“History Under One Roof: The Evolution of the JST” Exhibit: An Owl Preview

On Tuesday, May 17, the Owl was pleased to be invited to a Preview Party for the opening of the Weston Historical Society’s “History Under One Roof: The Evolution of the Josiah Smith Tavern” at none other than the Josiah Smith Tavern, aka the JST or, for followers of the Wes-TEN, JosTice. Because of the possibility of CAKE, and also a chance to see once again the room that one day a loooonnnngggg time from now the WFTA will lease, the Owl made sure to show up as close to opening time as possible.

What a party it was–it was like a who’s who of Select Board members (two of three, only missing the edamame-eater), Historical Society board members and volunteers, historian Pam Fox herself, as well as a few people the Owl has talked with by electronic means but never met. Cool. A parliament of owls. Also, I never found the cake but those deviled eggs and chocolate chip cookies were pretty awesome. Onwards.

To sum it up is impossible. In four rooms, the Historical Society volunteers and exhibit curator Rebecca Migdal have created an overview (this is not the right word because it is very detailed) of the 265-year-long (and counting) history of the JST. From its earliest day as a tavern in 1757, built by Josiah Smith at age 34, to “nooning” or enjoying a nice respite from church (I swear the First Parish could double its attendance if it re-instituted noon-time “warm-ups” at the JST), and 81 years of serving travelers and community residents, to 102 years as a private residence for one Jones family member or another, to benevolent neglect for the past 72 years (seriously)… to now and a really long run-on sentence. Oh well, I’m going to let it stand as I’ve little time for editing. Did that math add up? Well, not really but close enough because math is such an inexact science.

The exhibit is going to take you some time. I got caught up with the timeline in the front hallway and then the Smiths and Pierces and the fact that Weston used to have many more taverns than I ever knew. Who says Weston is a boring town? Well, it didn’t used to be. Roll out the barrels, my friends. There used to be a tavern right across the street from the high school–that seems dangerous. Yes, it’s still there but a private residence. There were also two taverns right where the Owl lives (more or less) but alas…fire…wooden buildings…horse-drawn fire engines. Poof.

The Owl got called to pick up an Owlet just when she had started reading the display about the enslaved persons of Weston so I’ll need to return for that. I admit I got a bit addicted to walking in and out of a room where some hidden signal would trip the pianoforte or whatever it is to start playing the Marseillaise. No, not really on the music but I never did identify it. I also need to read through the Jones part of the history especially all this polishing of horses or carriages or something.

Bonus: for the crowd who keeps saying we are “Westonites” not “Westonians”, I show you this —

so take that. If the Historical Society says we’re Westonians, we’re Westonians. Write your senator; I don’t care. Also, who names their child “Increase?” There are so many jokes to be made and so little time.

You will find you are going to need at least an hour to check out everything. And that’s not including running upstairs to pilfer snacks in the Rose Ballroom or sneak a look at the WFTA room (second floor, northwest corner). Here’s the bad news: I understand that the exhibit will be open only this one day, May 21, 2022 before closing down for the summer due to the construction “punch list” not being done and no certificate of occupancy and other stuff that makes me unhappy. Have you seen an unhappy Owl? Have a talon.

So get yourself to the JST for this amazing exhibit at Celebrate Weston on May 21, 2022. Congratulations to all involved–it is truly spectacular!

WFTA Room…ready … or not…

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