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Sisters team up for book; `Paxton: Now and Then' on sale.

Byline: Sandy MEINDERSMA


Although Paxton is largely a bedroom community today, during its 250-year history it has been home to a boot factory, several inns and its own Navy Yard. It was also a popular stopping place for stagecoaches traveling between Worcester and Barre.

It is home to Willard Moore State Park, which was an active mill village during the time of the town's founding, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Center School, which now educates all Paxton schoolchildren through Grade 8, was once one of five schools in town.

The Navy Yard had a restaurant, small zoo, manmade lake and a children's train ride. Today, the Paxton Sports Centre is located where the Navy Yard once was.

Those comparisons are at the heart of a book -"Paxton: Then and Now" - by Katherine M. Taronas and Laura E. Taronas. The book is a pictorial essay comparing the town's early days to its present.

Nearly 200 photographs, including many from private collections, fill the pages, making vivid comparisons between the "then" and the "now."

Starting at the Town Common, each page shows a town building as it was originally, and then as it was in 2007. A short narrative accompanies each pair of photos, explaining the historical and present day significance of the building.

The book also shows the history of Moore State Park, the town's schools, historical homes and other sites.

The authors, sisters who are lifelong residents of the town, came up with the idea for the book when they saw similar books for other towns, but did not find one for Paxton.

"We had been looking for a project to do together," Laura Taronas said. "When we saw the books at the bookstore, we decided to put a proposal together for Arcadia Publishing. We are their youngest author team."

Laura Taronas, who will be entering Tufts University in August, said she is considering a major in anthropology.

"I have always been interested in history, culture and the environment, and I enjoy reading and studying about people - how they live, what is important to them, and why they do the things they do," she said. "Katie is studying visual arts at Harvard University, with a minor in French and she did all of the "now" photography for the book."

Ms. Taronas said she interviewed town residents, gathered the historical photographs, did the research and wrote the summaries for each pair of photographs. "We learned that every place has its own story to tell," she said.

"We were surprised that the town had had several popular inns, that there were five separate schoolhouses in town at one time, that a stagecoach served the town, and that boot-making was such a large part of Paxton's economy," she said.

"We have been so lucky to grow up in such an idyllic town - a place that is so beautiful, safe and peaceful and that has such a great sense of community," she said.

The book is available locally at Waldenbooks and Barnes & Noble. In town it is available at the Paxton Marketplace and Pleasant View Nursery. Proceeds from the sales of the books will be donated to Moore State Park and Richards Memorial Library.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 15, 2008
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