Celebrate Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend with the Wellesley Trails Committee on Saturday, May 21, 9am – 10am, by taking a picturesque walk through rolling meadows to the top of Maugus Hill, one of the highest points in Wellesley. Explore the conservation land purchased by the town for Wellesley’s 1981 Centennial Celebration, view the Great Blue Hills in Canton, and take our trail through MassBay Community College open space. Meet at Centennial Reservation parking lot off of Oakland St. Entrance to the parking lot is on the right, 0.5 miles south from Rt. 9. Dogs on leash or under voice command are welcome.
The Wellesley Historical Society honored the Hunnewell family at its Spring Gala on Friday night at Wellesley Country Club and more than 20 members of that clan took in the festivities. A display on hand treated guests to historical facts about the Hunnewells, including their signature topiary garden on Lake Waban, as well as a fun panoramic photo of dozens of Hunnewells dressed in white for their annual summer baseball game.
The gala is a big fundraiser for the Society, and among the items fetching big bucks was a signed Rob Gronkowski jersey, which went for $1,300. Importantly, the Society raised enough pledges that night to earn it $20K in Community Preservation funds (via a matching program) to enable the archiving of the Society’s family collections.
If you’ve ever wondered where the elms are at Elm Bank Reservation, Wellesley High School’s venerable school newspaper, The Bradford, tells all in an excellent story about the popular walking, soccer, and gorgeous gardens spot located on the Wellesley/Natick line.
The piece covers Elm Bank’s long history in Wellesley, its partnership with Mass Hort, and what’s up with that beautiful but derelict mansion on the property. Reporter and Editor-in-Chief Olivia Geiger, Class of 2017, goes deep into the history, noting that in the 1700s, the property was home to English settlers and Native Americans who shared the land, with English-style wood-frame houses in close proximity to wigwams.
From Kathleen Fahey, Curator, Wellesley Historical Society
Spring brings the annual collaboration of the Wellesley Historical Society with the Wellesley Hills Garden Club as the WHGC selects a series of items from the Society’s collection to inspire floral arrangements. This year, the WHGC was inspired by the colorful and detailed watercolors of tropical fish by Wellesley’s own Sherman Denton (1856-1937). Six groups presented their elegant floral interpretations alongside Denton’s watercolors at their annual meeting on May 10th at the Wellesley Country Club. I was on hand to speak to the WHGC about the history of these turn of the twentieth-century watercolors. The Wellesley Hills Garden Club also gave a nod to Denton by creating delightful aquatic centerpieces for each table, complete with a colorful beta fish!
Wellesley High School’s Evolutions program last week unveiled an art project it has worked on this year to recognize WHS alumni and staff who served in the military (see our earlier story on the project). Students identified hundreds of names to include on the memorial. The project, which was showcased outside the school, will reside inside the building on a permanent basis.
Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the greatest TV show of all time, Batman starring Adam West, the annual Wheels of Wellesley event on May 21 will feature the Batmobile and Bat Girl Cycle, and perhaps a special appearance by Cat Woman. The free event takes place at Wellesley Community Center (219 Washington St.) and is part of Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend of activities.
Wheels of Wellesley features dozens of antique and exotic vehicles, as well as a karate obstacle course and pinewood derby car track for kids, musical entertainment, a magic show and food/drinks.
The action starts at 10am, with music cranking up at 11am and magic indoors at 1pm. The free event ends at 2pm.
Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend schedule has been posted, and the schedule is jam-packed with fun that includes the Annual Veterans’ Parade on Sunday, May 22 at 1pm (Gordon Martin will serve as Grand Marshal in appreciation of his 37 years of service to the Town of Wellesley, most recently as the Superintendent of the Recycling and Disposal facility) and will be capped off on Sunday night with what’s being billed as the biggest fireworks display ever. Make some time to attend as many of the activities as you can.
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The Wellesley Department of Veterans’ Services is looking for volunteers to assist in placing U.S. flags on veterans’ graves at Woodlawn Cemetery on Monday, May 9t, starting at 3:30pm, weather permitting. (The rain date is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11 starting at 3:30pm.) If you are interested in helping or if you have any questions, please call the Wellesley Veterans’ Office at 781-489-7509.
Meet Herlda Senhouse. At 105 years of age, she is Wellesley’s oldest resident, and earlier this week she had possession of The Boston Cane to prove it.
