JP Historical Society busy with upcoming events

As the winter weather continues to intensify, the Jamaica Plain Historical Society (JPHS) is preparing for some upcoming virtual events, as well as continuing its regular work as an all-volunteer organization. 

The Gazette spoke with the historical society’s president Gretchen Grozier to learn more about what the organization has been up to. 

On  Sunday, January 23, an event called “The Industrial History of Green Street” will be held via Zoom from 2-3:30pm. Michael Reiskind will give a talk about “the section of Green Street that lays between Amory and Washington Street with its wonderful examples of large brick buildings,” according to the event description on the JPHS website. Grozier said this event will provide “a little bit of hyperlocal history.” 

On Sunday, February 27 from 2-3:30pm, a talk about sculptor Evelyn Longman will be given by Dana Pilson, Curatorial Researcher at Chesterwood. According to the event description, “Evelyn was the only female student and assistant in the studio of Daniel Chester French. This talk will highlight the many intersections and cross-currents between their works, including the exquisite Slocum Memorial in Forest Hills Cemetery.” This talk will also be online, and the registration link is available on the JPHS website.

On Saturday, April 2, from 12-1:30pm,  there will be a Book Talk with author Wayne M. Miller, who penned Burn Boston Burn about 264 buildings that were intentionally set ablaze in the 1980s, according to the event description. For this event, there will be limited in-person seating as well as an option to participate via Zoom, but that is subject to change with the status of the pandemic. The event will take place in conjunction with the Connolly Branch of the Boston Public Library. 

Not yet listed on the JPHC website is an event tentatively scheduled for March 19 on “researching the history of your house,” Groizer said. “This is a topic that comes up a lot.” 

She said that while the JPHC does have an online guide on its website walking people through how to do this, she said that a workshop is being created in response to several inquiries from residents. 

The pandemic has shifted who can participate in a lot of JPHC’s events, as Grozier mentioned that many people who grew up in Jamaica Plain but have since moved elsewhere can still attend virtually. 

“We can record it, we can put it up on the website,” Grozier said, so more people can learn about different topics even if they weren’t able to originally attend. 

In mid-May, the JPHS is planning on starting up its regular annual walking tour season, Grozer said, and are also “constantly adding to the website” when people reach out with new photos or new information they’d like to share with others.

She said that the organization is also “sort of contingently working with the Roslindale Historical Society” on a blog focused on Mount Hope Cemetery. The blog will feature posts about things like famous people who are buried there, different monuments, and information about what it’s like to run a cemetery.

“That hopefully will be coming together,” she said.

Additionally, the JPHS has created a calendar for its members this year, and sold extras on the website. Grozier said that some residents expressed interest in having other merchandise—T-shirts, mugs, etc.— with photos on it similar to the ones used in the calendar.

This year is also the 35th anniversary of the founding of the JPHS, as well as the 25th anniversary of the website, and Grozier said they are still discussing how they will celebrate this milestone. It’s possible that a cake will be available at one of the walking tours, but nothing has been made official yet.  

In the meantime, Grozier asked that residents check out the JPHS website, which can be found at jphs.org, to find a “treasure trove of items,” including photos, articles, yearbooks, and maps, and said it’s the perfect activity for passing time during a cold winter day.

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