Howard Whitten, left, who is leading the effort to form Roxbury’s first historical society, speaks to residents Thursday at the Roxbury Town Office. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

ROXBURY — Seventeen people interested in the town’s history gathered Thursday to hear about plans to organize a historical society.

“You’ve all got something to offer,” Howard Whitten told those meeting at the Town Office. “It doesn’t take a lot of time. Anything you can do would be a big help.”

Residents shared stories about Roxbury and the need for historical artifacts to be archived and preserved, but no one committed to formally joining the small volunteer group led by Whitten. He is joined by Jean Shaw and Nancy Lovelace.

Whitten, who taught school for 30 years, acknowledged the effort will take time.

“It’s slow getting it going,” he said. “You’ve got to be patient. We created history today.”

“A common denominator is that everyone is afraid to give time,” he said. “But the more people you have, the less work, the less time an individual has to do. I’m thrilled that there are people interested in doing it, other than me.”


He stressed one of the first things to do is draft a set of bylaws. Other needs include one or more lockable cabinets to store material at the Town Office until there is a more suitable location.

He said he will set up a little office at his home to store items, as well, for the time being.

The initial name for the effort is Roxbury Community Heritage & Historical Society. However, many in attendance said the name should be shortened to the Roxbury Historical Society.

Whitten said organizers have visited the Bethel Historical Society, which has been supportive, including help with filing for nonprofit status and using its equipment to scan items into a computer.

The Rumford Falls Times weekly newspaper contributed black and white photographs, negatives and writings about Tent City at Roxbury Pond from 1947-49.

At the annual Town Meeting on March 19, voters approved $1,500 to support the startup costs of a society.


At that time, Whitten asked voters, “Did you know that Roxbury had a baseball team, with uniforms, at one time? Did you know that one of the most successful bear trappers lived in Roxbury? Did you know that downtown Roxbury got all excited when a farmer brought back something they’d never seen before? An orange. We’re going to lose all that stuff. We’re going to lose all that history.”

Whitten said those with historical items related to the town that are in their homes, old barns, etc., can contact him at [email protected]

“There’s scanners, cameras,” he said. “So if you have stuff like that, and you don’t want to part with it, loan it. Do we have a scanner, yet? No, but build it and it will come. If you have one around, we could use it,” he said.

The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. April 12 the Town Office.

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