This page pays an ongoing tribute to the people and stories behind Friends of Windsor. It's a work in progress, so please let us know if you have any photos or stories to share!
Friends of Windsor was the brainchild of Arnold F. Westwood, who lived in Windsor Bush for more than 45 years, beginning as a part-time resident in 1961 and becoming year-round in 1973, along with his wife, Carolyn. Their four children spent many years helping them renovate the house in the Bush, and three of them subsequently settled in the area with their families. Beginning in the late 1980s, Arnold and Carolyn turned their home into a bed and breakfast, Windfields Farm, and hosted guests from around the world.
Upon Arnold’s retirement from his work as a Unitarian minister in 1984, he channeled his passion for building community into the town of Windsor by gathering a group of concerned citizens who wanted to foster greater communication about town matters and build community spirit. Friends of Windsor (FOW) was formed and their first project was the launching of Windsor Now & Then, a monthly newsletter mailed to every “postal patron” in town free of charge. Later, a town phone book and community directory was added to the group’s publication activities.
With the volunteer help of an attorney in town, FOW was incorporated as a 501c3 public foundation with the stated purpose “to foster communication and understanding among the people of Windsor and neighboring communities.” With Arnold as publisher and editor and Carolyn as chief proofreader, the Westwoods produced Windsor Now & Then from their kitchen table for 18 years and residents came to rely on its monthly arrival in their mailboxes to learn about happenings in town government, bits of Windsor history, and updates on the activities of their neighbors and other community groups. In 2002, Arnold passed the editorship on to Deborah Balmuth who has proudly carried on the Westwoods’ legacy, which Arnold would be sure to say belongs to the whole community. Val Kohn carried on Arnold’s work as director of FOW from 2002 to 2015, when Patty Crane assumed the position. Carolyn died in 2001, at the age of 78; Arnold died in 2009 at the age of 88.
Since its formation more than 30 years ago, FOW has hosted dozens of community gatherings, from Lasagna Dinners in the Town Hall to weekend-long Homecoming Celebrations created in collaboration with the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department. Supported entirely by donations from generous members of the Windsor community, FOW has been able to continue the monthly production of Windsor Now & Then, and to support the work of other community groups such as the Windsor Historical Commission, Windsor Free Library, and youth sports. In addition, with its nonprofit status, Friends of Windsor has solicited and received grants administered through the Central Berkshire Fund (CBF) of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation to purchase canopy tents for use of community groups and members free-of-charge. In 2015, FOW received grant funding from the CBF to erect 24 historic site markers throughout the town. In 2016, we were awarded another generous grant to implement FLASHBACKS, a coordinated program FOW designed to expand the scope and effectiveness of the historical site marker project. In 2017, thanks again to generous grants and sponsorships, we commissioned the production of the fabulous video, OUR TOWN. Written and produced by local videographer, Kyle Finn Dempsey, it captures the unique beauty and spirit of this community. And, in partnership with Notchview, we pulled out all the stops to host our Windsor Grown celebration, which showcased this community and place to a wide audience.
Arnold Westwood was a man who took delight in people and community, and especially in our little windswept town on the hill. His FOW legacy is an inspiring reminder of what a difference one person can make by stepping forward with an idea, and how community in Windsor is fully created by the people who live here—which is both a challenge and a wonderful opportunity.
FRIENDS OF WINDSOR, Inc. 1890 Route 9 Suite 8 Windsor, MA 01270 www.friendsofwindsor.com firstname.lastname@example.org