History Corner: Where is it Wednesday?


This week’s Weston Historical Society “Where is it Wednesday” has no hint because if you do not know where it is, well, I surmise you have never been to Weston.

Enjoy! Answer tomorrow (Thursday)!


The answer to yesterday’s quiz: The Town Center, looking south from Church Street; showing the 1840 First Parish Church (left), a horse shed (center), and the rear of the 1847 Town Hall (right). Cuttings general store (not seen) would’ve been to the right of the town hall building. In the distance is the Cutting House, which was moved to 36 Church Street to accommodate the 1900 Library. Yesterday’s photo was taken prior to 1888.

The quiz was easy this week because, frankly, Weston’s Town Center is really pretty – especially now with the trees blooming and leafing out and the Town Green greening up – and it’s hard to imagine what it would look like today if the 1911 redesign of the town center wasn’t initiated.

In 1911, a Committee on Improvement of the Center of the Town of Weston was formed and it hired landscape architect Arthur Shurtleff (later Shurcliff) who worked with the Frederick Law Olmstead firm and was mentored by Charles Eliot for European design and planning. Reflecting the influence of Olmstead, Shurtleff’s plan preserved the natural contours of the land, created an open greensward surrounded by scattered groves of trees, and used native trees, shrubs and groundcovers to create a naturalistic environment. Plants included common barberry, dogwood, common hazelnut, witch hazel, viburnums, and woodbine. In Shurtleff’s address to residents: “In my opinion, the execution of this scheme would give Weston a Town Common of remarkable individuality and in many respects the finest open space of its kind in the Commonwealth.”

Weston gained regional and national recognition for its new town center. In the early 1920s, before and after photos of Weston’s center were featured in the USDA Farmers’ Bulletin in an article called “Re-Planning the Rural Village.” In 1929, Weston was awarded one of 100 Centennial Silver Medals minted by the Mass. Horticultural Society for “raising the standard in the design and planting of town commons. The common and the colonial town hall which overlooks it are considered models.”

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