Archive for the ‘Around town’ Category

A Year’s Worth of Memories

How would you like to be reminded of your Chester days at least once a month for a year! The Chester Historical Society has published it’s annual calendar. The cover photo offers a view of Maple Street from the 1940’s:

2018 calendar

By the way, this photo has generated a lot of discussion on the Chester Foundation Facebook stage–since Smithie’s Watch/Clock Shop (first building on right) was often used by railroad men to keep timepiece’s accurate, they are interested in knowing more about the shop, building, etc.

Additional historical information and photos include Classic Pizza, Miss Van Wert’s 1947 second grade class, saunas, Chester General Store (A & L Market) which is currently for sale.

The calendar can be purchased for $15 at the Chester Village Market and Chester Electric Light Office or by contacting a Historical Society Member (Fay Piergiovanni, Judy Olson, and others) if you’re in the area.  Those wishing to purchase by mail, please add $2 for postage and send a check for $17 to the Chester Historical Society, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA 01011.



Win This Quilt!

September 4, 2017 Leave a comment

UPDATE (October 2, 2017) — Just received word the quilt was won by John Baldasaro of Chester! Congratulations, John! Stay warm with it!

The Chester Historical Society has a quilt made and donated by Kathy Blanchard, CHS graduate, Class of 1967 to be raffled on September 30, 2017, to support its fund-raising effort to preserve the Methodist Church, the Historical Society Museum’s new location.  We are holding an Open House on that same date from 1:00 – 4:00  and raffle tickets are $10 each.  Quilt size is 68″ x 76″… and you can order raffle tickets by sending a check!

For raffle tickets contact:

  • Annette LaMountain   413-354-6514
    PO Box 260–Chester, MA 01011
  • Judy Olson   413-247-9262
    46 W Pantry Road–Hatfield MA 01088

Around Chester, 2017

June 28, 2017 2 comments

A few photos for those who haven’t been to town for a while. I started in Pine Hill Cemetery… Later while taking photos downtown, I instinctively smiled and waved at folks driving by. Most gave me a blank stare. It finally occurred to me that I now know a lot of people in the cemetery but very few living in town! Time waits for no one… (I didn’t have a lot of time so these are just a few of the familiar haunts.)

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Chester then…

October 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Experimenting with embedding Facebook posts… thought folks would enjoy this photo:

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Ribbit! Ribbit! – an 85 year old frog in Chester

Thanks to the CIA (Chester Inquiry Assistance) Subcommittee a mystery reported in an old news article on the 2015 Chester Historical Society Calendar has been solved! The mystery has a long history and recently surfaced when the calendar included a photo of a rock on the Old Huntington Road painted to resemble a frog. The article, published in 1970, explains:

Chester–Arthur O. Wilander has lived in town all his life but he doesn’t know who paints the frog on the rock on Old Huntington Road. Woodrow Black has been in Chester for at least 25 years and he doesn’t know who paints the rock either.

Every year or two years the rock receives a new coat of paint  by person or persons unknown to town officials. This year “Love is a frog” was added to the usual outline of a frog. Black said green flourescent paint was used. 

“When we were children about 50 years ago,” Wilander said, The painting was there.

“It’s just one of those things,” Black said.

Forty four years later, the mystery is solved. Stella Foley Connor’s mother first painted it back in 1929 and Stella who now lives in Becket and a friend Marion Middleton of Otis went and repainted the frog or toad this past summer.  It has been sentimental for Stella over the years and the old rock needed a fresh coat of paint.  The gals even cleaned up all the brush around it.  When in Chester please take a look at it!

Chester Calendar… a year full of memories

This year's calendar is dedicated to Dominic Piergiovanni, a "Gem of our Valley."

This year’s calendar is dedicated to Dominic Piergiovanni, a “Gem of our Valley.”

How would you like to be reminded of your Chester days at least once a month for a year! The cover photo offers a view of the Chester Granite and Polishing Works which once entirely covered what is now the ball lot. Sprinkled throughout the calendar are photos of both familiar and unfamiliar (because they have changed so much) places around Chester, anniversary classes of Chester High (1945, 1965 and 1990) and a number of photos of Veterans and community pillars. There are also news clippings reproduced that will amuse and amaze.

