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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

...to cherubs...

Urn and willow carving

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

WHAT'S NEW

Ready, Willing, and Able

Firemen portrait Police on parade

Weston Historical Society volunteers are hard at work on a new exhibit, "Ready, Willing, and Able: The History of the Weston Fire, Police, and DPW Departments" to be installed in the Weston Public Library gallery during the month of April 2015. 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 will be devoted to a history of these town services.

The society began last spring to contact the three departments. We have 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.

A Weston Timeline

For the 2013 Tercentennial, the Weston Historical Commission has published A Weston Timeline by Pamela W. Fox, a 46-page color illustrated booklet produced in cooperation with the Weston Historical Society.

To order a copy at a cost of $12 plus $5 shipping and handling, click on Order Form, A Weston Timeline.

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