Denoting History: Historic Plaques Highlight Thomaston

Thomaston resident Will Cummings is continuing the historic plaque project that he has been working on for more than two years. His goal is to promote community awareness of our rich local history and enhance historic properties. Each plaque gave a brief history of the building. 

THOMASTON — Thomaston resident Will Cummings is continuing the historic plaque project that he has been working on for more than two years. This past month, Mr. Cummings gave a presentation to the Thomaston Rotary Club to explain his project. His idea came from a trip he took to St. Andrews in New Brunswick, Canada. He noticed many buildings had plaques on them. Each plaque gave a brief history of the building. This sparked his idea to do a similar program in Thomaston.

According to Mr. Cummings, his goal is to “promote community awareness of our rich local history and enhance our historic properties.”

He explained that Thomaston has a history worth sharing because of its rich history, especially in its early stages of clock making in the state.

Mr. Cummings hopes that these plaques will allow people to be more aware of the history of the homes or neighborhoods in town.

“It’s a way to tell the history of the town through the people who lived here. I want the buildings to tell the story,” said Mr. Cummings.

His general focus is on homes that are more than 100 years old. There are some properties that are not that old but still have an interesting back story.

Usually when the plaque is being developed, the property owner assists in the wording that is placed on it.

The plaques are standardized as follows: the sign backer is 3/4” Azek, sized 12” x 16” in off-white and the nameplate is black aluminum baked enamel with gold lettering and a logo representing the town.

This formatting was settled between Mr. Cummings and his sign maker. Mr. Cumming’s wife also helped with the original plaque design.

The property owners pay for the cost of making the plaque, which is about $125 plus tax and the money goes to the sign maker.

The sign maker is also from Thomaston and has made signs for multiple locations in town, including Seth Thomas Park and the Opera House.

Mr. Cummings has made 17 plaques and most of them have been mounted on the buildings.

His most current plaque is Plaque XVII for town resident and Vice Chairman of the Economic Development Commission, Matt Stancavage.

Mr. Cummings got the information about this property from Joe Wassong’s book about Thomaston. 

The book explained that the property, 49 South Main St., was an early gas station in town.

The town assessor’s office dates the building to 1850.

“I want to continue adding more buildings,” he said. “I’d love to do one for the train station and the Seth Thomas factory.”

Eventually Mr. Cummings would like to create a website that shows the buildings and the coinciding plaques. He would obtain permission from the owners of the buildings before posting them on public media.

Those seeking additional information on a plaque may contact Mr. Cummings at sparrowhousepottery@gmail.com or 860-283-6114.

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