The Jaffrey Center VIS, organized in 1906, maintains at private expense Melville Academy, the Horsesheds behind the 1775 Meetinghouse and 16 acres of parks and commons open to the public in the Jaffrey Center National Historic District. It also organizes a Spring and Fall cleanup, a variety of community events and assists the Town in maintaining the Meetinghouse. It maintains a website, www.jcvis.org, and operates the Melville Academy Museum, which is open on summer weekends.
Conservation Easements The JCVIS in 2010 began holding conservation easements from land owners who wish to maintain the open space and historic character that is represented by the Jaffrey Center area. Members at the 2009 annual meeting voted unanimously to authorize the holding of conservation easements on properties that do not meet the easement guidelines of major conservation organizations.
Physical Location of Museum and other VIS property:
The Melville Academy Museum, built in 1833 and maintained by the Jaffrey Center Village Improvement Society since 1919, is on Thorndike Pond Road at the corner of Blackberry Lane. From Route 202 in Jaffrey, take Route 124 west just past The Monadnock Inn in Jaffrey Center and turn right on Thorndike Pond Road. Melville Academy is one block down on the left. The VIS also owns and maintains 16 acres of parks, open spaces, and wildlife habitats. Cutter Park is the village green on Route 124 between Thorndike Pond Road and Laban Ainsworth Way/Gilmore Pond Road. The Swale is the meadow behind the houses at the corner of Route 124 and Thorndike Pond Road.
Dates and Hours of Museum: Melville Academy Museum is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays during July and August from 2 to 4, and by special request (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no fees).
Collection or Exhibit Highlights: Melville Academy has an excellent collection of Hannah Davis Bandboxes, scrapbooks documenting VIS activities, 19th century kitchen and agricultural tools, samplers made by local residents in the early 19th century, the old mailboxes of the Jaffrey Center Post Office (which closed in 1991), and other artifacts relating to life in 19th century Jaffrey Center. The upstairs has been maintained as a schoolroom, with information on Melville Academy. The Academy opened its doors in 1833 and later served as a public school. The school was closed by the town in 1920.
Membership is open to all persons interested in preserving the natural beauty and historical character of Jaffrey Center. Annual dues are $10 per person. Larger tax-deductible contributions are welcome. Members live in Jaffrey, other New Hampshire towns, Massachusetts and in seven other states from Maine to North Carolina to Ohio.
Meetings: The 2011 annual meeting will be held at 4 pm Sunday July 24th at Melville Academy.
Articles sold by the VIS include the VIS history, “Marshal the Willing Forces,” ($10.00), an entertaining paperbound book by Robert B. Stephenson on the preservation of the area.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 722, Jaffrey, NH 03452.
Contact: Ken Campbell, email@example.com or 532-8686.