Berkshire Eagle 01/18/2015, Page B01
‘Quiet, elegant, simple’ entry added to Great Hall at Statehouse
By Phil Demers
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WINDSOR >> One of the few remaining municipalities in Massachusetts not represented in the Statehouse Great Hall of Flags — this small Berkshire hilltown of about 900 residents — flipped the script this week by sending a white, green and blue cloth depicting a pastoral landscape to Boston.
Designed by town artist Susan Edwards, the initiative to create the town signature dates back about two and a half years.
The final product shows blue sky, white hills, screened spruce trees and green country land, along with Windsor’s date of incorporation: July 4, 1771.
“It’s open space and beautiful country — the resources Windsor has in the greatest supply,” Edwards said in an Eagle interview. “This is a town of self-sufficiency. The people who move here tend to have a pioneering spirit.”
Edwards called the final design “quiet, elegant and simple.”
State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, and state Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, in 2012 recommended town officials adopt a flag and send it 100 miles east after noticing Windsor was one of around 20 municipalities missing from the Statehouse display.
Town Clerk Evelyn Bird took a particular interest and began looking for folks who might design it.
The town Historical Commission then adopted the cause.
After specifying the color and spirit it wanted, Historical Commission members solicited designs and ultimately chose Edwards’.
Historical Commission Chairwoman Deborah Balmuth reflected on Wind-sor’s history, agreeing with Edwards that the town’s natural resources reflect on its social life.
“We don’t have a lot of infrastructure here,” Balmuth said. “The community is only what the people who live here create.”
Historically as now, Windsor tended to attract “inventive” types, she said, like those who built the town’s small charcoal industry, mills and manufacturing businesses. Charles Ball, a well-known example of the latter, in the late 1800s employed 30 people at his portable sawmill, which produced meat skewers and lollipop sticks.
There are nine remaining towns in Downing’s Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden district without a flag in the Great Hall: Alford, Hawley, Middlefield, New Ashford, Savoy, Westhampton, West Stockbridge, Williamsburg and Williamstown. Middlefield and Williamstown are in the process of creating a town flag; Savoy has discussed their interest with the senator’s office. The Windsor flag was presented to Downing and Mark in a Dec. 7ceremony. Balmuth said a duplicate of the flag now graces Town Hall, and the Historical Commission may sell smaller productions of the flag at its annual pie sale in September.
“It’s really rewarding to see us represented [in Boston],” she said. Both Balmuth and Edwards said they and others in the town hope to visit the Statehouse to see the flag in its rightful place.
“I wasn’t thinking about the magnitude until they actually picked my design; now I’m so excited,” Edwards said. “It’s such a simple thing, and so rewarding.”
Contact Phil Demers at 413- 496- 6214.