The Boston Post Cane

Boston Post Cane

Honoring the Oldest citizen of West Brookfield

The gold-headed Boston Post Cane was given to the oldest citizen of a Town by the newspaper “The Boston Post”.

The canes were distributed by the Boston Post in 1899 to six hundred ninety-two New England towns, with directions they be held by the eldest male citizen of each community during his lifetime. Later, the rules were changed to eliminate the sex limitations.

The ebony canes were made from special lumber imported from the Congo, cut to length and then seasoned for six months. They were later turned over lathes, covered with shellac, rubbed with pumice, varnished and hand polished with fine pumice and oil. The entire process took a year, but the results were well worthwhile. The 14 Karat Gold heads were hand decorated.

In 1968, twenty canes were located. Fourteen of them were in the hands of their proper custodians. Many have been lost or stored away and forgotten.

Boston cane image 2

The Town of West Brookfield now has its original cane in a special case in the Town Hall.

West Brookfield restored this honored tradition in April, 2000 after a period of years when it was not given. For a number of years, a symbolic cane was presented. Now a commemorative pin is presented instead, along with a small brass plaque with the recipient’s name and the date of the presentation, which is added to the case of the original cane in Town Hall.

For a list of the recipients, click here.