Happy Saturday! I've just returned from an annual Easter Egg Hunt our church holds each year (we did miss a bit the last two) and it was so good to see young children excitedly gathering their eggs! The smiles on their faces made all the effort worthwhile. Next Sunday we will gather at Sheep Pasture for a community Easter Sunrise Service for the first time in two years. As spring approaches, it is wonderful to see a return to more normal times.
Take a good look at the photo below and see if you can figure out where this location is.
One clue is the name on the building in the middle. Another clue is what is missing today - everything in the picture! As we look at Easton then and now, today's photo shows some of the extraordinary change around town. Taken about 1880, our photo today looks at the Easton Five Corners before it became a major confluence of main roads Formed by the intersection of Bay Road with Foundry Street and Depot Street, the area was once home to stage coaches, foundry workers, farmers, and a tavern. In this image, we are looking north with Bay Road in the foreground and Foundry Street crossing from left to right, creating a small grassy area in the fork. Dominating the picture are three buildings related to the Drake family: the old Drake house at the right, the Joel S. Drake Store in the center, and the Drake barn on the left. Joel Drake, who probably built his home around 1820, also ran a store for many years. His son, Joel S. Drake ran the store after his father retired from the business. The store was a popular spot, especially with the former Keith Tavern nearby, and one can picture the neighbors gathering around the cracker barrel or wood stove to discuss affairs of the day. Bay Road continues across the corner and would angle off behind the Drake House. I was always told by the Drake and King families that the large ell on the rear of the house was a much older building, and may have been the Keith tavern. I have very vague memories of the old store building still standing, though it was no longer in use and in much disrepair. I do remember the house, and I especially remember a bad fire that destroyed it around 1964 or 1965. Growing up right down the street, I used to watch for dad's car as he came home from work. On the day of the fire, traffic was completely disrupted as the house burned, making him very late for his dinner that night. And so in a matter of moments, everything disappeared.
Today, the Five Corners is one of Easton's busiest intersections and agateway to a rapidly growing area. Where Drake's Store once stood, a Sports Gas Station (Rico Petrocelli of the Boston Red Sox was a business partner) once operated, and that was eventually replaced by a modern Mobil Station. Just off to the right is a CVS Pharmacy, another gas station, a Burger King restaurant, and behind that is Shaw's Plaza which triggered the building boom in the area in 1984. To the left, and out of the photo is yet a third gas station that once belonged to Charlie Barbboza, a second drugstore that has since become a Dollar Tree, and another small stripmall with the popular Maguire's Restaurant and other businesses. Today multi-turn lanes and advanced traffic controls have replaced the quieter days of the dirt road and stagecoach. The photo that follows was taken from approximately the same spot as the original photo. How things change!
Until next week, stay well,
Curator: Frank Meninno