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Hunter: Riding Around

06/15/10 5:55PM By Edith Hunter
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(HOST) Commentator Edith Hunter has seen a lot of history pass through her town. Today, she reflects on what's changed in Weathersfield. And what hasn't.

(HUNTER) I recently took a ride around Weathersfield, and, as I was doing so, I realized that, although I was looking at the Weathersfield of 2010, I was at the same time seeing the Weathersfield of an earlier day.  My head is so full of the Weathersfield history that I have been immersed in for the last 40 years that, although I was seeing structures built only recently, I was also seeing the structures or lack of structures at these same locations.

For this I have to thank Dr. Ernest Butterfield, who was born in Weathersfield and made the study of its history his life-long avocation.  He produced a book, The Early Inhabitants of Weathersfield, that sought to place on a map of Weathersfield the exact location of the homes of those early inhabitants, the district schools, the blacksmith shops, and the cemeteries.  That map is as real to me as the current town map.

As I drove into the "town farm or poor house district," I marveled at the size of one of the mansions that now grace that area.  Poor house, indeed!  The remains of the old Town Farm District School still stands forlornly in the woods.  The town farm at this location burned years ago, and the town farm was moved to another location a mile or so away before poor houses were done away with.

Further along, I came to the Pasture Road and recalled the early farmer who pastured his cows on that lovely hillside.  The road that divides the pasture is now lined with huge houses, many with large barns not for cows, but for horses or cars or trucks.

As I continued on down into a dark stretch of road, I reached an area in which I know there is hidden in the woods a small cellar hole that marks the home of one of our earliest inhabitants, a member of the Tolles family.  There once were numerous members of this family all around Weathersfield Center.  I wonder how much longer that cellar hole will escape the fate of other early locations.

I swung out onto the Center Road and did not need to imagine the old map of Weathersfield.  As I came up into the historic Center District, I saw the Memorial Grove, the lovely brick Meeting House, the Civil War Monument, and, across the street, the Reverend Dan Foster House.

Weathersfield Center is a tribute to those who had vision enough to see that it is protected as a Historic District.
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