Gates historian William Gillette’s wishes have come true.
The town’s iconic wishing well, which stood for nearly 100 years on the front lawn of the well-known Wishing Well Restaurant and Party House on Chili Avenue, will be rededicated in its new location at the Gates Community Center on June 10.
The well was dug in 1919 in front of what was then the Peacock Inn. As the Wishing Well restaurant, it became a popular spot for wedding receptions for many years. Numerous couples posed by the well for their wedding pictures.
When a new owner with other plans purchased the Wishing Well property in 2016 and began demolishing the structure, Gillette asked the wrecking company if the town could save the wishing well as a remembrance and a historical treasure. He loaded up the pieces of the well and brought them to the Gates Community Center, where local craftspeople and town staff have been reconstructing the artifact.
Gates Supervisor Mark Assini said the town is encouraging couples who had their wedding photographs taken at the well to send them to the historian’s office for a display in the Town Hall.
Community members involved in the restoration work are Vinnie Schiano, who restored the stone masonry; carpenter Fred Kilpatrick, who rebuilt the wooden supports and the roof; electrician Shawn Kelly; David Chamberlain of the town of Gates building staff; Lee Cordero, a member of the Gates Town Board; and Mark Gillette, who painted the restored construction. Town of Gates highway department staff prepared the new site.
At the dedication, music by the Gates Chili High School band will begin at 10 a.m. The ceremony will start at 11.
“Everyone is welcome to the rededication ceremony,” Gillette said. “We’re especially hoping that couples who had their wedding receptions at the Wishing Well—and who had their wedding pictures taken outdoors at the wishing well itself—would be able to be with us and have their photos taken again at the well—a real ‘then and now’ experience for everyone.”
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