About the Historical Commission

Created in October 1972 by Amherst Town Meeting, the Historical Commission maintains an inventory of historic properties and sites in Amherst, available for review in the Planning Department office and at Special Collections at the Jones Library. The Commission develops nominations for the listing of historic districts and individual properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Commission undertakes a wide variety of historic preservation projects, including the restoration of Amherst’s historic public cemeteries, public buildings, and sites, working with other Town boards/committees and community historic preservation groups on such projects. The Historical Commission prepares and updates long-term plans for the preservation of Amherst’s critical historic, cultural, and archeological resources, working with other Town boards and committees to coordinate these efforts.

This includes planning for the use of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for historic preservation projects. Under Article 13 of the Amherst Zoning Bylaw (PDF), the Historical Commission reviews all demolition permit requests. It may choose to hold a public hearing to determine a building’s historical significance, and thereafter may choose to impose a 12 month delay on demolition to allow for exploration of alternatives. The Commission presents annual Preservation Awards of Merit to recognize and honor property owners who preserve/restore historic buildings, structures, sites or landscapes in Amherst.

The Historical Commission sponsors and publishes historical interpretive materials. On behalf of the Town, the Commission actively solicits gifts, contributions, and bequests of funding or interests in real property in the furtherance of historic preservation.