Ashford Historical Society celebrates 50th anniversary
By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Ashford - posted Fri., Feb. 11, 2011
Local historians – amateur and professional alike – recently enjoyed a luncheon at Knowlton Hall to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Ashford Historical Society and to celebrate its dedication to preserving buildings and artifacts in town.
State Sen. Tony Guglielmo presented a citation from the General Assembly that recognized the work done to preserve Ashford’s history.
During the Jan. 29 luncheon, guests were encouraged to view a display of artifacts from town, which included pictures and history of old homesteads, as well as a collection of letters from the Civil War written by town residents. Pictures of Ashford families and framed artifacts served to whet the appetites of people to delve further into town history.
If the historical society reaches its fundraising goal, the artifacts will be housed in a permanent location. “We are working on raising money to rehabilitate a little Cape known as the Tremko-Thomas Stebbin House, across from Knowlton Hall,” said Joan Bowley, president of the Ashford Historical Society. “If we can raise the funds, we will have a 20-year lease on the house. We hope to do this within five years. If we cannot, the agreement will become null and void unless we bring it before a town meeting for an extension.” If all goes well, the historical society will have a home on the second floor, and the public will be allowed to research and view displays on the lower level.
Gail Zaicek, vice president of the society, and Kay Warren, its secretary, served as co-chairs of the luncheon. Barbara Metsack, the town clerk and treasurer of the group, reflected on the reasons for its dramatic increase in influence. “We have this upsurge in membership. People in town are interested in the town’s history and want to participate,” she said.
“Our goal was to make the historical society very visible. The local population now knows that we exist,” Bowley added.
First Selectman Ralph Fletcher spoke about the connectedness between town history and state and national history, and commended the Ashford Historical Society for its ambitious work in preserving the past for the future.