New book -Fitchburg's 'Legendary Locals'
Posted in the Fitchburg Forum
Since: Feb 10
#1 Feb 21, 2014
I didn't know Chief Urulu was from Fitchburg.... Too funny!
FITCHBURG — Thanks to Arcadia Publishing's book series Images of America, which has sprung up in thousands of American communities and features historic photographs from each city or town's archives, it's easy to get an in-depth understanding of local history through each book. Fitchburg was featured in its own Images publication in 2005.
But the publishing company has inspired a new series known as Legendary Locals, and the Fitchburg Historical Society is getting ready to release its edition just in time for the festivities this year marking the 250th anniversary of Fitchburg's incorporation as a city.
"It was a nice convergence in terms of timing, and we all felt very positive about our work on this book," said Shirley Wagner, who toiled away with fellow FHS members Helen Obermeyer Simmons, Joy Contois, Simone Blake, Kathleen Flynn and Cynthia Jones for the past year in creating the book.
The book, which will be for sale during a special book-signing event from 1 to 3 p.m. March 8 at the FHS, 781 Main St., celebrates not only figures from the city's rich history but also some of the people who contribute in a positive way today.
From Mayor Lisa Wong and several former mayors to people like journalist Mike Barnicle and actor Jacques Aubuchon, who appeared in "McHale's Navy" as Chief Urulu, the book celebrates Fitchburg residents past and present.
Lily Watkins, publishing editor at Arcadia, said the books allow for vintage images coupled with facts and anecdotes reveal the character of the people who make up the fabric of the community.
"While famous personalities are included, this book also highlights the unsung local heroes and stories of humanity that have shaped your town," she added.
According to Ms. Jones, the beautiful thing about delving into history is that you may go in search of one thing but you are bound to turn up something else altogether.
"Inevitably, we find all these other wonderful things," she laughed. "It's very serendipitous."
Since: Feb 10
#2 Feb 21, 2014
For example, people may or may not be aware that the sewing pattern company Butterick, though originally started in Sterling, grew exponentially once it moved to Fitchburg, ultimately leaving for New York City and becoming an exceptionally prosperous company.
But as Ms. Jones searched old newspaper records for more information about Butterick, she stumbled upon a beautiful and heart-wrenching poem titled "The Empty Crib" that was written by a Fitchburg woman for a friend whose child had died. Treasures like those, she said, cannot be produced on demand.
"That's the interesting thing about doing research," she said. "You never know what you are going to find. It can be very exciting."
Ms. Wagner said she is excited to share some new information with readers — things they might not know about the long and fascinating history of the city, which at one time had a bustling train depot that facilitated a huge impact on economic growth. The people, she added, are what have always made the city great.
"Fitchburg has always been a very diverse and culturally rich place," she said, which she said has allowed for people to express and follow through with unique ideas. One such celebrant featured in the book is Rocky Piccicuto, who championed a cause near and dear to his own heart — a tradition of creating flower boxes around the city.
Chapters focus on different strata of legendary locals, from athletes and artists to politicians and religious leaders.
In the past, added Ms. Wagner, the FHS has focused solely on the past. But with this book, the collaborators had the freedom and privilege of determining who has not only made the city great throughout the last 250 years but who also is continuing the tradition in the present day.
She has invited all of the living Legendary Locals to participate in the book signing event on March 8, which is free.
For more information, visit www.fitchburghistoricalsociety.org .
#3 Feb 21, 2014
This is a real feel good story. I like to go to the Dollar store and fill a shopping carriage with stuff and then go to the check out complain if they charge me more than a dollar. Then I walk out and kick around in a snow bank and try to find missing kids that I think the state is hiding from me.
#4 Feb 21, 2014
Shurley Wagner? Yes put the book at the dollar store and give customers a $2 coupon,that way they get the book and a burrito for free.
#5 Feb 21, 2014
Jtn,don't forget the white sauce on the burrito
#6 Feb 21, 2014
Stamos, this is what you are encouraging. Posts like this about Lynch that have nothing to do w/ a great article you share.
#7 Feb 21, 2014
stamos gies out with Wagner?
#8 Feb 22, 2014
I didn't see Lynch mentioned in that post. But if that's your presumption you roll with it. I have been walking around aimlessly and talking with homeless drug addicts and we all agree Fitchburg has problems because of the GOBN and the corrupt FSU.
#9 Feb 23, 2014
time for me to ho to work,watch my new season titled kiss fitchburg goodbye,competition in mayor race,wink wink
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