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Weston Works To Preserve Its Past

It's so close they can almost taste it. After years of planning, fundraisers, solicitations and red-tape slicing, the Weston Historical Society is $250,000 shy of completing its archive center behind the Coley House on Weston Road.

But the last leg toward completion has proven difficult. After raising more than $1 million for the 4,000-square-foot building, the group has seen donations decline.

"With the economy the way it is, we don't want to go to the community to ask for money," said Sharon Gilbert, the historical society's archivist. They do have a plan, Gilbert said, to increase awareness and raise the funds. Volunteers Karin Giannitti and Reg Bowden are helping to organize two events in the spring, hoping to raise at least another $20,000.

The first event will be a Civil War re-enactment and display, set to take place April 30. "I've contacted four Connecticut re-enactor volunteer regiments," Bowden said. "If we can get one or two of them to come, that would really be a lot of fun."

Bowden said he doubts that any Confederate regiments will join for a battle, but the Union regiment will provide plenty of action to keep the day lively.

The historical society also invited local musician Chris Coogan and his choir to sing period songs. And it has arranged for actors Maureen Anderman and Frank Converse to read letters written by soldiers during the Civil War. There will also be performance of the musical "Battlecry' by Paul Bogeav. "It really is a superb piece, with wonderful music," Bowden said.

The Weston Historical Society uses the Coley House as its base of operations, but the building is in disrepair and storage is limited. The new archive center will have a $65,000 humidity-controlled vault to store ephemera. "People haven't given us things because we haven't gotten the vault yet," Gilbert said.

Giannitti said there are many volunteer opportunities at the historical society. "We desperately need volunteers," she said. "People are always shocked when they realize they have to come here for research. If we had help doing data entry, it would make access to that information much easier."

Where are some of your favorite historic spots in Weston? Let us know in the comment box below.

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