Costellos honored for contributions to community | News

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AMESBURY — Longtime local residents Nicholas J. and Cynthia Costello are receiving a Mass History Alliance Star Award for their contributions to the research and interpretation of their community’s history.

“Thank you for your work for Massachusetts public and local history,” said alliance Vice President Eric Peterson. “As you know, the field would not exist without volunteers and people who do work over and above the call of duty. Your contributions to the history of your town and the commonwealth are important.”

Nicholas J. Costello served as a selectman, state representative, state senator and Amesbury’s first mayor. He has been a pioneer of open space acquisition, affordable housing and economic development efforts, according to the alliance.

As a state representative in 1978, he filed the original legislation for the purchase of the Moseley Estate now known as the 400-acre Maudslay State Park. His vision was of a passive recreation site combined with a cultural component open and accessible to the public, the alliance said in a release.

In 1992, along with the late Edward Molin and Jim Gaines, he founded Maudslay Arts Center, a popular cultural and entertainment destination. As president and vice president of the center, the Costellos have personally welcomed tens of thousands of patrons.

Cynthia Costello, a self-proclaimed “John Greenleaf Whittier enthusiast,” has been active in the Whittier Home Association for many years and served as the organization’s president.

The Whittier Home is a nationally known historic house museum that educates people about the life, legacy and literary works of John Greenleaf Whittier. The museum honors Whittier’s commitment to ending slavery, practicing his Quaker faith, and providing a courageous example of moral leadership for his community and the nation.

The Costellos are excellent examples of residents who have made outstanding, long-term contributions to history in Massachusetts, the alliance said.

“The former Baystate Historical League’s Local History Hero Award was resurrected by the Massachusetts History Alliance in 2021 as the MHA Star Awards,” the alliance said. “With this award, we honor members of the history field who have demonstrated long-term commitment, outstanding work with concrete results, exemplary innovation, local leadership for change, or contributions to equity and justice.

“MHA Star Awards are granted to Massachusetts people who have made outstanding contributions to the research and interpretation of the history of their communities, the organization said. “We call them our local history heroes.”

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