On August 2, 1909, Mr. Edwin A. Grozier, Publisher of the Boston Post, a newspaper, forwarded to the Board of Selectmen in 700 towns (no cities included) in New England a gold-headed ebony cane with the request that it be presented with the compliments of the Boston Post to the oldest male citizen of the town, to be used by him as long as he lives (or moves from the town), and at his death handed down to the next oldest citizen of the town. The cane would belong to the town and not the man who received it.
The canes were all made by J.F. Fradley and Co., a New York manufacturer, from ebony shipped in seven-foot lengths from the Congo in Africa. They were cut to cane lengths, seasoned for six months, turned on lathes to the right thickness, coated and polished. They had a 14-carat gold head two inches long, decorated by hand, and a ferruled tip. The head was engraved with the inscription, — Presented by the Boston Post to the oldest citizen of (name of town) — “To Be Transmitted”. The Board of Selectmen were to be the trustees of the cane and keep it always in the the hands of the oldest citizen. Apparently no Connecticut or Vermont towns were included (at one point it was thought that two towns in Vermont had canes, but this turned out to be a bit of a myth).
In 1924, Mr. Grozier died, and the Boston Post was taken over by his son, Richard, who failed to continue his father’s success and eventually died in a mental hospital. At one time the Boston Post was considered the nation’s leading standard-sized newspaper in circulation. Competition from other newspapers, radio and television contributed to the Post’s decline, and it went out of business in 1957.
The custom of the Boston Post Cane took hold in those towns lucky enough to have canes. As years went by some of the canes were lost, stolen, taken out of town and not returned to the Selectmen or destroyed by accident.
In 1930, after considerable controversy, eligibility for the cane was opened to women as well.
Mrs. Senhouse, who has called Wellesley home for 37 years and is a resident of Glen Grove, where the ceremony took place, was allowed to hold onto Wellesley’s Boston Cane for a minute or two before white-gloved Wellesley Historical Society representatives, familiar with tales of less-careful towns losing track of their cane, spirited it away for safekeeping. The 31st Wellesley recipient of the cane was instead gifted with a pin to commemorate the event, and was showered with roses, the camera clicks of the papparazi, and the attention of 30 well-wishers. Looking fabulous in a Persian blue pantsuit, pearls, freshly coiffed hair, and lipstick brightening up her features, there she sat in a wing-backed chair, receiving her admirers.
She cited wars and the current political climate as two of the most amazing things she’s lived through. “This is the most stupid campaign I’ve seen in my life,” she said. Her tips for living a long and healthy life: “Don’t get stressed out, and if you can’t fix it, forget it.”
The Woburn High School graduate and her late husband, William, never had children of their own during their 62-year marriage, however Mrs. Senhouse worked as a nanny, raising six children for three families during her career. Her spiritual life is taken care of by her church home at Myrtle Baptist Church in West Newton, and she takes care of her daily needs of this earth at Glen Grove.
“Herlda, I hope you life to be 120,” declared a well-wisher to unanimous agreement.
Hear, hear. The Boston Cane is historical, and well-crafted, and important and all, but the fewer times it changes hands, the better everyone likes it.
Wellesley High School Evolutions program students on May 11 will honor WHS alumni and staff military veterans with an unveiling and dedication of a commemorative art project.
The event, which is open to veterans and the general public, will take place at 6pm in the courtyard behind the cafeteria, and those planning to attend are encouraged to RSVP here. After the dedication, the project will be brought inside and ideally reside in a location where it might encourage quiet reflection.
Fifteen students will work on the physical project over two to three weeks, though they’ve put in lots of work already identifying over 600 names by cross-referencing lists of residents who served in the U.S. Armed Forces by using information from the Wellesley Historical Society’s collection of old WHS yearbooks. Because there are so many names, they won’t be individually recognized on the project, but names will be recorded in an online database that the public will be able to add names to on their own.
Identifying the veterans “has been an incredibly time-consuming task,” and students say that has contributed to the project feeling so meaningful, according to Emily Shapero, a WHS history teaching who is working with the students on the project (and kindly shared the accompanying photos with us). “There is definitely an emotional connection when they see the yearbook photos of the graduates who went on to serve,” she says.
Inspiration for the project came from students taking part in an interdisciplinary unit on “War and Hope,” and visiting monuments throughout greater Boston. Students visited Armenian Heritage Park, the Crispus Attucks Memorial, the Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial, the Irish Famine Memorial and the Holocaust Memorial, among others.
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