History and trivia buffs will perhaps especially enjoy the calendar itself because it includes a number important dates things happened in Chester. I’d been wondering exactly when the “new” Fire Station was built and my calendar informs me it was 1956.

One of the news clips posted for December includes some information about the Chester Bowling Alleys. “…bowling cost 55 cents a string, pinsetters were paid 18 cents a string. Rachel Meyer remembers going out on dates to the bowling alley…” Well, I remember setting pins for the women’s league! No, we did not receive hazardous duty pay but we did frequently have to jump out of the pit!

The calendar can be purchased for $12 at the Chester Village Market and Chester Electric Light Office or by contacting a Historical Society Member if you’re in the area.  Those wishing to purchase by mail, please add $2 for postage and send a check for $14 to the Chester Historical Society, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA 01011.



Chester High Alumni Coming Home!


Saturday, June 28th at the Chester Depot on Prospect Street

Socializing starts at 2 PM, Food served at 3:00 PM, Business meeting at 4:30 PM.

$14.00 per person cost

Reservations can be made with Annette LaMountain Murphy, PO Box 206, Chester MA 01011

Chester High School Alumni will be coming home to Chester this year for their annual reunion and meeting on Saturday, June 28, 2014. The meeting draws a large group of people associated with the former Chester High School, including Chester Residents who graduated from Gateway after Chester High School closed in the late 1960’s. This year’s festivities begin with a social hour at 2:00 PM at the Chester Railroad Depot and continue informally throughout the entire weekend as “Blue Devils” and “Quarriers” wander around town visiting old friends and relatives. The Association’s annual business meeting will be held at 4:30 PM.

Chester High has traditions dating back well over one hundred years, but the Association has no members from that long ago! Among the many mysteries every year are questions like, “Who will be the oldest member?” and “Who will come from the farthest away?” In the midst of all the reminiscing, prizes are awarded for the first local and first out of state reservation. There is never a lack of laughter, perhaps because the threat of detention is long gone even though former teachers frequently attend. Five year classes will be honored, especially the fifty year class of 1964 and twenty-five year class of 1989.

Association President Walter Boomsma noted that the reunion will be held in Chester for the seventh straight year. “People love meeting in Chester for a lot of reasons, including the relaxed atmosphere. Some can’t resist sitting on the church corner for a while. Small town America is alive and well, at least in Chester.”

He also pointed out that using this more informal approach allows ticket prices to remain low. Association Leadership is excited that the event will be a bit of an economic benefit for Chester. “We’re thrilled to continue to bring dollars into Chester instead of Westfield” and they hope local businesses and organizations will make the town “open and welcome” to those who attend. Boomsma also notes that the Associate enjoys the support of organizations like the Chester Foundation and Chester Historical Society. “The Historical Society has agreed to remain open the day of the reunion from 10 am to 1 pm. Alumni visiting the old jail will be amazed at the amount of Chester High and Grammar School memorabilia on hand.”

Reunion invitations are mailed to Association Members in May. Boomsma also notes that the reunion is not limited to graduates of Chester High. “Anyone with a connection to Chester is certainly welcomed to join us for socializing and reminiscing. This is really a town event.” Anyone who does not receive an invitation may simply send a check (tickets are $12 per person, payable to Chester High School Alumni Association) to Annette LaMountain, Association Secretary at PO Box 206, Chester MA 01011.

Additional officers of the Association include Robert Goewey, Vice President and George A. Morey Treasurer. Board Members include Judith Olson of Hatfield, Brenda Budreau of Huntington, Jackie Conklin, Edith Whitaker and Mary Burkholder of Westfield and Tino Cardarelli, Diane DeMoss, and Janice Brown, all of Chester. Any one of these people may be contacted for information or to volunteer some help. The Association maintains a blog at and a Facebook page where alumni can gather information and post comments.

The Alumni Association also manages a significant scholarship fund and Gateway Seniors are encouraged to contact their guidance counselors for additional information. Scholarship Custodians include Duane C. Pease and Paul Petersante of Chester, and Bruce Cooper of Russell.