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October Cemetery Tour Draws 65

On Sunday, October 19, the Weston Historical Society and Golden Ball Tavern co-sponsored a cemetery tour attended by 65 people of all ages.

Cemetery Tour Crowd

After refreshments and tours of the Golden Ball, Pam Fox, president of the society, led the group to Farmers Burying Ground and Central Cemetery.

Pam explaining

She explained why gravestones in the earlier Farmers Burying Ground are oriented east-west...

East west grave markers

so that on the Judgment Day the dead would wake and sit up facing the rising sun.

Winged skull carving

She explained how carvings on the stones changed from winged skulls, popular in the early 18th century...

Cherub carving cherubs...

Urn and willow carving the classical urn and willow tree preferred by the end of the century.


Ready, Willing, and Able

Firemen portrait Police on parade

Weston Historical Society volunteers have worked hard to mount a new exhibit, "Ready, Willing, and Able: The History of the Weston Fire, Police, and DPW Departments" installed in the Weston Public Library gallery during the month of April 2015. This exhibit is supported in part by a grant from the Weston Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. A reception has been scheduled for Saturday afternoon, April 11, and a related lecture is planned for later that month. In addition, the Spring 2015 issue of The Weston Historical Society Bulletin is devoted to a history of these town services.

The society began last spring to contact the three departments. We discovered a rich trove of photographs, memorabilia, and objects such as leather fire buckets and fire hats from Engine Company #1, police badges, handcuffs, and "Wanted"posters, and a stock certificate from the privately owned Weston Water Company, founded in 1895.

One of the goals of this exhibit is to highlight the day-to-day services we often take for granted and the emergency services we hope to never need. A second goal is show the evolution of town services as an expected and necessary responsibility of local government.

In the early years of Weston’s history, there were no formal town departments devoted to keeping the peace, fighting fires, or maintaining roadways. The first volunteer fire company was started in 1890 after a rash of arson-related incidents. To keep the peace, citizens were appointed as constables or special police officers and paid for services rendered. Designated residents were paid to use their own horses and equipment to grade roads and "roll" the snow for sleighs. Homeowners dug their own wells or organized small private water companies. Not until the late 19th century, when Weston entered the "estate era," did services such as better roads and better fire protection come to be seen as necessary.

The Fire, Police, and DPW exhibition will be smaller than the society's tercentennial exhibition but will display the same high professional standards. The exhibition committee consists of the following volunteers: Pamela Fox, Tania Deary, Rebekah Gardiner, Mary Gregory, Mary Marder, and Robin Reisman.

The two photographs above are both from 1963: members of the Fire Department posing in dress uniform in front of the fire house; and members of the Police Department marching in Weston's 250th anniversary parade.

MCC logo

Weston Historical Society
Spring Programs

Ready, Willing, and Able:
A History of Weston Fire, Police, and DPW

An Weston Historical Society exhibit, April 3 to 29, 2015
Weston Public Library Gallery

Opening Reception
Saturday, April 11
1 - 3 pm
Weston Public Library
Refreshments. Open to all.

Spring Program
Thursday, April 16

Please join us for a slide presentation and discussion
with former and current members of
Weston's Fire, Police, and DPW departments

7:15 Refreshments 7:30 Program
WPL Community Room
Open to all

Click here for previous "WHAT'S NEW?" features.