Here are some more cool pictures of West Boylston before the reservoir.
First, a man drives a horse-drawn cart up a dirt road. The description attached to the photo is "Driving Up From the Valley." The valley housed many of West Boylston's businesses, mills, and houses; now, of course, it is the Wachusett Reservoir. Though this photograph doesn't come with information about the cart's location or the identity of the man driving it, it gives us a glimpse of what an average day in pre-reservoir West Boylston may have looked like.
West Boylston has become known for the Old Stone Church: a steely remnant of the flooded town, an entry on the National Register of Historic Places, a frequent attraction for visitors from around Worcester County, and, most recently, a PokéStop.
The First Baptist Church, the predecessor of the Old Stone Church, shown on the right was the second house of worship for the Baptist Society in West Boylston, dedicated on December 6, 1832.
But, of course, the Old Stone Church is not the only church in West Boylston's history.
John Temple was a prominent farmer and charismatic public figure who served as Chairman of the West Boylston Board of Selectmen for six successive years and aided the town in other areas with his energetic public presence. In 1793, he married Persis (Beaman) Bigelow, daughter of Maj. Ezra Beaman; she was the widow of Dr. Aramiah Bigelow, and John was, himself, a widower.
This portrait hangs in the Beaman Library Reading Room.
The Beaman Memorial Library is officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places! Here's some information about the history of West Boylston's library and the construction of the Beaman Memorial Library:
West Boylston’s library was founded in 1878 with a donation of $100, left by noted lawyer and abolitionist, David Lee Child, in his will. His wife, esteemed editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, Lydia Maria Child donated an impressive 140 books of her own collection to the library upon the death of her husband.
Why is this Library called the *Beaman* Memorial Library? The Beaman Memorial Library is named after EZRA BEAMAN, known as the "Town Father" for his critical role in West Boylston's foundation...
Ezra Beaman's family stretched back far into Massachusetts' past; his ancestor Gamaliel Beaman came to the new colony from England in 1635. He originally settled in Dorchester but moved to Lancaster about thirty years later. The family made its mark on the land.