In 2032, just 11 years from now, Harvard will celebrate its 300th birthday. Town officials are just starting to plan an unforgettable series of events commemorating three centuries of town history. Even a casual reading of the historical record makes it clear that Harvard has had a recurring problem with catastrophic fires. The record shows that when they weren’t fighting over where things should be built, town residents were watching their homes, barns, churches, and inns burn down, one after another, most notably in the center of town.
So to celebrate this momentous anniversary, officials are working on an exciting plan to reenact the burning of several houses and the Unitarian Church, in a spectacular display of old-time firefighting ineptitude. As in the old days, homeowners and volunteer firefighters will battle the blazes with a bucket brigade and every wet blanket they can lay their hands on. Spectators will be able to view the action from the bottom of the Common, where the Lions Club will sell hot dogs (on very long sticks) to be roasted in the flames. And when the smoke finally clears, townspeople will gather for an old-time potluck supper on what’s left of the Common, and argue about how to rebuild and who’s going to pay for it.
Officials hope this will be a heartfelt remembrance of our forebears and the tribulations they endured to make modern-day Harvard possible.