Our advocacy for the treasures that we have been passed down through history, are both rich and valued. There are very few communities that have been honored with the noblesse oblige of which Methuen was the recipient. We claim three millionaires as benefactors from the past! Of the three, my personal favorite, Edward F. Searles is clearly the most generous…and most probably the wealthiest.
The fact that he was a home-grown product of Methuen of humble origins, is amazing that he returned as a wealthy adult and shared his riches. I like to chuckle when I consider the apparent competition of Searles and his contemporary Tenney! It’s almost as though each harbored a little ‘castle envy’ in their day. But the fact remains that Searles out numbers Tenney in the ‘gifted buildings’ department when one observes the architectural inventory we display around the community!
The wisdom of our civic leaders to develop a commission to protect our historic buildings speaks to the breadth and depth of their value. The Historic District Commission monitors the General Laws Chapter 40 C, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to ensure the regulations are adhered to. The establishment of the Searles, Tenney, Nevins Historic District is therefore protected under those General Laws.
It’s important to understand that the regulations, laws and ordinances are established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and merely enforced by the Historic District Commission. Sometimes folks get confused and personalize the enforcement. That misconception will sometimes cause people to believe that the local commissioners of Methuen control the regulations, when in fact the General Laws are established by the Massachusetts District Commission as established for all communities in the Commonwealth.