The Pepperell Historical Commission and the Covered Bridge Committee are planning to erect an 18th century-style sign adjacent to Main Street and the Nashua River Rail Trail, pending approval from the state Department of Recreation and Conservation,
"It would be just between the road and the rail trail pavement," said Diane Cronin, chairwoman of the Historical Commission. "It would have a Colonial mid-1700s type design."
The sign has already been endorsed by the Board of Selectmen, said Cronin; she expects to hear back from the DCR within the next two weeks.
"The historic look has to be approved by the state to see if they feel it's a good fit for the area," she said.
But she's hopeful that this won't be a problem, since the double-sided sign would not only be promoting the historic covered bridge but would also be commemorating two historical Pepperell residents: Prudence Wright, who captured a British spy during the Revolutionary War, and Col. William Prescott, the commander of American forces in the redoubt at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
"A lot of people don't know that Col. Prescott lived in Pepperell," said Cronin. "We think that this is really a key asset of the town to share and to promote."
According to Cronin, in Massachusetts, it is often said that Prescott can be attributed for coining one of the famous historical quotes: "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes."
"It was important for them to conserve ammunition
However, it is argued, especially in Connecticut, that Israel Putnam first spoke the words. That is why the sign will read that Prescott was "believed to have said" the phrase, in order to maintain historical accuracy.
"While we believe it, there's an element of doubt, and we respect that," said Cronin.