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Celebrating an iconic resource in Cornwall

The Lakeville Journal Editorial

Every town has its own character, unique even when compared with others directly adjacent to it. Take the Northwest Corner as a case in point. One may argue that the towns here share many similarities, such as open space, charming downtowns and rural vistas. Yet each town also has parts making up the whole that are different from those of the other surrounding towns. And those things can change and switch among them over the years.

Cornwall, West Cornwall and Cornwall Bridge have multiple town centers and post offices, but still manage to maintain a sense of unity among them.  How is that possible? The hamlets, of course, are all contiguous, and small, so that should help their residents to communicate among themselves. But there is also another factor.

Cornwall has its own monthly community paper, the Cornwall Chronicle. This year marks its 30th anniversary, and the Chronicle’s February edition (which marks its founding month, so is Volume 31, Number 1) has a special section with excerpts from over the years. There are memories from multiple Chronicle editors, readers and writers, including John Miller, who tells the story in that special section of the founding of the paper by Tom and Margaret Bevans. There have been many, many talented Cornwallians who have worked as volunteers on the Chronicle over those 30 years, making it a quirky, lively yet accurate description of life in their town.

The paper includes births, deaths, events, announcements, a monthly calendar and a sharing of thoughts and memories of those who make Cornwall Cornwall. One longtime resident admits a particular fondness for the April Fools’ Day editions, which show the humor and collegiality that also make Cornwall Cornwall.

The place itself appears to be finding a revival, especially in West Cornwall. Cornwall Bridge has already been bustling, with the Cornwall Country Store open again and Cornwall Package Store serving its loyal customers. The Cornwall center remains relatively quiet, as the Green would always be in February, coming to life in spring and summer. But West Cornwall, which has Ian Ingersoll’s Shaker furniture shop, the Wish House and the e-bicycle shop going, is in the middle of finding more activity because of the ongoing purchase of buildings and lots by artist William Betts, pending further discussion and approvals (see article by Leila Hawken in last week’s Lakeville Journal).

The town’s selectmen, boards and residents have been particularly welcoming to new activity and new population for their town, a hallmark of a unique quality in Cornwall right now. Growth doesn’t happen in small towns like ours in the Northwest Corner by accident. It can only be the result of planning and implementation of an open door policy. And part of what can help new residents and new business owners understand their new community better and more quickly is local journalism, like the Cornwall Chronicle, as well as, dare we say, The Lakeville Journal and local radio like WHDD 91.9 FM. 

Happy 30th anniversary to the Chronicle, and to all those who have worked on it for the past three decades, from the rotating editors, to writers, directors and illustrators. The mission of this monthly publication, online and in print, includes promoting communication within its town, and it has succeeded over those many years. We all look forward to the next decades for this extraordinary local community resource.

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