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.

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Page 83 of 195

A mid-summer fire that destroyed the historic Fiske house at the cor- ner of Boston Post Road and Fiske Lane brought matters to a head. Town leaders finally took action. Organ factory owner Francis Henry Hastings purchased Weston's first fire truck, the horse-drawn Hook & Ladder #1, and donated it to the town. Hastings had a personal stake in fire protection: his 280-foot-long wood-frame factory building was located right next to the railroad tracks on Viles Street. Hastings arranged for the new truck to be kept in his shed on North Avenue. When the alarm rang, Thomas Coburn's heavy farm horses were located in the fields and set to work pulling the apparatus. In November 1890, 16 men from the north side were appointed as volunteer engineers. The following April 1891, the town voted to purchase a second hook and ladder truck for the town center. It was housed in the base- ment of the town hall, an 1847 building that once stood across from First Parish Church. Horses were kept at P.J. McAuliffe's livery stable on Church Street. 82 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 5 full-time police department, headquartered in the basement of the present town hall. In 1974, the department finally moved from its cramped quarters to a freestanding station on Boston Post Road, now in the process of being replaced by a new and larger facility. Today, in addi- tion to automobile accidents and crimes that would have been familiar to residents a century ago, the police department investigates cases of identity theft and internet fraud. In 1890, the same year that Lamson was complaining of "huddlism" in the town center, an arsonist was at work in the northwest. Thirteen fires were set between April and June, destroying fields and two barns. Ready, Willing, & Able left: P.J. McAuliffe, Weston's first police chief, drives friends to a birthday party at Mt. Wachusett in 1911 bottom: Men of Engine Company #1 with Weston's first fire apparatus c. 1895 B E T H F U R M A N B E T H F U R M A N

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