About the Commission
The Winchester Historical Commission, established under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40 (section 8D), is composed of seven (7) members appointed by the Town Manager and approved by the Select Board for staggered 3-year terms each.
The mission of the commission is the preservation, protection, and development of our town’s historical or archeological assets, and the establishment of protective measures of these assets for future generations.
Minutes are available following approval.
View Most Recent Minutes
Winchester Code of By-Laws
- Preservation of Historically Significant Buildings Bylaw, Chapter 14 (PDF)
- Town Demolition and Renovation Information and Guidance (PDF)
- Demolition Review Process (flow chart)
Historical Surveys of Winchester
In 2016, with funding by the Town of Winchester and a matching grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Historical Commission hired a professional architectural historian to prepare a plan for a comprehensive survey of Winchester’s historic resources. Building on earlier efforts and incorporating new methods and approaches to the process, the resulting report was completed in 2017 and is available here as a downloadable PDF document. The plan organizes survey recommendations going forward focused on the town’s seven neighborhoods.
The following year, under another effort jointly funded by the Town and the MHC, the first phase was completed: a survey of the “Old West Side” (Winchester’s “Flats” neighborhood and adjacent areas). That is available here as well. In the ensuing years, the town received two more matching grants, enabling the completion of surveys of the North End and the Symmes Corner neighborhood. Both are available below as downloadable PDFs.
As part of the survey of the North End, architectural historian Claire W. Dempsey also wrote a preliminary essay on Winchester’s African American community, which was centered in the North End in the late 1800s and early 1900s. That downloadable document is also available below.
The Historical Commission will continue to pursue grants from the state to complete the historical surveys of the entire town. Future surveys will include the West Side, Winchester Highlands, Winchester Center and Myopia Hill.
- Winchester Survey Plan - 2017 (PDF)
- Old West Side Survey - 2018 (PDF)
- North End Survey - 2021 (PDF) This is a large file and may take some time to download
- Winchester's African American community - 2021 (PDF)
- History of Symmes Corner-2022 (PDF)
- Researching Properties in Winchester (PDF)
- Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS)
- A guide to using MACRIS (PDF)
- Video guide to using MACRIS
- The National Register of Historic Places: Effects and Benefits of Listing (PDF)
- What You Need to know about Listing on the National Register (PDF)