Two new 350 lectures to take place in coming months

Dr. Robert Brown presented a lecture titled “A History of Downtown Westfield” to a packed crowd during the run of the 350 lecture series. (Photo by Lori Szepelak)

WESTFIELD- The Historical Commission announced last week that two out of four of the new Westfield 350th Historical Lectures will be taking place in November and February respectively. 

Mayoral Candidate and Westfield Police Capt. Michael McCabe has agreed to give another lecture about the murder of Professor Lewis B. Allyn in 1940 on Nov. 20 at the Westfield Athenaeum. McCabe has been giving these kinds of lectures for several years as he has been investigating the 79-year-old murder due to personal interest. 

Walter Powell will return to the 350 lecture stage with a discussion on the involvement of Westfield residents in the American Civil War. Powell was one of the many lecturers who gave talks during the main run of the lecture series. He notably spoke about the life of Reverend Walter Powell, a pastor who settled in a young Westfield in the late 17th century. 

Powell is a native of Southwick who works as a public history consultant in Plymouth, Massachusetts. For 17 years, he was also the Director of Planning and Historic Preservation for the Borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He received his education from Kent State University, from which he also received his Ph.D. His dissertation was written about Reverend Taylor. 

There are two other possible lecturers who have expressed interest in continuing the series as well. Allen Taylor, the Organist for the First Congregational Church, previously offered to give a lecture on the architecture of the church and other places of worship throughout the city. 

Robert Brown, who gave the very first lecture of the 350 lecture series as well as others, offered to return to the stage to discuss some Westfield missionaries who traveled from Western Massachusetts to Hawaii in the 19th century. 

“I was looking, it’s amazing how many congregational churches are in Hawaii. It’s because of the missionaries from Westfield who went there in the 1800s,” said Historical Commission Chair Cindy Gaylord.

Only McCabe’s and Powell’s lectures are scheduledr, although Powell’s does not have an exact date yet.

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