When they’re not brutally bashing each other in the Comments section, “06880” readers are united in a love of Westport’s past.
So today’s post is something we all can agree on: Helping Gault celebrate its 150-year legacy in town.
Today, the company that’s morphed from coal, sand and oil into energy solutions launches a “Call for Memories” campaign. The aim: putting a modern spin on the time-honored tradition of sending congratulatory messages.
At a mere 100 years old — in 1963, the year civil rights protesters were fire-hosed in Alabama, and JFK was killed — Gault received hundreds of letters, cards and telegrams (!). Senders shared personal memories of great experiences with the company and family.
Telegrams have gone the way of the Gaults’ 1st delivery method — horse-drawn wagons. Cards and letters are headed that way soon.
So this time, Westport’s oldest business has created an online site — gault150.com/memories — to collect 150th-anniversary memories from family friends, organizations, trade partners, and Gault Energy & Stone employees and customers across Fairfield County.
These memories will be showcased on the company’s anniversary website www.gault150.com, as well as in a commemorative booklet and at this summer’s Westport Historical Society exhibit, “Five Generations of Yankee Ingenuity: The Gault Family.”
Sam Gault — the 5th generation to lead the company, who was born (cue the eerie music) during that centennial year — has spent several months passing around the company’s 100th anniversary files, which were sealed for 50 years.
“Many of us saw these for the very first time,” Sam says. “It’s amazing to read through everything my father and grandfather received 5 decades ago. These mementos are priceless to me and to my family.”
Now, Sam says, “we’re scanning hundreds of fragile documents and photos that trace our family and company’s 150-year history. This campaign will assure that our more recent history will be preserved for the next 150 years and beyond.”
Sam hopes these memories — like first selectman Gordon Joseloff playing baseball in the 1950son Gault Field (now houses on Imperial Avenue) — will inspire others to describe how the Gault family and businesses have touched their lives.
Three generations of the Gault family will choose some of those memories for inclusion in a time capsule at the family’s Compo Road South barn. It will be opened at the company’s 200th anniversary.
“06880” readers in 2063 will no doubt still enjoy looking back, when not engaged in debates over the poor parking habits of hovercraft drivers, and whether the YMCA should move from its longtime Mahackeno home to a new location.