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A stroll down history lane

Whately to host walk through historic properties

  • The Whately Milk Bottle sits in front of the old Whately Center School on Wednesday along Chestnut Plain Road. Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • The Whately town post office and town hall on Wednesday. Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Chestnut Plain Road in Whately. Recorder/Micky Bedell

WHATELY — Did you know that the milk bottle in Whately center was once a dairy bar on Routes 5 and 10? Or that there was once a general store at the Whately Inn?

On Sept. 6, the Whately Historical Society will host a guided tour up and down Chestnut Plain Road, during which participants will learn about the history, architecture and significance of the street’s buildings and see vintage photos of the town’s old “Main Street.”

Tickets are $10 in advance or $12.50 on the day of the event, and the price includes admission to the society’s museum. Children 12 and under walk for free. The group will meet at 1 p.m. at the Center School, and refreshments will be served half-way through the tour at Town Hall.

“Each year, we try to create interest in the town’s history and raise funds,” said Adelia Bardwell, the society’s president, of the walk. “We’ve done house tours and guided tours, but we’ll run out of houses someday. Once we did a farm tour, but it didn’t attract as many people, so we wanted to do something to make people aware of the history and still have fun.”

Bardwell said the tour will survey houses from the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the buildings, the Belanger House, was the site of a home tailoring business called “The Front Porch.” Another, the Simon Smikes House, was occupied by the town postmaster of the same name and, at one point, served as a dry goods and grocery store.

“We won’t be talking about any houses that are newer than 1850,” said Bardwell. “Some of them have been renovated or changed, but they’re all really old.”

“We hope that people taking the walk will get a good sense of the town’s history — not only the architecture, but the various occupations and businesses of the people who lived there, and some tales of the historic characters as well,” said Judy Markland, another of the walk’s organizers. “We have wonderful old photos of all the historic buildings so people can get a real sense of the way things were.”

For more information or to reserve a spot on the tour, email info@whatelyhistorical.org or contact Bardwell at 413-665-3837.

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