Cheshire Celebrates 225th Birthday
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Cheshire kicked off its yearlong 225th anniversary celebration Saturday with an evening of history, community spirit and pride.
"It is about pride in our community as you can see," organizer John Tremblay said. "Look around us. Look at the people and the history of this town. We have a lot to be proud of."
The birthday party was a few days early. The town was incorporated on March 14, 1793, although it had been settled nearly 30 years prior by pioneers largely from Rhode Island.
In the first few hours of the event, which was held in the St. Mary's Church Hall, attendees looked at historical displays and heard from a barbershop quartet.
The more formal part of the event began at 7 as Tremblay invited Selectwoman Carol Francesconi to recite the poem "Dear Old Cheshire" and say a few words about the town in which she was born and raised.
"Cheshire has always been a place very close to my heart and I have never even given it a thought of ever leaving the town of Cheshire," she said. "People feel like they belong here, that they are loved here and that they are cared for here."
State Rep. John Barrett III, D-North Adams, read both a proclamation from the governor and from the House.
Barrett added that in previous runs for state office, he always did well in Cheshire and said he marched in the parade celebrating the town's 200th anniversary.
"Let me tell you something that town came out and there has always been a spirit in this community and that is remarkable," he said. "We hear a lot that the people make the community and you look around here and Cheshire is the type of community that we all want to come from."
Selectman Edmund St. John IV spoke a few words about Leonard Stomski, the local artist who painted the "Cheshire Cheese Goes To Washington" for the town and who recently passed away.
"For over 50 years, he has captured the beauty of not only Cheshire and its residents but also Berkshire County," he said. "Beyond winning over 30 awards, he worked really hard to capture the essence of life in Cheshire and in few other cases does anything touch our history like this painting in front of us."
Last to speak was state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, who read a citation from the Senate and recalled his own childhood in Buckland, another small rural community. He noted that it was important for communities to celebrate such historical milestones.
"Happy birthday everyone ... I can't tell you how important it is for us to do this together," he said. "We come together from time to time to celebrate our small towns and to celebrate who we are and what we represent together. It is special."
Before ending, members of the Hoosac Valley High School chorus lead an impromptu singalong of patriotic songs.
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