Municipal historian passes the torch

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BEACON FALLS – History is defined as the study of the human past, and for the last twenty-four years in Beacon Falls a member of the Krenesky family has been charged with recording and maintaining the history & culture of the Town of Beacon Falls.  At the Board of Selectmen meeting on November 8th, Municipal Historian Michael A Krenesky retired from this post and passed the torch to a new Municipal Historian.  Krenesky, who is also a Selectman, made the motion to appoint Stephen Ruhl of 34 Fairfield Place to replace him as the Municipal Historian beginning December 1, 2010 with the term of office expiring December 1, 2012.  Beacon Falls is one of just a few communities where the Municipal Historian has a term of office instead of a lifetime appointment.

“This was a very bitter sweet moment.” Krenesky said.  “My father was appointed the Town’s first Town Historian in 1986 and was reappointed every two years until his death in late 2003”. Krenesky said.  “My father was Mr. Beacon Falls and when the State passed legislation in 1986 suggesting that every Town should have an official historian, he was the first and most obvious choice.”  Mike Krenesky Sr and his wife Beverly owned H.W. Wilcox Patent Medicine located at the traffic light at Main Street & Burton Road. “My dad would collect and recite Town history over the lunch counter to whomever would listen.” Krenesky said.  Mike Krenesky Sr. wrote and published a chronological history of the Town in 1999.

Since 2004 the younger Michael Krenesky did his best to continue the work his father started.  Over the last eight years Krenesky has placed two properties in the State Register of Historic Places; the Rimmon Schoolhouse and now the Wolfe Avenue Lewis House.  Krenesky contributed pictures and content that are found on the sign at Veteran’s Park, has spoken multiple times at Region #16 schools and scouting meetings, contributed with several authors on Naugatuck Valley & Beacon Falls history, has assisted in genealogical research for local residents and historians, and is a charter member of the Naugatuck Valley History Consortium, a group of Valley historians that meets monthly at the Mattatuck Museum.  Michael currently has items from his personal collection related to the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company, on display at the Mattatuck Museum.

There is much of Beacon Falls’ history yet to be documented.  “There are many more properties that belong on the State and National Register.” Krenesky said.  “I will work with Steve to address which ones should be considered, but I would expect that our new historian will have his own agenda and he needs to approach this as he sees the priorities.”

Krenesky has one open research challenge that he hopes the new historian might close, Babe Ruth.  “I was approached several years ago to find and prove that the Babe played the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company baseball team on one of his barnstorming tours.” Krenesky said.  “I was never able to find any details on this, but rumors persist that there is a photograph floating around that may answer that question.”   “We may find that the Babe Ruth slept in the Lewis House, now wouldn’t that make for in interesting conversation.”  Krenesky said.

What’s next for Michael Krenesky?  “I am looking forward towards 2011.” Krenesky said with a wink.