NEW: Lot of interest in new Wellington Historical Society

Updated Jan 16, 2018
A sign welcomes Wellington residents off Forest Hill Boulevard near Stribling Way in Wellington. A new organization, the Wellington Historical Society, is working to preserve the history of the village. (Kristen M. Clark / The Palm Beach Post)

Laurie Cohen works fast.

Wellington’s village attorney has taken on a new role in her off hours: president of the fledgling Wellington Historical Society.

I wrote about this in November after Mayor Anne Gerwig mentioned at a village council meeting that she had received some documents outlining how to put together a historical society.

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At that meeting, Cohen said it would be her New Year’s resolution to make the Wellington Historical Society a reality. But her work began in late November when officers were named.

And the new year brought another big step for the young non-profit: a meeting this past Thursday, where close to 40 people turned out to offer help.

“I’m very excited,” Cohen said this week. “I think that we’re going to have a great organization, and I think there’s going to be a lot of community interest.”

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The initial interest turned out to be much greater than Cohen anticipated. She booked the small meeting room at The Grille for Thursday’s meeting, and was pleased to find dozens of people jockeying for space inside.

“We were overflowing,” she said.

In the time between the organizational meeting and last week, Cohen and her fellow board members have been hard at work applying for tax-exempt status, building a website — — and amending the articles of incorporation to make sure they comply with the requirements to obtain that tax-exempt status.

The organization was registered with the state as a not-for-profit by former village councilman Howard Coates in 2013. But when Coates was appointed the following year to the Palm Beach County Circuit Court, he handed control to Cohen.

There is a wealth of history in Wellington that remains at large, including artifacts from the village’s incorporation and original advertising materials. At the November meeting, former Mayor Tom Wenham and his wife Regis brought one of the original Wellington ads, which appeared in the Palm Beach Post-Times on July 7, 1974.

With five committees as part of the Wellington Historical Society — Archives and Artifacts, Membership, Financial, Fundraising and Special Events, and Marketing and Publicity — there are plenty of ways to get involved in the group.

For more information, go to or call 561-252-9828. The next meeting has yet to be scheduled, but Cohen said it will be in early February.