On July 9, 2022, members of William F. Ray Lodge #71 of the Franklin Odd Fellows fraternal organization located at 330 West Central St., Franklin presented a gift of a commemorative shovel that was used in the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Franklin High School on September 12, 2012.
The story of how the shovel came into the possession of the Odd Fellows is an interesting one. There were 10 shovels used in the ceremony in the September 12th groundbreaking ceremony in 2012. The participants were Jeff Nutting, Karen Spilka, James Jordan, Sean Fennell, Paula Mullen, Robert Vallee, Tom Mercer, Maureen Sabolinski, Jack McCarthy and contractor Steve Agostini. Although Town Council Member, Andrew Bissanti was not one of the 10 participants, he somehow came into possession of one of the shovels and it resided in his home until his untimely passing this past January. Kester Jacobs is a friend of the Bissanti family and was helping Andrew’s widow with some cleaning around the house after Andrew’s passing and noticed that the shovel was being thrown away in the trash. Kester asked if he could have the shovel and received permission to take it. Kester then made one of our meetings and gave the shovel to the lodge with the hopes that we might be able to do something good with it. At the meeting that night, we all agreed to donate it to the Historical Museum so that this small piece of history may always be remembered. The Odd Fellows were informed by Phyllis on this day that the shovel was the only one yet donated to the Museum.
The Franklin Odd Fellows have been in continuous operation in Franklin since its inception in December of 1878 and are happy to do our small part in preserving some of the history of this wonderful town.