June/July 2022

UPCOMING EVENTS:

CT Open House Day:

Saturday, June 11, 2022 

11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Meriden Historical Society History Center

41 W. Main Street – Meriden

Free admission. Donations gratefully accepted.

Our June Program Presentation will feature Sylvester Poli Theater Magnate, his life and involvement in Meriden. Presented by Michael J. Zaffino.

Thursday, June 30th at 6:30 pm at the Society’s History Center

41 w. Main St., downtown Meriden

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GRAND OPENING REPORT

More than 200 people attended our 2-day grand opening celebration. The event would have not been the success it was if not for the dedicated volunteers – those who unpacked, cleaned, set up displays organizing all those items moved from the research center and those who organized the event itself. Such activities

included ordering tablecloths, enlisting sponsors to cover the cost of the opening night gala event, sending out invitations, lining up antique cars and setting up ice cream give-away coupons. Thank you goes to the Gala Committee: Lesley Carabetta, Deborah Patterson, Mike Rohde, Ric Suzio, Michael Zaffino and Mark Zebora. Another thank you goes to our worker-bee volunteers who prepared the building and the displays for the event: Chris Ruel, and Lesley Carabetta, Michael Zaffino, Barbara Austen, Sherwin Borsuk, Paul Butkus, A. Lee Campione, Rick Dickson, Lewis Kraft, Anna-Marie Lamontagne, Hunter McMahon, Deborah Patterson, Nancy Rohde, Bruce Rovinsky, Stacey Rovinsky, Lesley Solkoske and Phil Toussaint.

Heartfelt thanks to Eversource, Barker Specialty, Sherwin and Ruth Borsuk, Community Health Center, Inc., Cox Communications, Hot and Tasty Deli, Meriden Farmers Market, Meriden Puerto Rican Festival Committee, Meriden YMCA, Prentis Printing Solutions, Inc., Thompson Chocolate and the Record Journal fgor sponsoring the event and to all who came and made the grand opening truly grand.

Uniforms on Display – our salute to the people of Meriden and their service to the community and the country
Mayor Scarpati delivers an address on behalf of the City of Meriden.
Sunday visitors enjoy guided tours given by our volunteers.
Neda Weathers, a long time volunteer and a past president of the Society, inspects small items in a state-of-the-art display case.

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WELCOME TO OUR NEW MEMBERS:

Joshua Dumitt – Meriden, CT

David Grodzicki – Meriden, CT

Elizabeth Horan – Meriden, CT

Christine Ivers – Meriden, CT

David Ivers – Meriden, CT

Brian Lamphier – Middlefield, CT

Macri Enterprises LLC – Meriden, CT

The Donna & Frank Nedelka family – Meriden, CT

Sound Spectrum Entertainment of Wallingford CT

Robert W. Squire and Family of Meriden, CT

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IN MEMORIAM:

Gladys (Mike) Beloff

Vincent (Vinny) Spratta

Both were long time members of the Meriden Historical Society.

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WE THANK OUR CORPORATE SUPPORTERS

Jonal Laboratories

456 Center St., Meriden CT 06451

203-634-4444

www.jonal.com

Macri Enterpises, LLC

387 South Colony St.,

Meriden, CT 06451

203-600-5075

MacriSigns@gmail.com

Mahon, Quinn & Mahon, P.C.

636 Broad St., Meriden, CT 06450

203-238-1010

www.mqmlawyer.com

Meriden Memorial Funeral Home

450 Broad St., Meriden, CT 06450

203-235-9181

www.MeridenMemorialfh.com

Mule Security & Electric Inc.

113 Broad St., Meriden, CT 06450

203-238-7561

www.mulesecurity.com

New England Capital

Financial Advisors LLC

79 Main St., Meriden, CT 06451

203-935-0265

www.newenglandcapital.com

Plimpton & Hills Corp.

300 Research Pkwy, Meriden CT 06450

860-694-9180

www.PlimptonHills.com

The Russell Hall Company

19 N. George St., Meriden, CT 06451

203-235-6391

www.Russellhall.com

Sound Spectrum Entertainment

25 No. Plains Hwy

Wallingford, CT 06492

203-317-7129

Rozz1@aol.com

Suzio Insurance Center, Inc.

