WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2014/2015

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/410492

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Page 112 of 227

were so self-contained as to be almost separate towns, distinct geo- graphically and socially. If you lived in Wellesley Village (the Square), you rarely even passed through Lower Falls. If you lived in Lower Falls, you didn't associate with people from Wellesley Hills. And if you lived in Wellesley Hills, you saw no need to visit the other sections. How to unite into a single town, unified in its thrilling quest for a modern identity? George Eliot Richardson had an idea. A 37-year-old banker and son of liberal Cambridge, he had recently moved his family to Wellesley, blaming his hometown's "threat of the heavy electric cars [which were] making an ever noisier street … unsuitable for children." He was deeply invested in his new town, but troubled by the divisions, especially at Town Meeting where, he wrote, "decisions were reached more from sectional prejudices than from mature considerations." And so the newcomer Richardson approached experienced town leaders with what was at the time an extraordinary idea: the formation of a social club which would also serve as a forum for debates. It would be a place to enjoy "the broad and liberal spirit of Wellesley" and accomplish their urgent goals of bringing the best services to the new town; but, more importantly, the club would encourage respectful and courteous relations. That goal of civility, he felt, was essential as the base on which to build as the town grew. In response, a handful of the most influential men from the three sections met at the Woodlawn Avenue home of Joseph Fiske, the wily political veteran and Town Moderator who had led Wellesley's success- ful fight for separation. These five men decided that, yes, the town did need "collaboration, not individualism," and that a group called the Wellesley Club was a fine idea indeed. So they sent out invitations, and 40 men showed up on October 21, 1889 at the United States Hotel in Boston to discuss further the possibility of this unique club, whose purpose, Richardson told them, would be "to promote literary and social culture among the members, and especially to consider and dis- cuss questions relating to the welfare of the Town of Wellesley." 111 w i n t e r 2 0 1 4 / 2 0 1 5 | W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e

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