Hello, and happy Election Day in Easton! As I write, the town is holding elections at the Oliver Ames High School. There are few, if any, contested races, though with two openings on the Select Board, and two incumbents not seeking re-election, we will see some new faces.
Graduation season, Mother's Day, and Father's Day will soon be upon us! I offer a gentle reminder that the Museum is open for shopping, and we have a terrific selection of items that would make a great gift for someone special. Check out our Museum store online or plan a visit! Memberships make an excellent gift as well.
I came across an interesting artifact the other day and I thought I might share it with you. Back in the early 1880's, there was much excitement in Easton over word that a trolley line would soon connect North Easton to downtown Brockton. The former Brockton Street Railway Company began service using horse drawn trolleys on tracks in 1881, and by the mid-1880's a horse drawn trolley car would be running along Main Street in Easton to bring workers, and shoppers, back and forth a few times each day. By about 1892 to 1893 the company introduced electric trolley cars, and a number of other lines joined the growing system. Before 1900, a traveler from Easton could take any of several trolley lines to either Brockton, Taunton, Stoughton, or Mansfield. High school students could take the trolley to school in North Easton and return home at the end of the day. Once these local lines connected with larger companies, one could travel around most of the east coast of Massachusetts, making day trips to beaches, parks, and fairs easy and affordable. Eventually, the old company was absorbed into the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway Company beginning in 1919, and that company continued trolley service until the 1930's when busses replaced the aging trolley cars. Service was provided by bus to Easton until around 1968. Today, the successor to the old public transportation system is the Brockton Area Transit, or BAT, system of busses. Today, no bus companies (excepting school busses) offer direct service to Easton.
When I was a kid, Russ Erving (1889-1977), who lived on Foundry Street, told me about the trolley tracks from the old Easton and Mansfield Street Railway Company that were still hiding under the blacktopped street. In his younger days, he was one of the trolley car drivers for the Brockton system before busses arrived on the scene.
Our item today is a fare token for the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway Company. Made from copper, and about 7/8" in diameter, it was good for "one fare" in whatever zone you used it in. The fancy token, produced by the Scovill Company, probably dates to about 1930, just around the time that bus service began replacing trolleys. It is difficult to date it any better than that, so I cannot say this is a trolley token. Still, it is something we were all familiar with whether it was used for a trolley ride or a bus ride.
Until next week, stay well,
Curator: Frank Meninno