Committee, Society, Commission: What's the Difference?
Weston Historical Committee
(1932 - 1968)
The Weston Historical Committee was established by a vote of Town Meeting in 1931.
The Bicentennial of George Washington's birth was just one year away. Statewide plans called for
the dedication of the Massachusetts section of the George Washington Memorial Highway,
which passed through Weston on Boston Post Road. The three-person committee arranged for festivities
under the Burgoyne Elm in 1932 and noted in the Town Report that “The Historical Committee will be glad
to take charge of any articles or papers of historic interest that may be sent to them,
and are hoping eventually to have a permanent place for exhibiting such things.”
By 1937, the Fiske Law Office had become the committee's headquarters, serving as a place to keep and exhibit a small but growing collection. In 1953 the Weston Historical Committee moved to the Josiah Smith Tavern, then known as the Jones House, which had been willed to the Society for Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA, now Historic New England) by the Jones sisters and subsequently leased to the town. The Weston Historical Committee represented the town's historical interests until 1968.
Weston Historical Society
The Weston Historical Society was incorporated as a private, non-profit organization in December 1963, at the end of Weston's 250th year. The three members of the existing Weston Historical Committee served on the larger board of the Weston Historical Society. In 1966 the society petitioned the Board of Selectmen for care and informal custody of the Fiske Law Office, which was restored by volunteers. In 1990, the Town resumed responsibility for the law office. All remaining historical materials were moved to the Josiah Smith Tavern. From the 1960s to the present, the collections of both the Historical Committee and Historical Society continued to be housed at the Josiah Smith Tavern. In 1983, ownership of the tavern was transferred to the Town, with preservation restrictions.
Weston Historical Commission
In 1968 the town voted to form the
Weston Historical Commission to replace the Weston Historical Committee and serve as the town's
official body for administration of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
The Special Town Meeting vote of 1968 included a provision to “transfer to the custody of the historical commission . . .
all property of the Town now in the custody of the historical committee.”
From its inception, the commission focused on preserving the town's historic buildings rather than collecting and managing historical materials. The commission administers the town's Demolition Delay by-law and historic marker program.