WELD — Friday afternoon, June 5, several Weld Historical Society board members gathered in the center of town to celebrate the Society’s purchase of the Weld General Store lot.

The decision to purchase the Weld General Store lot involved a significant amount of money for the society. A $60,000 fundraising campaign, through contributions and grants, is underway to both improve the former Weld General Store lot and replenish the significant amount spent to acquire the space.

The Weld General Store was destroyed in an early morning fire Monday, April 22, 2019.

The Weld General Store was destroyed in an early morning fire Monday, April 22, 2019. The Weld Historical Society purchased the lot on June 5 and has started a capital campaign to cover some of the purchase price. File photo

At the time of the fire, Weld Historical Society President Sean Minear said the store was built by Franklin Morrison in 1816, and was the oldest continuous business in Franklin County. It served as the town’s post office for many years.

The Weld Historical Society recently purchased the Weld General Store lot. The store was lost in a fire about a year ago. Here it is seen in a photograph from around 1900. Weld Historical Society photo

In the latest WHS newsletter Minear wrote, “The building had historic significance for several reasons. Built in

The corner lot in Weld, formerly the location of the Weld General Store, has been purchased by the Weld Historical Society. This photograph shows the store around 1930. Weld Historical Society photo

the 1830’s, it is believed that the property was the oldest two-story structure in Weld. It is also believed that the building, which had housed a store of some type from its construction, was the oldest continuous business in all of Franklin County. For close to two centuries, this enterprise was a vital part of our town and still today, it is impossible to come to a stop in the center of Weld without recalling what was once there.”

“As soon as the lot went on the market, we were interested,” Minear said in a recent phone interview. “I was approached about six weeks ago by an individual who wished to help.”

That person, who wishes to remain anonymous, contributed $15,000 towards the $69,000 purchase price. The remainder came from WHS savings, checking and endowment accounts, Minear said.

Now that the property has been purchased, the next step is to level, seed and landscape it this summer, Minear said. A committee will be established to develop a plan for the property, he added.

As he noted in the newsletter, “Our plan will be to create a welcoming space at the crossroads. We foresee the establishment of a committee which will solicit community input as to how best to use this area. Again, no decisions have been formalized as to what, if anything, will be placed on the space. Many ideas have been proposed.

“For the past forty-five years our organization has demonstrated that we are responsible stewards regarding Weld history. We as a Board of Directors realize $60,000 is a significant sum. We also have faith that our many members and friends believe as we do that when given certain rare opportunities, we must take action and trust that support will follow.

“All contributions over $50, directly given in support of this project, will have the name of the donor(s) listed on a permanent sign to be placed at the corner. For generations to come, this historic site will be preserved and celebrated.

“In the midst of this wretched virus, how grand it is to have a significant, public and important undertaking that is visible to all.”

Donations for the Weld Historical Society Village Project may be mailed to WHS, PO Box 31, Weld, Maine 04285. Donations are tax-deductable.

 

 


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