The common good

Congratulations to the Lynnfield Historical Society for offering to put money where its mouth is and proposing to help pay for a new Lynnfield Common gazebo.

Commons are the focal point for New England communities dating back almost four centuries. They are a point of pride in communities stretching from Boston to northern Vermont and they are still actively used by people seeking recreation and a place to air grievances. The Historical Society with the support of the Board of Selectmen and town Historical Commission has proposed building a new gazebo near where Summer Street meets Common Street.

Outfitted with electricity and a public address system, the gazebo could underscore the Common’s historical value as a nice weather-gathering spot for town residents.

“I think this will be a great addition to the town,” said Selectman Richard Dalton in his typically succinct way.

History or human nature makes commons enduring places where people gather in cities such as Lynn and Boston and towns such as Lynnfield. Lynn, to its credit, is steadily revamping its big Common with pathways and other improvements building on the city Community Development department’s track record in restoring the Common bandstand.

The “small” Common section near City Hall has been restored and the larger end of the Common is under restoration. Like a powerful magnet sweeping up metal filings, the Common in warm weather and cold attracts people who enjoy sitting on its benches, playing ball on its open expanses, and passing the time with neighbors or watching children play.

The Common is a showcase for some of Lynn’s most beautiful architecture with big churches and the Lynn Armory lining the Common’s several-blocks-long length. Although Monument Avenue in Swampscott doesn’t carry the official Common designation, the long grassy length overlooking the ocean offers tributes to Swampscott veterans across the span of history. It is a source of pride for town residents and hallowed ground for families of people who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.

Lynnfield’s town historians understand the unifying force residing in the Common with its strong connection to town history and, by extension, the nation’s history. Commons have always been rallying points for innumerable causes and places to socialize. A price tag has yet to be placed on the gazebo, but its construction is a great way to pay tribute to the Common’s enduring value and its abiding importance for Lynnfield.

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