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PRESS RELEASE- Downing Announces Mass Humanities Grant for Hawley Preservation Project: $10K to Protect Historic Town Common
April 09, 2009

Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) is pleased to announce that Mass Humanities approved a $10,000 grant to Sons and Daughters of Hawley for their Rediscovering Hawley’s Old Town Common project. 


“Hawley is a picturesque rural town that harkens back to simpler times,” said Downing.  “This grant will aid in the preservation of the community’s heritage and allow residents and visitors to enjoy the town common for generations to come.”


Grant funds will be used to create a historic site at the location of the old Town Common by adding paths and signage as well as stabilizing cellar holes and dug wells that surrounded Hawley’s old Meetinghouse. 


Project Director Raymond Gotta of the Sons and Daughters of Hawley Historical Society has driven this project since its inception in the Fall of 2007, “Many people don’t realize that back in the 1790s, Hawley was a hustling, bustling village.  I am glad Mass Humanities recognizes this project as significant to the heritage of the town.  This funding creates more energy around the project and spurs us on. We are excited.”


Gotta is one of four abutters to the project site.  The other three are the Nature Conservancy which preserves and protects the Hawley Bog; University of Massachusetts Foundation; and Five Colleges Incorporated which includes Amherst College, Smith College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and UMass Amherst.


The funds were part of Mass Humanities recent approval of $100,562 to be dispersed among nineteen Massachusetts grant recipients.  Funding for these grants is made possible in part by a partnership between Mass Humanities and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. 


Mass Humanities is a non-profit organization which supports creative, thoughtful projects that use history, literature, and other humanities disciplines to current to enhance civic life across the Commonwealth.  To learn more, please visit:




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