Westport Historical Society Annual Meeting

Date: October 21, 2021
Time: 5:00 pm  to  6:00 pm

Join us for a look back at the year and a look forward to the coming year as well as a special appreciation of Russ Hart, this year’s recipient of the annual local history award.

At the age of 93, Russ Hart is one of Westport’s most senior local historians, whose experiences as selectman, highway surveyor, and fisherman contribute to a wealth of personal knowledge about Westport’s past. The Westport Historical Society honors his contributions to our understanding of Westport past.

Future plans for the Bell School House and a new vision for its role as our headquarters will be unveiled.

The agenda also includes presentation of slate of nominees for the board, Executive Director’s report and Treasurer’s Report.

The annual meeting is presented via Zoom.

Pre register at this link:



Please review draft minutes:

Westport Annual Meeting

October 15, 2020

Draft Minutes


  • Welcome (Jenny O’Neill and Albert Lees): JO opened the zoom meeting at 5:00 PM and began by thanking the Board for its support and highlighted the contributions of Al Lees, Yvonne Barr, and Buzzy Baron.


  • Approval of Minutes from Annual Meeting 2019 (AL): It was moved seconded and

VOTED: to approve the minutes from the Annual Meeting October 17, 2019. 21 People voted yes and 5 abstained.


AL recognized Breck Arnzen for all his work on the Leadership Committee to provide new voices to the WHS. He then thanked Buzzy Baron for his work as treasurer. BB is staying on the Board, has been the treasurer for five years until he engaged Cindy Brown to be the new treasurer.


  • Presentation of slate of nominees for the Board of Directors 2020-2021 (AL): Howie Gifford’s term has expired and he has chosen not to continue; he was recognized for his engagement and his knowledge of Westport history. Members will include Charley Appleton, Buzzy Baron, Yvonne Barr, Libby Baylies, Cindy Brown, Emily Hoeffel, Sean Leach, Al Lees, Sam Manley Laura Rapoza, Katrina Strozik and Poo White. Sam Manley was welcomed with Katrina Strozik as new members. Sam Manley is rooted in the area comprising Dartmouth, Westport and Little Compton and has a wealth of local information. Katrina worked on the Artisan Fair last year and was the new chair for this coming year which was canceled due to covid. It was moved, seconded and

VOTED: to approve the slate of nominees with 88%voting yes and 12% abstaining.


4   Executive Director’s Report (JO)

JO reviewed the events of the past year pre-pandemic and during Covid- 19. One event, on January 19th,  was a celebration in honor of Paul Cuffe’s birthday at the Westport Elementary School. JO thanked the Paul Cuffe task force. Many different events happened during the shutdown including the publication of the Bell School Bugle, the uploading of 1976 interviews to our website, the publication of Tony Connors’ book, Small Town, Big History, and the Betty Slade Scholarship was awarded to Mark Allen.

Two major restoration projects, funded by a CPA grant, have been the new roof on Handy House and the restoration of the Bell School tower. A new roof for the BS is in the works.


JO remembered the loss of two important people, Cukie Macomber and Geraldine Millham. A new committee is being started, a Research Committee, for future historians.


  1. Libby Baylies discussed the Handy House Heritage Trail and presented Jay Raposa II with the Community Service Award for his work on the planning and construction of the trail. The Heritage Trail has been very busy with its interpretations, the Halloween Scavenger Hunt, and many activities for the future including A Thanksgiving StoryWalk.


  1. Treasurer’s Report (Cindy Brown): CB remarked that although this has been a challenging year due to Covid, we received the Payroll Protection Program loan of just over $14,000. The loan will be forgiven. WHS members have been supportive. The Annual Appeal and contributions in memory of Tony Connors have allowed the Board to publish Tony’s book which is selling well. The Endowments have performed well.


  1. Presentation of local history award to Gravestone Cleaning Group: Todd Baptista, Betty Slade, Norm Anderson, Ted Kinnari:

Yvonne Barr, in presenting the award, gave a history of the group. She recognized Betty Slade, Todd Baptista and Ted Kinnari, the owner of the D/2 solution used to clean the headstones. YB invited Betty and Todd to say a few words. Betty Slade, who has been the driving force, is hoping for a CPA grant to restore the many stones in disrepair. AL thanked Betty


Al Lees officially closed the meeting at 6:20 PM


Respectfully submitted,

Elizabeth White, Clerk