Boston Post Cane, Plaque, Presented on Appreciation Day
Jan 02, 2018 10:54AM ● Published by Marjorie Turner Hollman
Shown at the Appreciation Ceremony (L-R) are Selectmen Chair Michael Soter, Museum Volunteer Pauline Gaudini, Town Administrator Denis Fraine, and Museum Volunteer Mary Gregoire
The Boston Post Cane concept was launched by the now-defunct Boston Post newspaper back in 1909. The idea was to award a gold-tipped cane to the oldest member of each community, and each town in New England was given one of these canes. Over the years many canes were misplaced, or simply left in attics, forgotten. But what was seen as a publicity stunt transformed into a tradition over the past one hundred years for the communities that have been lucky enough to keep track of their canes. Bellingham is one of the lucky communities that still retain their canes. Bellingham’s was mislaid for thirty-five years, and since it has been rediscovered, a replica cane is awarded to the oldest resident while the Historical Commission retains possession of the original cane given to Bellingham all those years ago.
On Nov. 25, the Bellingham Historical Commission sponsored an “Appreciation Day,” at which Bellingham’s Boston Post Cane was ceremonially awarded to Joitiben Patel, Bellingham’s oldest resident. Patel was not able to be present for the actual ceremony, but was given the replica cane privately after the ceremony.
The members of the Commission originally thought of having a “Celebration Day,” but Commission Chair Marcia Crooks noted, “We decided that, rather than have a celebration, we will leave that for next year’s 300th anniversary celebration of Bellingham’s incorporation. This year we wanted to have an Appreciation ceremony.” Chair of the Selectmen, Mike Soter, and Town Administrator Denis Fraine spoke, Brownie Girl Scout troop 360 acted as ushers, and Cub Scout pack 118 led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The event, held at the Bellingham Administration building, honored many, including the town’s oldest citizens: Mary Markey, Alexandra Alexander, Neil Molloy, Martial Cote, Ida Parker, Jeannette LaPlante, Marion Lozinski, Salvatore Pilla, Alexander Goulet, Sr., Maurice Durocher, Medora Guilbert, Constance Rushton, Rolande Dubois, Shirley Downey, Barbara Nickerson, and the oldest, Joitiben Patel. The ceremony also honored the many hard-working volunteers who have given their time to help the Historical Commission, including Mary Gregoire, Pauline Gaudini, Adam Misiuk, Connor Gonthier, Daniel Perkins, and Todd Patrick.
Crooks noted, “The McCracken plaque presented during our Appreciation event to Florence McCracken’s daughter, Judy Cox, was to honor the late Florence McCracken, who was appointed to the Bellingham Historical Commission when it was first formed.” Crooks continued, “Florence served as Chair of the Historical Commission for several years. She had a deep interest in the history of Bellingham and served on the Commission for thirty-eight years. The plaque will be hung in our historical museum.”
Crooks offered a short “History of Bellingham” during the ceremony, which focused on Bellingham prior to its becoming officially Bellingham. Margaret Maxwell shared a short history of the Boston Post Cane, and William Eltzroth offered the appreciation awards.
Stay tuned for information about upcoming celebrations of Bellingham’s 300th anniversary!