By Beth David, Editor
At its annual dinner, June 14, held at the Century House, the Fairhaven Historical Society had something exciting to announce. To record attendance, Enrique Goytizolo, the organization’s president, delighted the audience with news that the society had successfully bid at the Colonial Club auction on three fine paintings of Fairhaven provenance.
“Old Harris House,” a framed oil on canvas by Lemuel Eldred, depicts a Fairhaven Middle Street scene from the days of yore.
Signed “L. D. Eldred ’96,” the painting was accompanied by a cancelled check for $200 from the Colonial Club payable to Eldred and dated November 3, 1921. The Historical Society paid $4,500 for it in 2017.
Mr. Goytizolo said it was signifcant that the Colonial Club bought the painting directly from Mr. Eldred.
Additionally, two paintings were acquired in separate bidding: A portrait of the Rev. Charles Morgridge for $500, and a portrait of his wife for $275. The Rev. Charles Morgridge was a minister at the Washington Street Church before it became a Unitarian Church. He was also a teacher at the Fairhaven Academy.
“They were meant to be together and now they will remain so,” said Mr. Goytizolo.
He suggested that although the acquisition costs were steep and risked depleting the society’s treasury, it was important that the paintings stay in Fairhaven. He announced that some members were so supportive that they made additional personal contributions to support the effort and help rebuild the coffers.
He said he had received a check for $100.00 from David Despres who, as the president of the Fairhaven Historical Commission, recognized the value the paintings contribute to the appreciation of Fairhaven’s history.
Other members made pledges to contribute and Mr. Goytizolo said he welcomed any amount. And, because the society is a 501(3)c organization, donations are tax deductible. Checks can be sent to the Fairhaven Historical Society, P. O. Box 212, Fairhaven, MA 02719.
Mr. Goytizolo swelled with pride when he said: “The best reward to the Society’s Mission is to be able to acquire these paintings and to retain them in Fairhaven for the enjoyment and education of future generations.”
Since the annual meeting in June, the society has aquired three more pieces, said Mr. Goytizolo: A gaming table given by Lady Fairhaven, a ship model, and a painting by Elizabeth Delano.
“We may be broke, but we got them, so we are happy,” said Mr. Goytizolo.
In other business at the annual meeting, the society announced the winner of the 2017 House Award. The home, owned by Howe Allen and Tim Evans, is located at 41 Union Street.
Every year the society singles out a home renovation that enhances the character of Fairhaven and acknowledges the effort with the award.
The Fairhaven Historical Society also maintains the museum located in the Academy Building on Main Street and Route 6. It is open every Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 PM or during the week by appointment with Fairhaven’s Director of Tourism.
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