Gold cane award coming back to Montague
MONTAGUE — The Boston Post gold cane, to honor a town’s oldest resident, will once again be awarded in Montague.
Resident John Reynolds has raised the issue occasionally for some time, and recently the Board of Selectmen voted to allow him to go forward with the selection.
The Boston Post Cane Award — established by the now-defunct newspaper — is awarded to the oldest known resident in many New England towns in which the tradition and the cane have survived.
“The town has one of those canes in its possession and it has been sitting on its shelf for awhile and we want to revive it,” Reynolds said. He had asked the board to decide whether to attach an expanded residency requirement to the award.
Rather than the oldest known resident, the cane will be awarded to the oldest known resident who has lived in town for a decade or more.
Selectmen unanimously authorized Reynolds to go to the town clerk to find the oldest resident who has lived in town for 10 years, and let selectmen know so they can award the cane.
In practice, many towns ceremoniously award the cane, then replace it with a pin or other memento, simply to protect the actual item.
The tradition of giving a Boston Post Cane to the oldest resident in towns throughout New England was started in 1909 by the Boston Post newspaper, which was founded in 1831. A special cane was created for each of the then-700 towns (no cities were included) in New England. The popular newspaper folded in 1956, and while the tradition has survived in some towns, in others the gold-topped cane has been lost or stolen in the intervening century.