Hello friends! I hope today finds you all doing well and enjoying this nice spring weather. A little cold arriving tomorrow night will not chill my enthusiasm as I look forward to getting outdoors a lot more, doing yard work and taking in the scenery during my walks about town.
Last week I wrote about some humorous advertising cards featuring the grand old game of baseball. This week I have some hard-to-find cards from Easton stores. Three are featured below.
Who doesn't love flowers? Our first card is a pretty one. Featuring roses (at least I think they are roses) on a black background, this card would be one in a series of floral prints that you could pick up while shopping at J. C. Buckley's store on Main Street. Dating to the early 1870's (all three cards are from that era), this memento gives us a little information on a mostly unknown store. Period maps do not locate the exact place of business, though several Main Street buildings are simply labeled "store" on the maps. In one of those stores, at least for a while, J. C. Buckley was a purveyor of "Ladies & Children's Fine Shoes." I could not find out anything further on this business, so other than this card, it remains a mystery. The back of the card is blank.
Our second card advertises "Boschee's German Syrup & Green's August Flower" for your health. A very healthy looking young lady graces the front of the card. If you are not feeling all that terrific, you could pick up your treatment for what ails you at the drugstore of George G. Withington & Co., Center Street. Withington's store may have disappeared some years ago, but this advertising card leaves a hint at some of the remedies that were available to Victorian Era shoppers. Read the back of the card in the second photo below to see the variety of conditions that were reasons to use these concoctions. The August Flower syrup contained 7% alcohol, capsicum, peppermint oil, and other things to soothe your stomach - and perhaps your spirits too! The German Syrup contained a mixture of morphine and alcohol to soothe a cough from a bad cold. I would think it would also give you a good night's sleep after a dose or two or three?
Our last card today is something a little different. The gentlemanly dressed porcine featured here is longing for his friends. A close look at the factory in the background will give you an immediate reason for his melancholy. Issued by N. K. Fairbanks & Company, the card and the little ditty at the top explains the reason for our hero's dismal outlook. Fairbank & Co. produced lard. You would have found this card at the store of George Copeland, who conducted his business at the northwest corner of Central and Washington Streets, South Easton. The site is now the home of Hennessey's Package Store. Copeland, like many neighborhood stores in town, sold all kinds of useful items including food staples and dry goods, providing an important source for the people in the neighborhood and easy access to all kinds of things, including, of course, Fairbanks Lard. By the way, do you know why your grandmother's pie crusts were always so flaky? She used lard in the crust instead of butter or vegetable shortening.
Until next week, stay well, and enjoy some sunshine!
Hello fellow history lovers, and hello spring! The past few days have been very nice, and great for walking. I had several visitors drop in at the Museum who were out and about. Recently, my wife and I took a walk at the Governor Ames Estate across from the Museum, and we saw crocuses in bloom! Yesterday, we walked Fulton Pond in Mansfield, where young people were walking by with fishing rods in hand. It is so nice to see these signs of spring.
Today I hosted Girl Scout Troop 67010 from Easton. It was really great to have some of our young people visit, and we talked about Easton's history for over two hours! The scouts were excellent, and we delved into a number of topics including reading maps in our collection (I had them locate their homes on our blue maps, then we looked back in time to see who had the oldest street and other things from our maps, which date to 1756.) We also discussed, and sampled, chocolate chip cookies and learned about Ruth Wakefield, who grew up during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. persevered through the Great Depression, and built her very successful Toll House Restaurant and published her famous cookbook. Ruth is a great role model for these young girls who themselves are growing up in a pandemic and uncertain times. I also shared about the Apollos Clark Cemetery on Black Brook Road, and how a group of young people around their age took actions to save it from development.
For today, I couldn't resist sending out something about baseball. The popularity of baseball grew quickly following the Civil War, and by the 1870's rules were published to help standardize the game. As the game grew, it quickly found a use in advertising. Our image today features two early Victorian era advertising cards. Cards like these were usually given away by manufacturers to the stores that carried their products. Many of these cards were produced in a series, and people would continue to purchase the product to get the next "installment" as they came available. Dated 1878, our two cards today are part of a series that poked some fun at the grand game, compliments of C. F. Copeland, Brockton, Mass. who was a dealer in games, toys, fancy goods, and other gift items. One has to chuckle at the "Foul" card where the batter whacks the unsuspecting catcher with his bat. "A Fly" looks more like a line drive to me, but gives the idea to the casual follower of what it means to catch a batted ball. Besides the advertising, these two cards give us a nice look at how the game was initially played - no gloves, a real leather ball, period uniforms, and even a glimpse of a grandstand to watch the game. I hope you enjoy this look at early baseball as we await the current season's heroics.
Until next week, stay well,
Greetings and well wishes from a soon-to-be sloppy Easton. A steady drizzle this morning will soon turn to a messy mix of snow and rain as March holds true to its tradition of coming in like a lion!
Remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour tonight or you will be an hour late for everything tomorrow!
Our annual dues letter has been sent out, and I thank all of you who have already returned your dues. We are very thankful for your continued support and interest in Easton history! There are some non-members who receive these weekly emails. I have attached our dues letter so you can see what we have been doing as well as a membership form. If you enjoy reading about Easton's history, please consider becoming a member and supporting the work being done to preserve Easton's history.
