Happy Saturday! A weather man recently said that Massachusetts has only had two days in July without some type of measurable precipitation. It sure has been a wet month, and we had a pretty good rain storm late yesterday afternoon (and some hail as well!). But today is warm and sunny, so I will not complain.
We extend our thanks to Dale Julius and the East Bridgewater Historical Commission for presenting us with an extraordinary gift this week! A marriage certificate, dated 1875 and presented by the Methodist Episcopal Church in North Easton to newlyweds George and Lucy (Randall) De Witt, is now a treasured addition to our collections. Mina Corpuz, reporter for the Enterprise newspaper, did a story about how this was discovered behind a Civil War era poster that had been framed many years ago. You can find the story at the Enterprise website www.enterprisenews.com or on our Facebook page. Check it out!
One of our summer internship projects is working with Oliver Ames High School senior Lauren Gilgan. She is putting together some history of the rooms at Wayside, our Town Hall, when it was the home of Mary Ames Frothingham. She has done a terrific job researching the use of the rooms at Wayside over the years, and will be developing appropriate signage to enhance the history of the home. We are excited to see the finished project!
Construction photos from the early days are very rare. We have a number of them documenting one special building. Wayside, built in 1912 for Mrs. Frothingham and designed by her friend and architect Guy Lowell, is a magnificent Georgian Revival home. It took a lot of work to build it though, and preparing the land was one of the first steps. Mrs. Frothingham, when she was still Mary Shreve Ames, began acquiring the parcels of land that would become her estate as early as 1905. Most of the land was purchased during 1909 and 1910. At that time, there were several farm houses on the site as well as other farm buildings. Our photo today, probably taken in 1910-1911, gives us a look at the property being cleared. The picture is taken on Elm Street, looking westerly. A fine stone wall is being constructed along Elm Street, which is a dirt road at this time, giving a rural feel to the scene. The men on the right are probably the builders of the wall. A ditch has been dug for the wall to provide a proper footing. The two small sheds in the photo housed workers (there were a number of small sheds built to house the work crews while site work and construction was being done, a common practice in those days) and in the center of the photo you can see one of the old farmhouses being dismantled. Other houses that once stood on the site were moved further east on Elm Street and used for housing some of Mrs. Frothingham's staff. Springhill, the home of William H. Ames overlooks the work as if awaiting the arrival of its new neighbor. The house at the extreme left of the photo, located very near the entrance to Wayside, was later removed.
I hope you enjoy this photo, and some good weather. Until next week, stay well,
Anne Wooster Drury