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: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/107826

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Page 69 of 203

1890 The Weston fire department was established in the early 1890s 141. Hook & Hastings Company's largest organ, made before moving to Weston, had 6,237 pipes, a national record. Pipes could be as short as one inch or as long as 32 feet and were made of metal or wood. 142. When one of the great organs was completed, it was set up in the "erecting room" and employees and neighbors would enjoy an evening of music. 143. Francis Henry Hastings built Hastings Hall on Viles Street across from the organ factory. Many clubs met there, including one devoted to studying Shakepeare's plays. 144. The 1890s to 1930s was the peak of the estate era in Weston. Estate owners had a major impact on town government, schools, and private beautification efforts. 145. Francis Blake was the first estate owner to be elected selectman, in 1890. He advocated spending for improvements while keeping taxes down to attract the wealthy. 146. The Blake estate, "Keewaydin," included a multi-purpose outbuilding called The Cottage, with a bowling alley, theater, machine shop, and photography darkroom. 147. Weston centralized its schools in 1893. Four of six district schools closed that year. 148. In 1894, Carolyn "Carrie" Burrage became the first female elected to town office, as a member of the Weston School Committee. Women could run for only two elective offices: school committee and overseer of the poor. Burrage served from 1894 to 1931, including 30 years as Chair. 149. The change to centralized schools meant that the town had to pay to transport students in horse-drawn barges, or, in winter, "pungs." Weston's We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 3 transportation costs were among the highest in the state. 150. A string of arson fires convinced the town to establish a fire department in the early 1890s. The first fire apparatus was kept in a private shed and pulled by farm horses that were usually in the fields when the alarm whistle blew. Be sure to look for the second 150 pieces of Weston trivia in the summer 2013 issue of WellesleyWeston Magazine. 68

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