Today I thought I would share a little bit about several matchbook covers in our collection. Four examples are pictured here, and of course, there could be many more. Matchbooks were given away as a courtesy when smoking was acceptable indoors at restaurants, stores, etc. Places that sold cigarettes and cigars and pipes had matchbooks on hand as well. Someone got the idea early on that this common item would make a terrific advertising piece, and the idea of using matchbook covers to promote a business took off. Here are four such items from Easton.
First, from the left, is a matchbook advertising hot meals at Prior's Duck Lunch, Route 138, South Easton. Prior's had a large duck farm (one of several in Easton) during the 1920's-early 1940's around the area of the current South Easton Motor Sales. The family ran a restaurant further south on Route 138, near the Raynham line, where you could land your plane at Prior's Airfield, get a good lunch, and then continue your trip. Many people driving the State Road, as it was called, also could find a good meal there. For a brief time the family opened a second location called Prior's Annex, located at the intersection of Routes 138 and 106.
Second is a nice example of the local neighborhood store advertising their business. The Corner Store, Columbus Avenue, seems like it was always there in one name or another, and in either the old store or the current Peach market building. During the 1940's and 1950's the store gave away matchbooks like this to customers. The hours are given as well as the phone number, 575, which helps us date this item. The usual "Thank You" and "Call Again" messages are included.
Next, we have a nice matchbook from Fernandes Super Markets. I remember the store very well, with its lunch counter, fresh bakery items, and many give-aways for customers who shopped there. This cover lets customers know about their quality meat selection, and "those wonderful Gold Bond Stamps" were available. The hours are listed (the same hours as the Corner Store!) and on the inside cover, there is a list of the eight stores in the chain (Norton, North Easton, East Bridgewater, Randolph, Plainville, Brockton, New Bedford, and Walpole.). This cover dates to the 1960's.
Our fourth cover is from one of Easton's iconic restaurants / lounges that populated the "State Road" or Route 138. The Four Hundred Club was owned and operated by the Darling family for decades, and was one of the upper class restaurants in the area. Besides featuring excellent food and locally grown vegetables in season, the club featured regular entertainment and dancing in its lounge, everyday but Sunday (the old Blue Laws were still in effect then.) The back cover features cocktail classes, a bandleader's hat and baton, and a piano. The message is clear - this is the place to go for a night out! The inside advertises their specialties and amenities such as hosting banquets, weddings, business meetings, bridal showers, a private room, and ample parking. The inside cover also includes the old CEdar phone number and an image of a rotary dial phone.
Until next week, stay well,
Hello from historic Easton, Massachusetts! Yes, there is still snow and ice on the ground, but I do not think it will last into next week as temperatures begin to rise. Many people are walking around the downtown area as the sidewalks clear and the weather improves. Work continues at the Museum as we prepare to reopen soon with something really special. Stay tuned!
Today we take a look at the last church on my list (we did not cover every church in Easton, only those for which I had old photographs.) Last week I wrote about one of two Swedish congregations in North Easton, and this week we will take a quick peek at the other one with a look at the building they occupied for many years.
The current Covenant Congregational Church at 204 Center Street got its start at 140 Main Street. The white spired building we are so used to seeing (have you ever seen a New England Main Street or Town Square without the ubiquitous church steeple?) was built in 1864 for a Methodist Society. It originally was a plain looking edifice, as evidenced in the photo below taken from an 1881 map. Without a steeple, only a few of the pointed arched windows might give the impression that the building was a place of worship. The Methodists met in this building until 1876 when they assumed ownership of the church previously at the Rockery site and had it moved to Mechanic Street. The Main Street building sat vacant for several years, under the control of the trustees of the Methodist Society. By this time a number of Swedish immigrants had settled in North Easton, and a group began meeting to discuss the idea of holding Congregational services. In 1884 the trustees sold the church building to this new group of worshippers, the Swedish Christian Evangelical Ebed Melech Church. The cost of the building was $1450, and with Oakes Angier Ames generously offering to pay for half the cost, the new congregation had a home.
A vibrant congregation took root in their new home, with their first pastor Rev. Axel Mellander leading services. A major renovation to the building took place under the leadership of Rev. Lambert Lindholm. With his leadership, $4000 was raised, and a three-story tower and spire was added to the front in 1898. The second image is from a postcard published in the early part of the 20th Century after the tower and steeple were built. You can easily see the features that defined the structure with its Gothic Revival arched windows, door, and steeple.
In 1912 the church was electrified. An addition was made to the rear of the structure in the early 1950’s. Looking for more space, a vacant building just to the west of the church became available. In May of 1958 a call was put to the congregation to raise $60,000, and having met that challenge, the building was purchased that fall. Remodeling and construction was completed to physically attach the new addition to the main building, giving it the look it still enjoys today.
In 1983 the congregtion built their new home on Center Street and sold their former building to the International Church of the Four Square Gospel. Later it became the home of Robert King Music Sales, who was a leader in publishing music for brass instruments. In recent years, the building has again been sold, remodeled, and used as a restaurant. Fortunately, it is still recognized as the important religious and community structure it was meant to be.
More information on the history of Easton churches can be found in the History of Easton, Mass. Volume II.
Curator: Frank Meninno