As the chairman of our local Building Committee I am conducting a review of each of our existing buildings to develop a long-term plan for maintenance. The General Court of the Province of Massachusetts began to issue grants awarding property in what is now Royalston to various individuals. In many cases those awarded the land never even visited their property but sold it to others. People came to this area a few at a time with only six families here by 1762. I state all of this to point out that the earliest days were somewhat less than organized or documented. This makes it hard to determine an exact history for many old buildings.
One building, a building used to store a hearse between funerals, is located a matter of yards from the Millers Rivers. Therefore, it is unlikely to have survived both the flood of 1936 and/or the hurricane of 1937. But does "it is unlikely" make this a historical fact. In reviewing numerous photographs as well as home movies of the area I do not see the building but the destruction is so massive in both cases I'm not even sure what I'm looking at. But does my inability to find pictures of the building make it a historical fact it was destroyed.
The current building is stick built but uses truly dimension lumber that was ripped by a coarse-toothed circular saw. To me it would appear this lumber would have been milled from the numerous downed trees by a saw mill that would have been assembled fairly close to the current building. This makes a great story but my belief that this is what happened cannot be considered historical fact. Several other buildings have similar stories they are telling me.
My concern is that as I document these investigations which are done purely as a tool to develop a long-term maintenance plan, I have no way of knowing where these reports may end up nor can I even imagine how they will be considered 100 years from now.
At what point can we decide part of the history of a structure based on inspections of the existing building? How can we write a document that will become part of the official town records but highlight the lack of vetted research that went into parts of the report that were not central to its purpose?