The Significance of Local History

“Losing special places is like swallowing a bitter pill….[It] deepens your appreciation of the special places that remain and [helps you] learn how to protect them.”
Land Conservation & Historic Preservation | JM Goldson

Fewer and fewer townships can boast of a structure dating back to 1762, much less the abundance of rich history that Dartmouth proudly enjoys. Part of the charm of New England is the ability to trace our heritage back to those who were establishing homesteads and thriving communities hundreds of years ago, by analyzing structures that have survived the test of time.  With the information gleaned from DHPT’s work in Dartmouth, we can continue to preserve local history for future generations to study and appreciate.

The DHPT holds historic preservation restrictions on sites integral to the foundation and development of Dartmouth, including the Gulf Hill Dairy Farm and the Russell’s Mills Schoolhouse.  Presently, our most important project and the centerpiece of our organization is the continued restoration of the 1762 Elihu Akin House at 762 Dartmouth Street.

“I think the Akin House is important because it (represents) what little records we have for a house and a family from that era,” states Damon May, architect and a member of the Community Preservation Committee and the Dartmouth Historical Commission. (

During the summers of 2007, 2008, and 2009, Dr. Christina Hodge of Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Ethnology & Archaeology directed the archaeological fieldwork at the Akin House as part of a summer program with UMASS-Dartmouth students.  Dr. Hodge’s reports along with a collection of artifacts obtained at the Akin House are part of the special collections at the UMASS-Dartmouth campus. Her scholarly thesis below is inserted at the end of this post.

Archaeological findings at UMass library

To read more about the archaeological findings that currently reside at UMass Dartmouth, see the article on their archive page.

University Contact info:

Judy Farrar

Claire T. Carney Library

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

285 Old Westport Road

Dartmouth, MA 02747

Tel. 508-999-8686

Fax 508-999-8424

email [email protected]

Web site:


Prepared by Dr. Christina Hodge:

“This paper reflects on processes of memory- and history-making at the Elihu

Akin House, a historic site in a New England coastal village.”

To read more, see PDF below.


Download (PDF, 460KB)



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