WARE — The Ware Historical Society has a myriad of events and activities planner this spring and summer.
On May 26, visit the Field of Flags and join Ware Remembers, a Memorial Day ceremony, at 6 p.m. The Ware Center Meetinghouse and Museum will open for tours on Sundays from 1-3 p.m. on June 9 and 23, July 7 and 21, and Aug. 4 and 18. As well, on Aug. 11, Old Home Day Service will be at 10 a.m. in conjunction with the United Church of Ware.

Established in 1962, the Ware Historical Society preserves local artifacts and information and promotes local historical research and educational activities to develop the community’s awareness of its unique heritage. The orgnaization cooperates with local, state and national historical agencies in the preservation of historical sites, buildings and materials, and in any other areas of common concern and effort.

President Julie Bullock said, “Preserving history is important but I think it is more important to have empathy for those who came before us.”

She continued, “Personal histories are actually the history of our country and the world. It is learning how people conducted themselves and cared for their families which makes history real. From Native Americans to our parents and grandparents, comparing what we do today to what was done in the past is often an eye-opener and sometimes a pattern to follow.”

Visitors to the Meetinghouse will learn about early Ware and the common where the citizens practiced for the Revolutionary War. They will hear about how the town and the Meetinghouse changed as needs arose.

Bullock said, “The Military display in the west entry represents all branches of service with hardtack from the Civil War, a uniform and medals from WW I, stories, mementos and pictures from WW II, Vietnam, Korea, Desert Storm and Desert Shield.”

In the School Room, this year’s display shows many versions of Noah’s Ark, the only toy children were allowed to play with on Sundays because it depicted a Biblical story. There are pictures of early Ware, the story of Ware’s alligator and an amazing model of the Meetinghouse by Chris Novak. The next room has the story of Erastus Salisbury Field, a famous artist who lived in Ware in the 1800’s, mementos from the banks and early businesses, and furniture left by early residents of Ware.

“The kitchen has the original wood stove, dry sink and cupboard, milk bottles from local dairy farms and Coca-Cola bottles from Ware’s own bottling company,” Bullock added. “It also shows damage from the fire in 1986 which nearly destroyed the meetinghouse. The Ladies’ Parlor was important during the Civil War when the women met to roll bandages and share letters from their soldiers.”

The piano and doors from the Casino Theatre, the oldest in the U.S when it was taken down in 2011, provides a reason to tell the story of Shamus Culhane from Ware, a Disney artist who created the Seven Dwarf scenes in Snow White. In the East lobby are more historic pieces including the town seal featuring an image of a Quaboag Indian spearing fish at a weir in the Ware River. Upstairs the sanctuary looks much as it did since 1799. Displays of pictures show the fire of 1986 and the bell cast by Hollbrook, student of Paul Revere. On the way down the stairs visitors are invited to ring the bell.

Each year, the Historical Society hosts the students and teachers of Ware’s third grade for a History of Ware Day to supplement the curriculum on local history. First, they travel through the town by bus seeing historical sites and hearing stories of Ware, and then stopping to walk through the Ware-Gilbertville Covered Bridge. After lunch, they visit the Ware Center, the Meetinghouse, the graveyard, an old-fashioned schoolroom, and then make butter and a craft. The Historical Society also sells History of Ware books, books by local authors and gift items like mugs and postcards. The society has T-shirts with pictures of Ware landmarks. This year, they are selling T-shirts with the image of Mary Lane Hospital which was very important to Ware and the surrounding area. The museum in Ware Center is developing a display which will tell the story of a well-to-do mill owner wanting to provide medical support for his workers and the people in his communities. With the Proprietors of the Ware Center Meetinghouse, the Historical Society will welcome crafters and shoppers during the Ware Center Fair in September and the Tree and Wreath Festival in December.

The Ware Center Meetinghouse and Museum is located at 295 Belchertown Rd. For more information, check the Ware Historical Society’s Facebook page and at warecentermeetinghouse.org.

Miasha Lee
+ posts