Harmonica Man – History Mystery, June 2016


Question – June 15, 2016

Have you ever noticed this bench in Wellesley Square near the Post Office? Who is Bernie Zetlan and why was he known as the “Harmonica Man?”  Return on June 30th for the answer!

Answer – June 30, 2016

Known as the “Harmonica Man,” Bernard Zetlan was a local senior who became a fixture in Wellesley Square in the 1970s-80s. When the weather was warm, he was frequently seen walking around the square playing his harmonica, and also earned a reputation for his kindness to local merchants and police officers. Bernard was born in Lynn, and served in France and Germany during World War II. He spent over 30 years in Wellesley, where he worked for his brother at Al’s Delicatessen.  He lived in Wellesley Square at the Wellesley Hotel, which was located in the Taylor Block, at the corner of Washington Street and Grove Street. He died on August 30, 1985 at the age of 76.

Tycho McManus, Volunteer Summer Research Assistant