WALLINGFORD — Twenty-six years ago, the town unveiled the wishing well that sits at the corner of Center Street and North Main Street. The well, which was donated to the town in 1992 by the Wallingford Wishing Well nonprofit, has helped raise thousands of dollars for local children in need.
Chris Holcomb, president of the Wishing Well nonprofit, said the well was donated to the town to enhance the aesthetic of downtown at a time when other improvements were made to beautify the downtown. The well has become a part of the downtown scenery ever since.
The well also allows the public to donate money to the nonprofit, which holds various fundraisers to benefit needy children and families in town. A commemorative plaque covering the top of the well has a coin slot in the middle. Holcomb said thousands of dollars have been donated over the years.
“We use it for our charity, and the charity stays in town,” Holcomb said the money donated into the well.
The Wallingford Wishing Well “fulfills both monetary and material needs to children and families through donations from private donors and businesses,” its website said. The Wishing Well became an incorporated, nonprofit organization in 1990. Over the years, its membership has grown to about 80 today.
Several local businesses and community partners donated money and materials for the well. They are recognized on the plaque covering the well.
Holcomb said the well was robbed a couple weeks after the town unveiled it in 1992. An anonymous donor later replenished the stolen money as a sign of gratitude because they said their wish came true after they put money in the well.
“We had a dedication ceremony up at the well, and a lot of the attendees put money in the well,” Holcomb recalled. “It was robbed shortly after and the newspaper ran a small story on it. In the story, it was estimated that there was probably about $100 in donations. After the story, someone made an anonymous donation for $100 because they put a donation in the well, and whatever they wished for came true.”
Holcomb doesn’t believe there was anything placed at the corner at the time the well was donated.
Local historian Bob Beaumont believes, based on old postcards, that there used to be a signpost at the corner in the late 1800s and early 1900s where residents would post “notices of various things.”
“It was a community bulletin board,” Beaumont said.
Beaumont said that around 1850, Wallingford native Moses Y. Beach had a “liberty pole” put up at the intersection. A liberty pole was a wooden pole, about 6 feet tall, often constructed at a town center to fly flags or pennants, usually to make a political statement.