumped 14+ inches of snow on the Berkshires.  And the expansion to seven commissioners? It was voted for at a meeting of the Selectmen in 1970.

So, please pardon the growing pains and know that I will be adding new wonders almost every day.

I hope that you will please check in here frequently!


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