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My home town is called...

Posted by Rona Fischman  November 12, 2008 03:17 PM

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My question today is about home-town identity. I would like to hear from some of the small-town readers, those who went to regional schools, those who went to small local schools. How does home-town identity shape you?

In tough times, should towns that have been sharing facilities merge? Is it worth the change in identity to streamline the services paid for by municipal tax? Wenham and Hamilton are discussing just that. They already share a library and a regional high school, so why not get married? Two can live as cheaply as one, my grandmother used to say.

Hamilton-Wenham is not the only regional high school in Massachusetts. There’s Acton-Boxborough, Algonquin, Bridgewater-Raynham, Concord-Carlisle, Dover-Sherborn, Groton-Dunstable, Lincoln-Sudbury, Manchester-Essex, Masconomet, Pentucket, Sheperd Hill, Tahanto, and Whitman-Hanson. My brother lives in Willimantic Connecticut, which is part of Windham – sort of.

Now that the election is over and reduced local revenue is starting to hit home-town, does the Wenham-Hamilton (or is it Hamilton-Wenham?) talks foreshadow the end of the New England small town? Is this a bad thing? Could it happen in your home-town?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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4 comments so far...
  1. Don't forget Silver Lake Regional, Halifax, Kingston, and Plympton Ma. Pembroke was also a part of the district untill a couple of years ago.

    Posted by Christine November 12, 08 05:30 PM
  1. You're also forgetting Oakmont (Ashburnham-Westminster) and North Middlesex (Townsend-Ashby-Pepperell).

    I grew up in small Central Mass. town full of French-Canadians.

    Posted by Liz November 12, 08 08:37 PM
  1. I chose to live in a small town, because its easier to run and oversee the budget. I grew up in a city ([omitted] CT), and it was terribly corrupt. 200k/year fireman, overpaid road construction, corrupt low-income housing authority, etc etc. And big city political machines. Just plain awful. Small town == less corruption. big city == big corruption. Ever see a town of 1000 people that was riddled with corruption? If there is extra overhead with some construction equiptment or schools in a small town, I dont care and I'll pay the taxes, as I want absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with a big city ever again.

    Posted by Middle November 13, 08 07:28 AM
  1. In my experience, small towns were more corrupt than cities. Everyone knew everyone else from elementary school, and if you weren't born there you had no chance to get involved in anything. Parts in school plays went to kids whose parents were on the school board. If a coach cut any police officer's kid from a team, they could expect no help from law enforcement. Contracts went to the town manager's or selectmen's relatives, friends, high-school classmates, or people who went to the same church.

    A few years ago, the Globe did a story about electrical inspectors who refused to approve work that wasn't done by them or their relatives. They were all in small towns.

    Posted by Liz November 13, 08 12:26 PM
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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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