Open Space for Community Engagement
Hardscape & Landscape
Overview & Project Goals: The Peter H. Peirce Homestead, located at 132 North Main Street has been gifted to the Friends of the Middleborough Public Library (501 c3), by the late Attorney William Decas. The Board of the Friend has drafted a plan which will position the Homestead to further enhance the Friends’ mission to support programs and events offered to the local community by the library staff. Included in the plan is a commitment to preserve the historic features of the property. This project addresses the assessment of the property’s hardscape; development and implementation of a plan for existing hardscape and landscape to preserve historic structures and features, increasing accessibility by addressing safety concerns; and incorporating horticultural features. With the assistance of local historian, Michael J. Maddigan, the grounds have been assessed and details relating to the historic features that either need to be restored and/or protected from further deterioration have been identified. The hardscape includes the quarried granite wall in the front of the property which was installed in 1896 when North Main Street was widened and numerous stacked stone and granite slab retaining walls along the perimeter of the property. These walls separated the homestead from the surrounding fields including the squash patch where the Middleborough Public Library was built in 1903 and Elijah Tucker’s orchard which was located at the rear of the Peirce property. Currently, the front wall has issues with lichen and has also shifted resulting in misaligned capstones. The stacked retaining walls are compromised by the overgrowth of trees, other vegetation, and fallen debris that exists along the border of the property. These issues need to be addressed and the border of the property cleaned to limit further erosion of the retaining walls. With a desire to make the property accessible for programs conducted by library staff, there is a need to secure the inner perimeter of the back lot as there are areas where the drop to adjacent property is between 6 to 8 feet and presents a safety hazard for childrean. The inner area of the back yard needs to be graded to ensure a level surface and a lawn established. Additionally, a strategy needs to be implemented to address potential mobility constraints for people accessing the area. Lastly, period appropriate plantings are planned.
Benefit to the Community: Currently, the Town does not allocate funds to the Library for the numerous events and programs offered by staff. Instead, they are dependent on funds provided from outside sources. The Friends of the Middleborough Public Library is a non-profit membership organization devoted to supporting the library and is the primary source of funding. In the past year, the Friends provided over $22,000 to the staff. These funds were not only used for Library specific events but were also used to support collaborative activities with the Council on Aging and Veteran Service departments neither of whom receive Town funds for their programs and events. When the late Attorney William Decas approached the Friends regarding bequeathing the Peter H. Peirce Homestead to our non-profit, he indicated that he felt that his donation would allow our group to assist with positioning the Library to a new level, thereby increasing its ability to promote literacy and education, support community engagement, and advance the preservation of the Town’s history. Attorney Decas felt that through efforts of the Friends of the Middleborough Public Library, the legacy of the Peirce Family would continue to impact the quality of life for residents of Middleborough and surrounding communities.
Grounds, Historic Features:
Gardens and Landscaping at the Peter H. Peirce Homestead:
Flowers Appropriate for the Period of 1826-1850