Saturday January 19, 2013

BECKET -- Planning is under way to celebrate Becket’s history from a small encampment merely known as Plantation Number 4 into a picturesque rural community as it approaches its 250th anniversary.

Becket was established in 1765. There are still two years to wait until the celebration starts, but committee members are brainstorming activities that will recognize the more than 100 Becket residents that fought in the Civil War and more recent developments such as the remodeling of the former Becket school.

Anniversary Committee member Rita Furlong, who is also on the Historical Committee, informed the Select Board this week that it would seek $5,000 in "seed money" to begin developing an itinerary that will stretch on for weeks.

The funding would go before a town vote.

Three anniversary committee meetings have occurred so far, Furlong said, with members of the community welcome to come to them.

The committee members are considering an obelisque to commemorate the Revolutionary and Civil War patriots, she said, and fireworks are also being considered.

Planning and research is already under way for a historical book that will document the last 50 years of Becket’s history, which includes a change in town government and the renaming of Becket School to Becket Washington School.

Furlong said the celebration will aim to make people more knowledgeable about Becket’s history, which originally attracted settlers’ interest because of its rich natural resources. Local rivers were harnessed for power to cut timber that was sent to Westfield and Hartford.

"Education on the town history is one of our major goals," Furlong said.