December 12, 2018BELMONT – The Belmont Heritage Commission recently announced the recipients of their annual Community Heritage Awards before the town's selectmen, with this year's honors going to lifelong agriculturist Everett Weeks, Jr. and former commission member and champion for the preservation of the historic Belmont Bandstand, Linda Frawley.
Vicki Donovan, chair of the Belmont Heritage Commission, said Weeks was selected for a number of reasons. For more than 70 years, he has lived in the same home on Depot Street, where he and his family have operated their farm. The family has grown a wide variety of vegetables over the years, including their popular sweet corn and the pumpkins nearly every child in Belmont has taken home to carve for Halloween at least once. Weeks Farm is also known for its hay fields and the fresh eggs, which are not only sold at their farm but found in local stores and restaurants, too.
Over the years, Weeks learned to adapt his agricultural practices, moving from the use of horses to work the farm to becoming a tractor operator. With tractors and balers and other pieces of equipment he was then able to be even more efficient at his seven-day-a-week job.
"But, this Community Heritage Award goes to [Everett] for the agricultural traditions he has preserved in true heritage form in Belmont," the commission said. "He preserves the past by using an antique apple cider press and the dateless process of making honey with beehives on his property, but more importantly for his knowledge about farming and his importance to the Town of Belmont."
Weeks was also lauded for his personality, humor and stories he shares about the community as well as his generous donations of fresh local foods to the food pantry.
Donovan noted that Weeks is also the "go to" person for information on historic sites in the town and has a collection of old photographs, including some of the first trains to travel along Depot Street nearly 100 years ago.
"Two years ago, he was presented with a lifetime Belmont Historical Society membership and, with the upcoming celebrations of Belmont's 150 years, it is our honor to present this Community Heritage Award for Preservation and Agricultural Traditions to Everett Weeks, Jr. for being a very important part of Belmont's Heritage for many generations," she said.
The second award was given to Frawley, who has accumulated a long list of achievements that have impacted the community in numerous ways. Donovan said Frawley was a catalyst for the town in 1996 and 2010 when Plan New Hampshire Charrettes were conducted to look for ways to strengthen and improve the village. Over the years she served on the Budget Committee and the Village Revitalization Committee, and founded the Belmont Heritage Committee where she served terms as a chair and vice-chair.
"Because of her determination to improve its heritage and acknowledge its history, (Linda) has brought many distinct awards to Belmont," said Donovan. "Some notable ones were the Land and Community Heritage Improvement Project Award for the restoration of the 1908 Belmont Bandstand from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, and the Victorian Society in America Preservation Award for the Belmont Mill."
As chair of the Heritage Committee, other accomplishments included the initiation of an historical state marker for the Belmont Mill, and spearheading the movement to have places such as the Province Road Meeting House, Belmont Mill and the bandstand added to the state register of historic places. Frawley organized the original Deck the Village events each December and brought the Heritage Concert Series to the town in the summer months. She also added historical locations in town to the My New Hampshire Online Map and created a Belmont Heritage and Preservation Fair.
She is known for her tireless work in not only researching but obtaining grants and other forms of funding to help with preservation projects in the town. Most of all, however, Frawley is known for her tireless work on the restoration of the historic Belmont Bandstand.
"Linda's guidance, support and dedication, and extreme knowledge of the Town of Belmont history, go hand in hand," Donovan said. "We are grateful to [her] for her strong belief in saving and honoring special Belmont places. She began these Community Heritage Awards in 2011 and now she is receiving one herself."
In addition to her award for Preservation of Town History and Heritage, Belmont's Board of Selectmen also presented Frawley with a painting of the bandstand she helped preserve, which was done by local artist Polly Murphy.