WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/635829

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Page 189 of 211

"the resort is the plum place to stay" excursions W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 6 188 costumes who told us about early printing techniques, herbal medi- cines, home cooking, and home d├ęcor. We were charmed by the Empire State Carousel, a folk art treasure created over two decades by more than 1,000 volunteer carvers, painters, woodworkers, and quilters. And we encountered something bizarre. The Cardiff Giant was one of the great hoaxes in US history. In 1869, the figure, purported to be a ten-foot tall petrified man, was uncovered by well diggers at a nearby farm. It's hard to imagine people being so gullible when you see the stone figure. But they were. The Cardiff Giant became a travel- ing road show, attracting huge crowds who paid 50 cents for a peek. P.T. Barnum even had a copy made, a fake of the fake, for his circus. But here's the "original," enshrined at an affiliate of the New York Historical Association, sibling of the art museum. Much of the history of the area focused on one family. The afore- mentioned Stephen Carlton Clark was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a founder of the Museum of Modern Art, and heir to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune. His grandfather was Edward Cabot Clark, an attorney and Isaac Singer's entrepreneurial busi- ness partner. The Clarks were New Yorkers who spent summers in Cooperstown where they planted roots, except for Stephen's estranged brother, Robert Sterling Clark, who founded the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. In 1909, Stephen and his brother, Edward, built the palatial Otesaga hotel so their city friends would have a place to stay. Five generations later, the Clarks' impact is inescapable, from scholarships for local graduates to more than 100 huge hanging baskets of flowers on Main Street in summer. But the greatest gift was made in 1939. The Cooperstown region was the hops growing capital of the United States until that business was wiped out by prohibition. Then came the Great Depression. Stephen Carlton Clark decided the best way to boost business at his hotel and strengthen the town's economic base was to attract tourists with a museum, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, devoted to baseball. As a marketing ploy, he

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