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Hearse House to be dedicated

WILBRAHAM On Nov. 5 the Hearse and the newly restored Hearse House will be dedicated at the monthly open house of the Old Meeting House.

The Hearse House, built around the 1830s, was originally located at the Adams Cemetary on Tinkham Road. Subsequent moves were to a former blacksmith shop at 380 Main Street, and finally to the Old Meeting House at 450 Main Street which is the house of the Atheneum Society of Wilbraham.

Restoration began on the Hearse House in 2005 with help from Community Preservation Act funds that had recently been passed by the town, grants from the Community Foundation and contributions from the Atheneum Society. Lumber from a torn-down hearse house in Westminster, Massachusetts was donated; new rough-hewn boards were purchased; a brick sidewalk and floor were laid down; new boards were stained to match the weathered ones; colonial style wavy glass was installed in the windows; the exterior was caulked, primed and painted; and a hunt for a hearse was begun.

Once was located in Saukville, Wisconsin at Pagel's Livery Antiques which specialized in antique horse-drawn primitives. The hearse was probably built by the Brownell Co. in New Bedford, Massachusetts and shipped by rail to the midwest. Its style is a "country hearse" like the one which would have been used in Wilbraham.

The dedication will take place Nov. 5 from 2-4 p.m. at the Old Meeting House, 450 Main Street in Wilbraham.