54 Chamberlain Hwy., Meriden, CT 06451

203-237-7403

www.suzioinsurance.com

Tuxis Ohr’s Fuel

80 Britannia St. Meriden, CT 06451

203-639-3513

www.tuxisfuel.com

Valentin Karate

75 S. Colony St. Meriden, CT 06450

203-238-0427

https://valentinkarate.net/

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IN RECOGNITION OF THE GENEROSITY OF OUR GRAND OPENING GALA SPONSORS

Our Title Sponsor:

EVERSOURCE

https://www.eversource.com

Our Gold Sponsor

BARKER SPECIALTY

https://barkerspecialty.com/

800-277-5377

Our Silver Sponsors

COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER, Inc.

860-347-6971

COX COMMUNICATIONS

https://www.cox.com/

844-486-1256

HOT AND TASTY DELI

https://tastydelict.com/

203-235-3190

MERIDEN FARMERS MARKET

https://www.meridenct.gov/visit/meriden-farmers-market/

860-841-0888

MERIDEN PUERTO RICAN FESTIVAL COMMITTEE

https://www.facebook.com/MeridenPuertoRicanFest/

MERIDEN YMCA

https://www.meridenymca.org/

203-235-6386

PRENTIS PRINTING SOLUTIONS, Inc.

http://www.prentisprinting.com/

203-634-1266

THOMPSON CHOCOLATE

https://thompsonchocolate.com/

203-235-2541

Our Media Sponsor

THE RECORD-JOURNAL

https://www.myrecordjournal.com/

203-634-3933

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SPOTLIGHT ON A VOLUNTEER: Lesley Solkoske

Our volunteer spotlight is on Lesley Solkoske, a 43-year resident of Meriden and a volunteer to the Meriden Historical Society since 1985. She is an avid collector of open salts. According to the Opensalts web site, “an open salt is a small dish used as a piece of tableware for holding salt that is not in a saltshaker.” I have had the pleasure of working with her since February and she played a large role in helping us move and get organized for our grand opening.

How did you get involved with the Meriden Historical Society?
The catalogs from the silver companies are what drew me to the Historical Society. I had been collecting antique open salts since childhood but purchased my first one made in Meriden in Snohomish, WA in 1985. Shortly after that, I spent one happy afternoon at the Andrews Homestead pouring over catalogs that Allen Weathers (Curator of the MHS and a walking encyclopedia of all that is Meriden) patiently pulled out for me. At that time, I think they were all still in boxes in one of the upstairs rooms. At the end of the day, I discovered I didn’t have correct change to pay for Xerox copies, so I gave Allen $20 to pay for the copies and a membership. When my work hours changed, I was able to take Wednesday afternoons off. I spent those afternoons for the next 2-1/2 years going through all the catalogs, researching my salt collection. It was the best part of my week!

What activities have you helped with during your volunteer time?
At the end of the 2-1/2 years, I figured it was time to give back and asked Allen what I could do to help. He gave me a project collating 50 categories of the businesses in the city directories. I remember at the time thinking that no one would ever use the reference, but I have been amazed at how many times we have turned to that research for answers. The next big job was continuing to sort and organize the books in the library, after the previous volunteer was unable to continue. (The MHS holds a collection that deals with anything related to Meriden and the books written by Meriden authors.) It has proven to be an ongoing project.
Over the years, I have helped with packing and moving twice, driven a sag wagon during a parade, learned how to create a PowerPoint presentation, and been a Board member and held offices of Vice President and President. Other jobs have included doing inventory, filing, taking photos, researching telephone and mail requests, and hosting a fundraiser tea at the Homestead. There are so many ways for volunteers to help out, but for me, the best part is the researching. I love going through all the wonderful old catalogs.

When you are not helping out at the MHS, what other things do you enjoy doing?
When not at the Historical Society, I enjoy reading, knitting, and playing bridge. But my big passion is still collecting open salts. When I bought that first one back in 1985, I thought there might be a dozen or so made in Meriden. Today I have 450 – mostly silver-plated ones, but also some sterling, cut glass, and porcelain. With the catalog research, I have been able to identify and date many, which is importation information for collectors. Open salts were only a small fraction of the production of the silver companies. We are very fortunate to have such a rich manufacturing history in our town and the Historical Society to preserve it.

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