By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Ed Turner, owner of the Art & Frame Emporium in the Westborough Shopping Center, grew up in Westborough. Although he no longer resides in the town, his memories of living there are happy ones. Turner is also an avid history fan and has a deep appreciation for those residents in the past who have helped to make the town what it is today.
Over the past years, he has found a way to merge his business experience with his love of Westborough history in a way that honors the past and is a gift to future residents.
As the town went through major renovations over the past few years of three of its most significant buildings – the Town Hall, Fire Station and Forbes Municipal Building (FMB) – Turner has worked with town officials on restoring, framing and hanging old historical photos in the buildings. The Town Hall and Fire Station work was done in the fall of 2015. Now that the FMB renovation is complete, Turner has been working with officials there on photos for that building.
For Turner, honoring the late Frank and Fannie Forbes, for who the FMB is named, is a particularly significant project.
“Growing up here in Westborough, I know many people know about Eli Whitney being from Westborough, but maybe not the Forbes’. I myself wasn’t really that familiar with them,” he said. “But in researching their lives, I now know just how much they gave to this town.”
The Forbes’ were a wealthy couple who also generously donated funds to many organizations and paid for infrastructure improvements in the town. They helped to fund a new high school that was located at the site of the current FMB in 1926. It served in that capacity for 30 years, before becoming a municipal building.
Over the past two years, the building underwent a $15 million renovation, completely updating the Police Department and School Department offices, as well as several other town departments. The building re-opened in September 2019.
Entering the main door of the FMB, one is now greeted by large photos of the couple, resplendent in period-style frames. Turner is actively working with School Superintendent Amber Bock and Police Chief Jeffrey Lourie on selecting photos for their respective departments, both of which are located in the FMB.
After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Turner freelanced and then worked for the Art & Frame Emporium before buying it in 2011. He noted that he has enjoyed working with his clients, many of whom were big companies, and still enjoys doing so. But he also finds satisfaction in giving back to his original hometown in a multitude of ways.
Turner credits with gratitude the historical knowledge that many residents shared with him, including town historians Kris Allen, Leslie Leslie, Phil Kittredge, and the late Jacqueline Tidman and Charlotte Spinney, as well as the Westborough Public Library’s Anthony Vaver and Maureen Ambrosino.
“I am so happy that others believe in using art to showcase the town’s history,” he said.
He also is grateful, he added, that officials and the town’s voters approved funds for photo and frame restorations.
“This is our history, and it’s great to showcase an incredible couple and give them their proper just due,” he said. “Their important legacy will live on for future generations.”