Stumbling upon a long-lost display case in a corner of the Town Hall basement, Laura Brennan knew she found the treasure that had gone missing some years prior, one that many had been searching for.
“It looked like a good piece of furniture,” said Brennan, Cheshire’s town clerk, “but it had been covered in dust for years.”
Beneath the grime was a glass-covered case once housed at the Cheshire Public Library. There it displayed countless interesting collections.
According to Cheshire historian and author Ron Gagliardi, the family of Emma Fitch Guilford donated the display case to the town decades ago. Then one day, it “abruptly went missing,” he said.
Apparently, no one knew where the case went, or why it was removed. And after a time, it was all but forgotten. But thanks to Brennan’s basement find in 2020, the display case is back, and looking better than ever. The piece has been refurbished and now stands in the entrance foyer of Town Hall, under the portrait of Cheshire artist John F. Kensett.
Currently, the case is filled with 50 postcards from Ron Gagliardi’s collection, showing scenes of Cheshire’s past. The hand-colored postcard of Scott’s Junction may be the oldest. “The ladies garb sets it at about 1890 to 1900,” said Gagliardi.
Another, dated 1924, shows the “200th anniversary celebration pageant” of the Congregational Church. Other postcards were published by a Cheshire resident, the late Cliff Scofield, Gagliardi said.
There are postcards showing the earliest days of Mixville Recreation area, and also one of the Waverly Building displaying an old-fashioned carriage.
“It used to sit outside on the porch,” said Gagliardi.
More modern postcards show the former Brix restaurant, currently home tof Viron Rondo Osteria, located on the north end of Route 10.
The historic Cheshire postcards will be on display into May. Down the road, Brennan anticipates that displays from the Cheshire Public Library and the Historical Society will grace the case.
“It’s basically available to anyone who would like to display something in there for the public,” she said.